April 07, 2015 • Articles

Conference spotlights companies and organizations that are innovating across various sectors.

Panelist Jarrod Goentzel, director of the MIT Humanitarian Response Lab, which aims to improve supply chains and response times during humanitarian crises, said mobile technologies have great potential for improving supply chains, especially among African countries.

March 30, 2015 • Articles

Attending a symposium on the future of transportation and logistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is as forward looking at you might imagine. The event, MIT Crossroads, is organized by the university’s Center for Transportation & Logistics and is designed to bring to light concepts and ideas that may well impact transportation networks in the coming years. Low-cost, long-life batteries that store electricity, autonomous motorized bicycles that carry people and packages, and the future of 3D printing were just a few of the ideas on display this year.

March 18, 2015 • Articles

By Roberto Perez-Franco

While it is true that supply chains are key for sustained innovation in a company, it is also true that all innovations are not the same. A given supply chain can work perfectly for developing and launching a given innovative product, and yet—if applied like a cookie-cutter—the very same supply chain can spell disaster for a different innovative endeavor.

March 17, 2015 • Articles

Before lunch on the first day of this year’s TPM, Chris Caplice, executive director of MIT’s Center for Transportation & Logistics, blew us away with a rapid-fire 20-minute talk on the future of transportation and logistics. He used the great horse-manure crisis of 1894 as a case study — the main form of transportation in those days, after all, was the horse. The horse population had reached problematic levels around the world, producing unpleasant consequences: urine, flies, congestion, carcasses and traffic accidents.

March 09, 2015 • Articles

More cargo is being shifted away from congested West Coast trade routes

“Currently, the lowest-cost option is to go to the West Coast ports,” said Yossi Sheffi, director of the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “The supply-chain procurement managers are doing this on day-to-day price cost pressures. Why rock the boat?”

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February 27, 2015 • Articles

By Dr. Yossi Sheffi, LinkedIn Influencer

It appears that ports on the US West Coast are back in full swing after a protracted labor dispute delayed cargo worth billions of dollars and caused untold reputational damage to the companies caught in the crossfire.

But the implications of this standoff between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association go beyond idle ships and stranded freight containers.

February 11, 2015 • Articles

By Dr. Yossi Sheffi, LinkedIn Influencer

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently described the demand for iPhones as “staggering” after divulging that the company sold 74.5 million units in the holiday quarter even though it raised the price of this iconic product. Total sales in the period amount to more than 34,000 phones per hour flying off the shelves around the clock reported the Wall Street Journal.

February 09, 2015 • Articles

How does a company keep tabs on thousands of suppliers?

That’s the question Bruce Arntzen tried to answer when he started the Hi-Viz Research Project.

As Executive Director of MIT’s Supply Chain Management Program, Arntzen works with corporations to find innovative solutions to supply chain problems.

February 03, 2015 • Articles

A new way to deliver freight in congested cities, a revolutionary energy storage system, and a method for driving innovation by harnessing skunk work projects, are some of the developments that supply chain professionals will learn about at Crossroads 2015, March 24, 2015, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus, Cambridge, MA.

February 02, 2015 • Articles

Some 130 masters’ students from more than 25 countries gathered at MIT on Jan. 21 to present 80 research projects displayed on electronic posters.

Research Expo 2015 not only presented research in supply-chain management from around the globe — the projects were sponsored by companies and more 250 executives viewed the posters — it was also the culmination of a month-long series of events and networking opportunities.

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January 27, 2015 • Articles

A crowdsourced digital bazaar will directly bridge the gap between local craftsmen and global consumers.

Although tourism accounts for the second-largest industry within Morocco’s economy, many Moroccan craftsmen who depend on tourism to earn their living still face significant economic hardship, as a growing percentage of international retail transactions are being conducted online.

January 20, 2015 • Articles

First report of Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation offers new framework for assessment.

When a person lives on less than $2 a day — as some 2.7 billion people around the world do — there isn’t room for a product like a solar lantern or a water filter to fail.

It’s a challenge development agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and consumers themselves face every day: With so many products on the market, how do you choose the right one?

January 15, 2015 • Articles

By Jarrod Goentzel

Walk through the recently built UNICEF warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark, and you will pass a room where office cubicles have been replaced with rolling tables, white boards, colorful couches, and a mix of gadgets and gizmos. This is the home of the organization’s Innovation Unit.

