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Truck platooning

The trucking industry has developed an interest in platooning technologies because of their potential to reduce petroleum consumption and ultimately cut operating costs Bridgelall et al., 2020). In a platoon system, one truck (semi-)automatically follows a lead truck with a reduced distance, which produces significant savings in fuel and enables better traffic flow Castritius et al., 2020). The earliest initiatives to test truck platooning began in the early 1990’s with a proof-of-concept program from the United States Department of Transportation’s Automated Highway System (Ferlis, 2007) and the 1996 European CHAUFFER project (Crolla, 2015). Europe extended their efforts into the 2000’s by funding the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project in Sweden and Spain (Robinson et al., 2010), and the Konvoi project in Germany (Deutschle et al., 2010).

Themen:

Risks of truck platooning are mentioned in the literature mainly in connection with the well-known vehicle automation, but so far there is no pure analysis of the risks that are to be expected especially when using platooning. The aim of this thesis is to identify the risks that can occur when using truck platooning. For this purpose, a case study should be carried out with experts from logistics providers, commercial vehicle industry, and various NGOs.

Industry 4.0 and SCM

Themen:

Despite several years of research, Industry 4.0 is still an emerging topic, which occupies companies, researchers, politics and society. However, besides the increasing number of studies on influences, drivers, barriers and risks, a theoretical consideration is missing.
For this reason, a holistic overview of the theories used in studies on Industry 4.0 should be conducted with the help of a systematic literature analysis.

Research questions:

  • Which theories are applied in Industry 4.0 related research?
  • How can the literature of Industry 4.0 related research be categorized through the theoretical lense?
  • How could theoretical approaches be combined with meaningful disciplinary fields?

Sustainable Collaboration among SC Partners

The issues pertaining to partnerships for sustainable development are motivated by Sustainable development goal (SDGs) of the United Nations Environment. The SDG 17 specifically focuses on capacity-building in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) to support national plans to implement all the sustainable development goals. SDG 17 includes 19 targets that span finance, technology, capacity-building, trade, and systemic issues. Capacity development, an important feature of the SDG 17 on partnerships between organizations enhancing efforts by providing international support for effective and targeted capacity-building in LMICs. The major challenge in achieving capacity building is the lack of support from various stakeholders. Moreover, most of the global brands have adopted the “race to bottom” phenomenon in which their tire-2 or tire-3 suppliers are situated in LMIC countries (Ahrens et al. 2019). These LMIC countries often relax regulation and compromise the public good to attract investment. Although the business houses invest in such countries, however, the social working conditions are poor, the labour is mostly unskilled, and skill development is a major issue in such areas (Varga and Rosca 2019). Thus, the involvement of various governments and non-government bodies is necessary to facilitate capacity building and enhancing social sustainability (Koster et al, 2019). The real question, thus, is how these LMIC can keep transitioning up and move forward towards holistic sustainable development while simultaneously building their capacity and partnering across global industries

Themen:

The analysis of sustainable collaborations is not much explored from the industrial perspective primarily including transportation and customer service in literature. The literature on collaborative alliance has majorly focused on enhancing environmental sustainability by concentrating on relations between firms and NGOs and between firms and the government in so-called public-private partnerships (Niesten et al. 2017).

The aim of this bachelor thesis is to give an extensive overview of the state of the art in research regarding sustainable supply chain collaboration.

Sustainable management is a daunting challenge with these LMICs as they have bigger issues at hand, which include managing their resources, reducing the environmental impact, and managing their financial growth. In this scenario, partnerships both internal and global are the underlying factor to ensure that their overall development. The promotion of public-private partnerships, both nationally and at an international level, essentially focuses on the responsibility of the stakeholders towards meeting sustainable development goals. The businesses can be to partner up with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local communities, investors and other companies to establish a more socio-ecologically responsible supply chain (Sancha et al. 2016). In this collaborative system, the supply chains in various sectors and parties work in coordination to reduce both negative environmental and societal impacts and to reduce costs (Subramaniam et al., 2019; Meinlschmidt et al., 2016).

The aim of this thesis is to identify the drivers, barriers, and obstacles of collaborative partnerships in LMIC and to put them into a meaningful context. It is to be clarified, which chances and risks companies face in their partnership collaboration.

