On successful completion of the course, you will have learnt theories and practices to managing logistics on an international scale creates significant opportunities, such as deeper market penetration, an increased customer base and higher levels of profit, but frequently this comes at a price – often literally.
We will cover how the substantial challenges in managing international logistics and supply chains, not least language barriers, but also the increased levels of bureaucracy associated with multiple intermediaries, customs clearance, banking, foreign exchange rates and so on. The cost is often greater, the timeline longer and there are also more risks for delay or damage to goods.
You will be introduced to a range of information management technology tools and analytical methods to support the analysis and design of policy and practice international logistics and the management of the global supply chain. Computer technology has changed the way that warehouses operate, making it possible within a few hours of receiving an order to ensure that items are assembled and delivered to a factory, store, business or home.
We will use Excel spreadsheets and simulation tools, such as HeuristicLab, SIMUL8 and MATLAB, to model typical logistics processes, giving you the opportunity to consider operational issues such as journey times and scheduling of loading and unloading or inventory management, including purchasing and invoicing. For example, you will consider transport economics, such as the pricing of loads and the impact on cost when there is less than a full truckload.
We will also consider different models of change management and their relevancy and efficacy within organisations, as well as professional responsibilities and the associated sustainable, ethical and legal issues, such the desire to disassemble and recycle materials and components. There is an increasing demand within the automotive industry to sell parts as second hand spares or scrap them for reuse, which requires their collection and distribution.
A feature of the course is our encouragement of creative and innovative thinking, which acknowledges the importance of innovation as a key enabler for the success and growth of companies, whether this is through technological innovation or business model innovation. We will explore the broad context of innovation and its impact on businesses, but with focus on areas relevant to technology businesses; for example, the impact of additive manufacturing on logistics, autonomous transportation and its impact on mapping and the future of logistics infrastructure.
We will look at emerging trends, for example, the influence of the ‘internet of things’ on logistics technologies of the future, such as containers, material handling equipment, warehouses and storage equipment.
Your learning culminates with a research project on a topic of your choosing. You may, for example, focus on the impact of big data analytics for logistics industry, conduct a reverse logistics exercise in returning products at the end of their life cycle or carry out an assessment of the recycling of refrigerator parts. Examples of past projects include developing a framework for siting a port to best benefit and develop port-centric logistics services, analysis of the impact of mapping software on routing and scheduling decisions within a local third party distributor and an investigation of bulk rail services in Brazil for the extraction of commodities for export.