The fact that the unit is embedded in the supply chain function underlines the emphasis that UNICEF puts on developing innovative processes and grounding new product ideas with operational realities; a culture normally associated with leading companies.

January 13, 2015 • Articles

With help from MIT Humanitarian Response Lab, a cargo flight carries much-needed supplies to support health systems and Ebola-response operations in Liberia.

A shipment of medical equipment that arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, from Miami, Florida, on Jan. 12 will enable 25 government hospitals to receive infection-control training. Critically, the shipment will help facilities that were partially or fully closed due to the recent Ebola crisis to recommence regular operations.

January 06, 2015 • Articles

U.S. transportation secretary discusses “infrastructure deficit,” need for long-term innovation and planning.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx warned, in remarks at an MIT forum on Monday, that America’s “infrastructure deficit” was growing and would worsen without further investment and long-term planning for new technologies.

January 06, 2015 • Articles

By Dr. Yossi Sheffi, LinkedIn Influencer

Comparing your company to industry leaders is a popular way to benchmark the organization's performance, and there are plenty of industry indices out there that rank companies according to various measures of excellence.

In the supply chain domain, the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 index is one of the most closely followed indices. But do rankings such as the one published annually by Gartner really provide meaningful assessments of the world's top supply chains?

December 18, 2014 • Articles

The in-person learning environment allows participants to network and engage in lively discussion, but does involve time away from work and travel expenses on top of registration fees.

December 02, 2014 • Articles

By Dr. Yossi Sheffi, LinkedIn Influencer

Many of the large companies that dominate world markets owe their strength and continuing growth to their underlying structure: a formidable network. Such networks have special economic characteristics which provide competitive advantage.

We are surrounded by networks: social networks, airline networks, highway networks, wireless networks, and numerous others. These entities contain points (“nodes”) connected by “links or “edges.”

November 20, 2014 • Articles

“The e-commerce shipping model isn’t sustainable in its current form,” said Yossi Sheffi, a professor of engineering systems and director of the Center for Transportation & Logistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“You cannot build a shipping network to operate 365 days a year based on a spike in packages three days before Christmas.”

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November 19, 2014 • Articles

For its inaugural event, the recently formed MIT Global Health and Medical Humanities Initiative presented “Examining Ebola,” a panel that probed the current global public health emergency from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The gathering, held at MIT on Oct. 28, also encapsulated the goals of the new initiative, which is based in the Anthropology section of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

November 17, 2014 • Articles

By Greg Israel and Hala Jalwan, MIT SCM Class of 2014

The process for creating product sales samples can be something of an afterthought in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. Yet improving this specialized supply chain can streamline new product introductions; a significant competitive advantage given the sheer number of product launches in the industry.

November 10, 2014 • Articles

Somewhere beneath the graying shock of mad professor hair, the dark circles under his eyes and the Russian-strained, cigarette-stained baritone, there remains in Igor Pasternak a boy with a dream.

It has been this way since his curiosity was piqued growing up in the Soviet Union during the last throes of the space race. Photos of blimps and dirigibles in magazines fascinated him. By the time he was 10, with the encouragement of an airship designer to whom he had written, Pasternak was consumed with the idea of building a vessel that would float across the sky.

November 05, 2014 • Articles

By Jim Rice

The recent cyber attacks and security breaches at Target and Home Depot drew executives’ attention to the vulnerability of their companies to this type of crime. The incidents exposed some 40 million and 56 million credit cards respectively, and in the case of Home Depot, occurred despite the company’s best efforts to protect the firm.

October 31, 2014 • Articles

One of my favorite supply chain academics is Dr. Chris Caplice, executive director of MIT'S Center for Transportation and Logistics, because he leads research that is in the end highly practical and usually quite relevant for real supply chain professionals. He also adds to that an ability to articulate that research very effectively - both qualities not so common in academia.

October 31, 2014 • Articles

By Dr. Yossi Sheffi, LinkedIn Influencer

I’m no fan of Big Government, but there are some cases where a system-wide view is much more efficient than a localized, distributed view. An example in the supply chain space is US maritime policy. A broader, and more topical example, is managing the Ebola crisis.

Americans have an almost visceral dislike for large, centralized government, and for good reason. Who wants to rely on the feds to provide local services such as trash collections or trust the authorities to spend local tax revenues wisely?