Any collaborative partnership between supply chain entities must make sense for all parties, whether their basic interests are environmental, commercial, or societal. As the name suggests, however, partnerships also Need Partners.

The focus of this thesis is the development of a framework for the assessment, selection, and development of partners and partnerships. In this context, expert interviews will be conducted and the insights gained will be compared with existing models.

Sustainable collaboration among supply chain partners and wider stakeholders (NGOs, accreditation bodies, local governments, communities, UN, etc.) can be seen as a means to achieve a higher degree of knowledge sharing and capital building for an overall competitive advantage throughout the product life cycle (Cao and Zhang 2011; Touboulic and Walker 2015). Collaborative partnership is one of the key factors for unlocking sustainability as it is not generally feasible for a single organization or sector to have the knowledge or resources to “go it alone” (Govindan et al., 2019).

However, it is not yet fully clearified how logistics and sustainability performance can be improven through coordination and collaboration in multi-tier supply chains. The aim of this thesis is to gain insights into performance improvement and to present possibilities trough expert interviews.

The focus of the industry must shift towards understanding multi-sector collaborative alliances that are gaining momentum because of their potential to combine resources, skills, and knowledge from a wide range of stakeholders to address the challenges of creating a sustainable planet (Winter and Knemeyer 2013).

However, there are no concepts available in the literature so far to provide a basis for supply chain collaboration and Knowledge sharing networks. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to develop such a concept based on expert interviews and literature.

Social Sustainability of Global Supply Chains

While the logistics, operations, and SCM literature investigate actions and supply chain strategies used by companies to address a set of social issues, the real impacts of intellectual outputs on real, transformative changes in the wider society remain unclear. To date, we do not have a clear view on what type of actions and decisions can transform the current thinking and practices among companies such that they actively drive socially sustainable supply chains. The fields still lacks inclusiveness.

Themen:

How can companies manage social sustainability in upstream and downstream supply chains? This question should be answered within this thesis by conducting a case study with several companies.

The aim of this master thesis is to develop a framework for supplier Management in a social environment.

For a long time, economic growth has been driven by substantial depletion of natural resources and degradation of ecosystems, also resulting in adverse impacts on humans. Finding ways to implement production systems and supply chains inspired by alternative economic principles has therefore become crucial if the boundaries of environmental sustainability have to be extended. Such concerns have been pushing towards the transition from a linear to a circular economic model, in a bid to alleviate environmental impacts.

However, the social Dimension is often neglected and the Focus is on the economic dimension. The following questions have to answered:

  • Which social criteria do exist in a circular supply chain? A catalog of relevant criteria should be developed through expert interviews.
  • What is the relationship between social criteria in circular supply chains? The dependencies between criteria should be evaluated through expert interviews.
Satellite Big Data in Supply Chain Management

We all use satellite data almost daily. Mostly in the form of navigation applications. At the same time, technological advances by companies such as SpaceX and other startups are enabling more and more satellites to be launched into space, which are supposed to serve a wider range of applications faster and more reliably. Basically, three services can be offered through satellites: Imaging/Video, Navigation/Position/Timing and Communication. While the navigation/position/timing application is also in the foreground for companies, increasingly exciting application possibilities are emerging. One example is the automatic monitoring of vegetation of the entire German rail network, which allows early measures to be taken to eliminate disturbances.

The identification and analysis of new applications, their implications for supply chain management and their effects on aspects such as sustainability are to be investigated in this research area.

Themen:

The rapid development of the space market due to cheaper satellites and the simultaneous free access to satellite data (such as the Sentinel satellites) opens up exciting new application possibilities, which are used by a wide variety of companies.

Therefore, the bachelor and master theses should use the case study approach to 1) identify applications, 2) analyze their implications for companies and supply chain management, and 3) investigate the impact on sustainable development goals.

The theses can be restricted to industry and also to specific topics. This is done in consultation with the Supervisor.

