Real-Time Data for Products to Move Data-Driven Real-Time Decision Making in Supply Chains and Logistics
The project, here referred to as Data2Move, was started in 2017. The goal of Data2Move is to develop and demonstrate real-time data-driven logistic methods and techniques, initially focusing on inventory and transportation. Over the past years, significant progress has been made in implementing real-time data in business operations. While in 2017 many companies were still searching and did not know where to start and what to do with data, the project has made a significant contribution here. Innovative research combined with practical implementations - students from TU/e working at companies - were part of the research. A sustainable community within the European Supply Chain Forum (ESCF)* is the lasting result.
Real-time data provides supply chain managers with the ability to maintain visibility and enables them to make business-enhancing decisions without delay. Data within a supply chain is incredibly valuable for companies performing supply chain analytics to measure their business progress. By implementing the right technological tools, companies can analyze data within Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) systems and use it to stimulate business decision-making.
Drivers of Data2Move
In February 2023, we spoke with Sarah Gelper, now working for the University of Luxembourg. Sarah, along with others such as Tom Van Woensel, Ton de Kok, Luuk Veelenturf, and Zumbul Atan from Eindhoven University of Technology, was involved in this Data2Move research. Two PhD students and one Postdoc were also active in more fundamental research; Sami Ozarik (last mile transport), Saeed Poormoaied (inventory transshipments), and Baris Kocaman (transport subscription).
The project further collaborated with the following companies and knowledge partners:
H&S Group, Den Hartogh Logistics, Container Centralen Nederland, ORTEC, Jumbo supermarkten B.V., CTAC, Wuunder Nederland, MM Guide B.V., Essity Netherlands B.V., de Universiteit van Tilburg (UVT) en de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).
After embedding in ESCF in 2019, new partners joined; for a full list, see https://escf.nl/companymembers > Data2Move members. Besides the theses and PhD research, the network also meets three times a year around the themes in events. During these events, they share scientific knowledge, and partners share their challenges and solutions.
The Data2Move Community at ESCF
Data2Move: 'Where academic solutions meet business needs,' see this video on YouTube. Sarah explains the origin and embedding. "The community actually started in 2017, when compiling the consortium for this NWO project. Meanwhile, more partners have joined, and Data2Move as a research project has, as it were, turned into a research community within ESCF." The members are shippers, transport companies, and IT companies. "Membership not only provides access to (scientific) knowledge but also access to talent and a broad network. These three components together in one community attract our members and make this collaboration very important. We organize workshops, and the community also offers opportunities such as a recent new research into the circular economy in collaboration with Philips and Dinalog." Apart from Data2Move, there are also networks within ESCF around Customer-Driven Transformation, High Tech, and Servitization. "Partners get to know each other better because members often participate more than once, creating an increasingly close-knit community."
Challenges during the research
Engaging companies for collaboration with a PhD student is not easy, Sarah explains. "Where companies are eager to hire a student for a six-month thesis project, hiring a PhD student is much more difficult. This is partly due to the fact that it involves a period of four years (too long a horizon) but also due to a practical barrier regarding access to companies' systems and data. This access cannot always be facilitated because a PhD student is not on the company's payroll, unlike a student doing a thesis." Another challenge was keeping the community active during the COVID-19 period. "Building a community during the lockdown was not easy, yet we managed to continue meeting with our members, online. And as soon as it was possible, we organized an outdoor event."
The project leadership is now in the hands of Albert Schrotenboer and Laura Genga, and Sarah remains involved remotely. The ESCF community continues to evolve. "Most companies now have a good data strategy. However, data remains important, and there are new interesting issues, such as 'responsible use' of data and 'corporate responsibility.' The theme of 'resilience' is also on the agenda of Data2Move, which concerns not only transportation but the entire supply chain. You see companies really wanting to take the next step. There has been a shift in recent years from a more technical issue to making good choices in using data."
* European Supply Chain Forum (ESCF)
ESCF is the leading collaborative platform in solving practical and scientific supply chain challenges by using technology and strengthening talent, innovative thinking, and out-of-the-box solutions. On the ESCF website, you can find more information about the Move2data community, along with various articles and stories.
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