Multi-tier Food SCM

There is a recognition and acceptance that, in order to remain competitive and in some cases survive, organizations must create an appropriate balance of economic, environmental and social dimensions in their global operations (Kwon and Lee, 2019; Sarkis and Zhu, 2018). This triple bottom-up perspective is central to the sustainability strategy and operations of organizations (Sarkis and Dhavale, 2015). Sustainability policies and practices require radical changes in the way organizations are managed (Soderstrom and Weber, 2019). The expansion of sustainability throughout the supply chain has created additional revolutionary and potentially revolutionary innovation and practice (Jadhav et al., 2018). This challenge of achieving sustainability is even more profound in the case of multi-tiered and multi-level supply chains (Koh et al., 2012).

Themen:

The aim of this master thesis is to find out which stakeholders can influence sustainability efforts in food supply chains. In the context of a case study it is necessary to examine, among other things, how power is distributed in the supply chains with regard to sustainability and how power asymmetries influence the success of sustainability efforts in the SCs.

The aim of the master thesis is to achieve a better understanding of the subcontractors‘ perspective in order to anticipate their reaction to SSCM efforts and to determine the prerequisites and obstacles for successful SSCM in multi-level SSCM. How do subcontractors perceive the efforts of the focus companies to improve sustainability in the supply chain? What are the opportunities/challenges resulting from the demands of the focus companies to improve sustainability? What factors and obstacles are important for the participation of subcontractors in multi-level SSCM? Which factors influence the willingness/ability of subcontractors to participate in SSCM?

Voice Commerce in Reail Business

„Siri, where is the nearest supermarket?“ – these or similar questions are increasingly heard lately. People are talking with their smartphone or home speakers and this one answers. Behind this are speech assistants, i.e. software agents that can interpret human speech and react via synthetic voices. Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon, Cortana from Microsoft and Assistant from Google are the most popular voice assistants. It’s estimated that there will be 21.4 million smart speakers by 2020. These devices create yet another way for consumers to make online purchases. It turns out that almost 60% of people who own a virtual assistant have used it to make a purchase through voice command. Voice commerce sales reached $1.8 billion last year, with the potential to reach $40 billion in 2022. It is predicted that by 2021, early adopters of the technology who have redesigned their websites to support voice search capability will increase revenue by 30%.

Themen:

For companies, voice commerce means both opportunity and risk. Voice commerce reduces costs, e.g. for hotline services. But it limits advertising opportunities. Optical advertising is not necessary with voice control. Even acoustic advertising will be the exception. Because an advertising spot eliminates the user’s time saving. The service becomes unattractive for him. The placement of search requests becomes even more important with voice commerce. Because more than three search results cannot be presented acoustically. The aim of this master thesis is to identify the opportunities and challenges for a retail company and to derive a recommendation for Action.

The aim of this master’s thesis is to find out which possibilities arise for voice commerce at the point of sale and how voice commerce can be used there.

Operations Management in the Age of Digital Transformation

Digitalization and Digital Transformation (DT) has recently received increasing attention in operation management (OM), spanning topics from digital manufacturing (e.g., Roscoe et al., 2019; Holmström et al., 2019), to platform outcomes (e.g., Friesike et al., 2019), and economies of collaboration (e.g., Hedenstierna et al., 2019).

DT incorporates the use of digital technologies for operational innovation, by creating new or transforming existing processes, cultures, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements (Vial, 2019). It transcends sales, operations, and customer service beyond mere process improvement, and changes the way business is done by creating new classes of businesses (Hammer, 2004). With DT, organizations revisit their internal systems to customer interactions both online and in person, effectively reengineering their processes from evolution to revolution. DT, thus, challenges our understanding of OM and highlights the importance of organizational dynamics as intertwined with higher levels (Davis, 2016). Research on DT can contribute to current discussions in OM (e.g., Holmström et al., 2019), such as the opportunities for organizations to leverage presence in one market into other areas; the emergence of ecosystems that include all players in the value network; the appeal of multi-sided platform business models that bring disparate players together; and the importance of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as competitive advantage. Such trends put new demands on organizations in terms of their choice of market positions, vertical and horizontal scope, and the management of their boundaries.

Themen:

Research topics (in arrangement with the supervisor)

  • How DT enables players in the supply chain to enhance organizational performance • How DT influences the flexibility and responsiveness of logistics service providers
  • How DT influences responsiveness to consumer demands
  • How AI, big data and RPA are used in OM and supply chain decisions such as in demand forecasting, supply and demand matching, allocation and rationing, transportation scheduling, and last mile delivery
  • Decision tools that encourage systems thinking during DT initiatives by making it easier for decision makers to anticipate the consequences of their actions
  • The impact of DT on the performance and roles of human decision-makers.
Airfreight in Times of a Global Pandemic

Airfreight enables a global network of responsive supply chains. Despite representing only a minor share of global trade volumes, airfreight is the mandatory mean of transportation for many goods, such as valuable, perishable, and time-sensitive products. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant decrease in global airfreight of up to 28 percent. The actions required to respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 virus present challenging requirements for airport operators, airlines, logistic service providers, and airfreight customers. In a world where more pandemics are likely, the establishment of pandemic-resilient airfreight supply chains will be a basic prerequisite.

Themen:

This thesis aims to find out how different stakeholders along the airfreight supply chain (airport operators, airlines, logistic service providers, etc.) have reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate the risk of supply chain collapse. By using a case study approach, the respective measures and their effectiveness will be identified. The results shall be clustered in a framework to give scholars and practitioners insights into the management of disrupted airfreight supply chains.

This thesis aims to find out how different stakeholders along the airfreight supply chain (airport operators, airlines, logistic service providers, etc.) have taken preventive measures to respond to a global pandemic. By using a case study approach, the respective measures and their effectiveness will be identified. The results shall be clustered in a framework to give scholars and practitioners insights into precautions for successful responses of disruption of airfreight supply chains.

Supply Chain Resilience enhancing Customer Experience

Successfully managing the customer’s experience journey, represents a crucial competitive advantage for firms. In this regard, customer experience describes the holism of emotional events a customer has with a company “encompassing every aspect of a company’s offering—the quality of customer care, of course, but also advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use, and reliability.” (Meyer and Schwager 2007, p. 2). In the context of supply chain management, resilient supply chains turn out to be a fruitful instrument for increasing customer experience. Supply chain resilience (SCR) is defined as “the adaptive capability of the supply chain to prepare for unexpected events, respond to disruptions and recover from them by maintaining continuity of operations at the desired level of connectedness and control over structure and function.” (Ponomarov and Holcomb,2009, p.131) While SCR in the B2B context is well established, scientific literature in the context of SCR in the B2C is lacking. Exceptions are the studies by Wieland (2013) and Gligor (2020).

Themen:

SCR turns out to be a significant factor for maintaining operations during supply chain disruptions. This bachelor thesis aims to derive the importance of SCR for the end customer from academic literature. The different dimensions of SCR shall be distinguished and their respective impact on the end customer shall be conceptualized within a framework.

This master thesis aims to deviate the impact of SCR on customer experience from academic literature in the context of B2C. It should be outlined to what extend and how SCR can be exploited to enhance end customer’s experience and how SCR can be established as a factor for improvement of customer experience in the B2C context.

Smart Supply Chain Management

Smart services are enabled by smart products that are both connected and intelligently aware to enable efficient operation, optimization, analysis, integration and other digitally-enabled business functions (Allmendinger and Lombreglia, 2005; Kagerman et al., 2013; Porter and Heppelmann, 2014a). The expanded capabilities of smart, connected products and the data they generate render them fundamentally different, enabling new mechanisms of value creation and increasingly customized service features (Porter and Heppelmann, 2014b; Wünderlich et al., 2015). Although smart services are being increasingly adopted among manufacturers and their importance is widely acknowledged, many service organizations are not capable of using the potential offered by this new kind of service (Brax and Jonsson, 2009; Westergren, 2011).

Themen:

Research into the unique characteristics of smart services, beyond anecdotal evidence in case studies, is very limited (Grubic, 2014Ostrom et al., 2015Wünderlich et al., 2015). Studies focusing on the challenges of smart services seem to be particularly scarce (Grubic and Peppard, 2016). The aim of this master thesis is to investigate the main barriers regarding smart service in the logistic industry and to identify the main factors underlying the barriers.

As traditional supply chains are increasingly becoming intelligent with more objects embedded with sensors and better communication, intelligent decision making and automation capabilities, the new smart supply chain presents unprecedented opportunities for achieving cost reduction and enhancing efficiency improvement (Wu et al., 2016). Intelligent supply chains enable increasing collaboration within supply chains. In this context, the effects on the loss of information and thus on competitive advantages need to be investigated in research. The aim of the master thesis is to investigate the impact of Smart Supply Chains on the collaboration of companies.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the technological and management challenges in implementing smart supply chains. Questions like „How can supply chain analysis assist better technological development?“ and „Can technology be a possible solution to the long lasting management problems like lack of trust in supply chains?“ should be answered.

Supply Chain Collaboration

To build competitive advantage, firms attained an edge in the late nineteenth century by implementing optimized factory flows by using lean production and just in time. To achieve advantages today, companies are focusing amongst others on collaboration between supply chain actors in order to seize internal and external opportunities (Cao, Vonderembse, Zhang, & Ragu-Nathan, 2010; Um & Kim, 2019). The intention is to align and execute operations with a focus on joint optimization by transforming sub-optimal conditions at certain tiers into a solution that is comprehensive to all supply chain partners involved (Cannella & Ciancimino, 2010). As a result, the resilience of the supply chain can increase, lead times reduced and a higher service level be reached by allocating more transparency and flexibility (Duong & Chong, 2020).

Themen:

Environmental uncertainty disruptions such as COVID 19 or the shortage of professionals have an impact on the entire supply chain. Compared to disruptions that can be linked to a single entity (e.g. a breakdown in production), the handling and solving of environmental uncertainty events is more complex. We are strongly convinced that good supply chain collaboration can be an important lever. To investigate, how OEMs act towards their suppliers should be considered. Therefore, a case study approach with OEMs and tiers is required.

In the past, supply chain management was characterized mainly by the strategic focus on cost reduction and optimization. Today, however, customers not only expect low prices but also the highest possible level of customer satisfaction. On time and In full as well as high-quality deliveries under social and environmentally friendly conditions are important factors. These new expectations of supply chain capabilities leads to new challenges for its managers.

Companies are starting to relaunch the supply chain set up through different segmentation strategies. Customers, commodity groups, products, etc. are increasingly under investigation. In this study, the state of literature on supply chain segmentation will be investigated.

In the past, supply chain management was characterized mainly by the strategic focus on cost reduction and optimization. Today, however, customers not only expect low prices but also the highest possible level of customer satisfaction. On time and In full as well as high-quality deliveries under social and environmentally friendly conditions are important factors. These new expectations of supply chain capabilities leads to new challenges for its managers.

Companies are starting to relaunch the supply chain set up through different segmentation strategies. Customers, commodity groups, products, etc. are increasingly under investigation. In this study, case study research will investigate how companies prepare themselves to meet changing customer requirements.

Buyer-Supplier Relationships

Buyer-supplier relationships (BSRs) form a vital element of Supply Chain Management (SCM). It has been acknowledged that strong BSRs have the potential to contribute positively to a firm’s performance. Therefore, in business markets, many firms maintain long-term BSRs, as they have the potential to contribute directly to firms’ competitive advantage (e.g. Kim et al., 2010; Roden and Lawson, 2014). However, while considerable research on various aspects of BSRs in SCM has been conducted, the research body is very diverse and fragmented. No systematic literature review has been conducted so far to identify the underlying research clusters and trends. The purpose will be to close the research gap and to conduct and present a rigorous overview to systematically understand the knowledge structure of the academic BSR/SCM literature and to propose future research opportunities.

Themen:

To increase the understanding of the research body regarding buyer-supplier-relationships, a bibliographic and citation network analysis shall be conducted. Potential research questions may be, but are not limited to the following:

  • What is the underlying intellectual structure of BSR/SCM research and what are principal research clusters?
  • What are future directions in BSR/SCM Research?

Using a Systematic Literature Review (SLR), the results should give an overview of BSR literature and current research clusters and trends shall be identified. Potential research questions may be, but are not limited to the following:

  • What is the underlying intellectual structure of BSR/SCM research and what are principal research clusters?
  • What are future directions in BSR/SCM Research?
Theory driven Approaches to understand Industry 4.0 Technologies in SCM

Industry 4.0 is viewed as an emerging phenomenon. The world of logistics and supply chains management (LSCM) is currently facing unprecedented disruptive innovation from the ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies. Although academic literature lacks a clear and universal definition of the Industry 4.0 concept (Hofmann and Rüsch, 2017; Hofmann et al., 2019), Industry 4.0 technologies may include Blockchain, Additive manufacturing (3D printing), the Internet of Things (IoT), Automation, Robotics, Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual reality, etc.

How can these new technologies be integrated into existing organizational structures, processes and technology platforms? How can these technologies be implemented to realize their claimed benefits? To answer such questions, SC managers may begin to develop technology roadmaps, technology strategies, conduct feasibility studies and pilots, develop collaboration or strategic alliances, etc. This is where management theories can contribute.

Themen:

Using a (Systematic) Literature Review (SLR), the results should give an overview of theories or models/frameworks that explain how Industry 4.0 technologies are adopted/implemented in logistics and supply chain Management.

Using a (Systematic) Literature Review (SLR), the results should give an overview of theories or models/frameworks for connecting the circular economy and sustainability in supply chains with Industry 4.0 Technologies.

Using a (Systematic) Literature Review (SLR), the results should give an overview of theories or models/frameworks that explain the interface between Industry 4.0 and other supply chain concepts, e.g., risk, agility, resilience, etc.

Supply Chain Governance in the Age of Digital Transformation

The effective management of inter-organizational relationships across the supply chain is of paramount importance for all firms involved. In a turbulent and constantly evolving business environment, this requires appropriate and adaptive governance mechanisms that promote efficient collaboration within the supply chain while mitigating the risk of opportunistic behavior through means of control. Governance of inter-organizational relationships can generally be contractual and/or relational. At the same time, ICT-based technologies change the way and potentials how companies can interact. Yet, a clear understanding of the impact of Digital Transformation on governance from a supply chain perspective is still lacking. Therefore, the objective of the following theses is to investigate how and why Digital Transformation influences governance of inter-organizational relationships in supply chains.

Themen:

Investments in the new digital technologies may be substantial. Some enterprises may afford them more than others, and therefore acquire – and possibly exploit – the resulting advantages in terms of visibility, control of information, data analytics and automated decisions. Is this further strengthening the bargaining power of such companies? How is governance changing in the relationships between companies regarding their possible different digitalization levels? Research method: literature review.

Apparently, possible diverging impacts may exist. Increased visibility and traceability of information could reduce or even remove the importance of trust; but will any information be transparent? Will it be acknowledged as trustworthy by all the partners? Will trust, or perhaps “digital trust”, still be necessary? Research method: literature review.

Rethinking Supply Chains

The outbreak of COVID-19 is an unexpected event which has impacted every supply chain on our planet. As a result, supply sources were disconnected and production facilities were shutdown (Deloitte 2020), creating shortage at the retail/customer end and surpluses at the supplier/manufacturer end (Donaldson 2020). The potential impact of such a mismatch on the global economy is huge. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic’s global cost could range from US$5.8 trillion to $8.8 trillion, a decline of between 6.4% and 9.7% in the global gross domestic product (GDP) (ADB 2020). COVID-19 demonstrates that many of the recognised supply chain robustness and resilience strategies (Sheffi 2005) and mechanisms have not been sufficiently effective to mitigate fully supply chain risks. COVID-19 will change the way of working within supply chain management. We would like to get a deeper insight into the following research Topics.

Themen:

What can we learn from COVID-19 to prepare for future unexpected environmental disruptions on supply chains? What future crises do companies expect?

Logistics is a labor-intensive industry and options for automation (e.g. in transport or in warehousing) are limited. Covid-19 has forced companies to rethink how they can protect their employees while ensuring their ability to work. In this study, case study research will investigate which actions were taken and if it is possible that the working environment in logistics will change after the pandemic.

Truck Driver Shortage

Due to more interdependent business environments, well-executed supply chains are important to lead businesses successfully (Paul, Sarker and Essam, 2016; Aggarwal, Srivastava and Bharadwaj, 2020). However, turbulences and rising volatility in corporate environments are challenging today’s operations managers (Christopher and Holweg, 2011). Different case examples, surveys or industry reports are showing that firms lose on profit, market share or revenue when supply chain disruptions occurs (Hosseine-Motlagh et al., 2019; Chen, Xu and Zhou, 2019; Hendricks and Singhal, 2005). Due to Chopra and Sodhi (2004), such events can affect different planning and/or execution stages within the supply chain, like production or logistics. Imperfection in transportation has consequently also a serious impact on a firm’s performance (Paul et al., 2019). For example time-critical goods that are planned for transport or are already in transit from one node to another (e.g. manufacturer to retailer) and are delayed or even cancelled can have a negative impact on supply chain performance (Hishamuddin Sarker and Essam, 2013).

At present, the topic of a growing shortage of truck drivers is back on the agenda for practitioners and scientists. Without doubt, driver shortage is a longstanding issue for the logistics sector (Mittal et al., 2018). However, today this phenomenon is not limited to a view countries or industries. Internationally, the logistics sectors are worrying about the shortage of truck drivers (Anderhofstadt and Spinler, 2020; Trick, and Peoples, 2019). This negative trend will affect more and more supply chains from industry and trade, which will inevitably lead to supply chain disruptions.

Until now, there are numerous scientific findings on how to recruit and keep people or why the profession is seen so negatively (Miller, Bolumole and Muir, 2020; Stephenson and Richard, 1996). Unfortunately, there is a lack of profound knowledge about how supply chain partners can compensate the decreasing number of truck drivers and thus the transport volumes.

Themen:

In modern supply chains, companies are in a state of mutual dependence. It is therefore important for the different supply chain partners that risks of volatile processes are minimized as good as possible. However, the shortage of truck drivers is a market-driven phenomenon. The common mechanisms in vertical networks (e.g. to react with penalties to force the contract partner to improve a situation or to even change the contract partner) only work to a limited extent, as other companies are struggling with the same problem. One possibility for retailers or suppliers is to set up an own procurement logistics or distribution cooperation. Therefore, the empirical thesis will address the question whether the shortage of truck drivers will promote the concepts of procurement logistics and/or distribution cooperation and what will be the impact on the set-up of current supply chains.

Today unfortunately, many trucks still drive through Germany with free loading space. This is surprising, as, for example, in food retailing, numerous suppliers deliver to the same unloading points (e.g. distribution centers of the retail industry). Therefore, a consolidation seems to make sense, especially in terms of the increasing shortage of truck drivers. The purpose of the empirical thesis is to investigate the loss of freight space today. Furthermore, first ideas on how to visualize the utilization of truckloads are welcomed.

Due to the shortage of truck drivers and the resulting reduced transport volume, it is necessary to start the evaluation of modern ramp concepts. Today truck drivers lose too much time by waiting in front of loading and unloading locations instead of driving the truck. This requires that the loading and unloading at the ramps must be planned more efficient due to a higher transparency in the distribution network. The aim of this empirical thesis is to identify, together with loading and unloading supply chain partners within the food industry, how the waiting time of trucks can be significantly reduced by using new working methods.

Supply Chain Digitalization & end-to-end SC transparency

The process of digitizing logistics and supply chain management is part of a holistic change towards digital enterprises and offer many application potentials for the digitalization. Digitalization primarily involves the implementation and use of automated digital systems and the linking of production and logistics facilities. Through the increased interconnectivity of systems, actors can realise efficient cross-company planning and organisation of material and information flows. Despite various advantages, this change is accompanied by requirements and challenges which the actors in the supply chain have to cope with. The theses belonging to this subject area deal with possible applications within the scope of supply chain digitalization.

Themen:

Within the scope of the work, a systematization of possible application options for automation along the supply chain should be carried out. In this context, a detailed quantification of the defined automation potentials and a comprehensive systematic analysis of the success factors associated with implementation are to be conducted. In addition to a theoretical examination, the master’s thesis includes a case study to identify practical examples and a description of best practices.

The implementation of a digital supply chain twin involves the digital mapping of the relationships between all physical units of the end-to-end supply chain processes, products, customers, markets, distribution center’s, production center’s and logistics facilities. The implementation of this application is correspondingly complex and costly. In the scope of the research it shall be investigated which challenges and prerequisites exist with regard to the implementation and to which maturity level practical approaches are already realized. On the basis of the gathered insights and existing approaches, a holistic model, including cross-company collaboration structures, should be developed.

The introduction of block chain solutions in the supply chain for the reliable and efficient exchange of data for the streamlined control of the supply chain and planning of new activities is by definition promising much potential for improvement. In consideration of the complexity of this task and the relative novelty of these systems, this work should focus on analyzing practical solutions and systems currently in operational use and comparing the current use with the existing potential in order to be able to conclude how mature the technology is in practical implementation. Accordingly, it is about the analysis of the elements that are currently used and what influence they have on the way of collaboration.

The gathering and utilization of comprehensive performance data from supply chain partners before and within the scope of operational cooperation enables companies to reduce subjectivity in the course of evaluation and decision making and to have access to valid data. Currently, these analysis approaches involve a lot of effort with the integration of separate systems. In most cases, companies limit themselves to a snapshot or retrospective evaluation of performance. By using supplier-specific data, as well as integrating further relevant market and environmental factors and data, it could be possible to develop future scenarios and to make decisions on the basis of these scenarios regarding cooperation and the establishment and maintenance of business relationships. In the context of this work, the aim is to determine, with the help of a case study or survey, which opportunities and requirements companies perceive in these technologies and whether existing approaches are used in the operative business and how they influence the processes of supplier management.

Autonomous Driving on the Last Mile

The last-mile represents the most complex stage of delivering customer’s goods, accounting for half of the costs of delivery. Moreover, the rising tendency of ordering online, urban congestion, and skills shortages challenge future delivery. Besides electrification and on-demand delivery, autonomous driving is perceived as a major trend of shaping the future of urban transportation. Concepts and applications range from unmanned vehicles to air drones. Autonomous driving will enable a personalized, cheaper, and more sustainable delivery.

Themen:

Concepts, as well as pilot projects of autonomous deliver systems, are manifold. This bachelor thesis aims to give an overview of autonomous driving in academic as well as semi-academic literature. This thesis should include the demographics of literature, description of different concepts and applications as well as implications for decision-makers.

This master thesis aims to derive projections of the future development of autonomous driving on the last-mile for a Delphi study. Based on literature and expert interviews, the projections shall shape a picture of a possible development of autonomous last-mile delivery in 2040. The projections shall enable a comprehensive picture and include different perspectives and Stakeholders.

Supply Chain Management in an Era of Reglobalization

Global Supply Chains (GSC) have fostered the worldwide flow of goods and services and created a network of interdependencies among nations, firms, and corporations. Being exposed to external shocks such as environmental disasters (e.g., Australian bushfires, typhoons, floods), political tensions (e.g. Brexit, USA-China trade war), or health crises (COVID-19, ebola), disruptions are affecting GSC and will continue to substantial change GSC. Given that, there is a need for a reconfiguration of GSC and an overthinking of established paradigms in the management of GSC. In academics, scholars hypothesize a “mediated” globalisation, including the value-added of productivity while maintaining GSC stability.

Themen:

The growing limits of global trade openness are accompanied by logistical and technological advances with a growing at an even faster pace. This master thesis aims to identify the role of emerging technologies in enabling resilient supply chains in the era of regloblisation. Based on a literature review, expert interviews with supply chain executives shall be conducted and the results are conceptualized within a framework for decision-makers.

Single radical events (e.g. burning sewings in Bangladesh, suicides at Apple supplier Foxconn) or precarious long-term conditions (e.g. environmental pollution of dye works in India, emissions of factories in China) call for a moral overthinking of supply chains. Sustainable supply chains shall be characterised by being ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable. Reglobalisation will lead to new requirements in managing sustainability in supply chains. This thesis aims to identify the impacts of regloblisation on sustainability management of supply chains by expert interviews from a specific industry (e.g., automotive, food, medicine).

GSC are affected by increasing anti-globalisation movements (e.g. US protectionism, China’s tariffs) that are readily affecting international trade and will continue to reshape GSC. This will give rise to new GSC structures, capable of managing international trade policies and limits of cross-country change of goods. This master thesis aims to identify measures that enable firms to adapt their supply chains to the requirements of changing and complex trade policies by a case study.

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