Symposium on Supply Chain Design
Sep 2018

Symposium on Supply Chain Design

Several international researchers from MIT Sloan School of Management, INSEAD, Politecnico di Milano and KU Leuven will share their findings on supply chain design for different industrial applications

Nowadays, Supply Chain Design is breaking out of the modeler’s and analyst’s room. Supply chains are interacting in a complex world and therefore new supply chain design options, as well as significant supply chain changes, can only be accepted and effective if they are anchored and supported by all the stakeholders involved. Given a group of stakeholders, many of their expectations are not only related to maximizing profits or minimizing costs, but they are also related to sustainability, humanity and cooperation too. Designing such supply chains requires innovative methods to take a broader base of stakeholders and their conflicting objectives into account. We need to push the boundaries of the traditional models on supply chain design.

The Research Center for Operations Management organizes a symposium on supply chain design. At this symposium, several international researchers from MIT Sloan School of Management, INSEAD, Politecnico di Milano and KU Leuven will share their findings on supply chain design for different industrial applications. These applications will include vaccine, humanitarian, closed-loop and spare parts supply chains.


  • 8:30-9:00: Welcome and registration
  • 09.00-09.30: Prof. Dr. Nico Vandaele (KU Leuven): An End-To-End Supply Chain Design Perspective
    • Based on both our academic as well as on our field work related to vaccine supply chains, we elaborate on the
      importance of the End-To-End perspective for supply chain design. We envision manufacturing by referring to the Guaranteed Service Approach and extend the scope up to the last mile. We introduce a systems perspective, where the ultimate goal of immunization and the preparedness for outbreaks is highly dependent on a number of design and managerial decisions taken decades before the operations materialize and when responsiveness becomes key. We illustrate this with evidence from our modelling work in vaccine manufacturing as well as in local distribution settings in some sub-Saharan countries.
  • 09.30-10.00: Prof. Dr. Stephen C. Graves (MIT Sloan School of Management): Coordination of multi-echelon supply chains using the guaranteed service framework (joint work with Tor Schoenmeyr)
    • We investigate how the guaranteed-service (GS) framework for multi-echelon safety stock placement can be
      used when di erent parts of the supply chain are controlled by different parties. We fi nd that this framework
      is naturally well suited for decentralized decision-making, and we propose a speci c, simple contract structure
      which facilitates such relationships. This contract is incentive compatible and has several other desirable properties; it is also simpler than contracts proposed for coordination in the stochastic service (SS) framework. We also highlight the role of holding costs, how these should be calculated, and some of the diffculties that this might cause decentralized supply chains.
  • 10.30-10.30: Prof. Dr. Luk N. Van Wassenhove (INSEAD): Pushing the Boundaries of Traditional Operations Management
    • We discuss the evolution of Closed-Loop Supply Chains and Humanitarian Operations research, two ex-
      amples of boundary extension in Operations and Supply Chain Management. Continued relevance of a eld
      requires innovation and the latter often comes from pushing the boundaries to explore new horizons. Today,
      the buzzword is sustainability, for some this is equated to Circular Economy. The discipline of Operations and
      Supply Chain Management is well-positioned to provide a solid academic basis to these areas which are often
      dominated by big promises with little evidence. The transition to sustainable supply chains or circular economy will be diffcult and we need to develop the tools to help practitioners and policy makers. Our eld needs to work on relevant problems in close collaboration with decision makers and translate its research ndings into easy-to-use practical tools. If it fails to do this it may miss the boat and marginalize itself. The presentation makes the point that sustainability of operations management as a discipline requires innovative research on sustainable business models. We need to push the boundaries again.
  • 10:30-11:00: Break
  • 11.00-11.30: Prof. Dr. Andre Calmon (INSEAD): Operations Management Challenges In A Cloud Factory”: Distributed Manufacturing Of Handmade Goods In Kenya
    • Motivated by a social enterprise in Kenya that manufactures fashion accessories using a distributed network
      of artisans, we analyze the operational challenges of managing a decentralized “virtual” or “cloud” factory. The artisans have limited capabilities and varying production quality, while the company faces uncertain demand. We investigate operational issues that emerge in this unique setting by formulating the scheduling problem faced by the manufacturer as a stochastic dynamic optimization problem. Since this dynamic optimization problem is not convex, we propose simple approximate policies that have near-optimal performance. Finally, we present numerical experiments calibrated with real-world data.
  • 11.30-12.00: Prof. Dr. Andrea Matta (Politecnico di Milano): Impact of Additive Manufacturing on Aeronautics Spare Parts Inventory Management
    • Additive manufacturing (AM) is a promising manufacturing technology which is nding its way into main-
      stream manufacturing industry. As compared to conventional manufacturing (CM) it has a number of advantages in terms of better energy e ciency, cutback in emissions, better design handling and lower set-up lead time. At the same time, the production lead time is generally slower, making this technology not suitable for the production of medium-large batches. This talk is mainly focused on these aspects, hence the time difference in terms of production and set-up lead times, by evaluating the impact of AM on the aircraft spare parts supply chain, in particular on the inventory level of the so-called “slow-moving parts”.
  • 12:00-12:30: Closure and networking

Date and location

Tuesday 23.10.2018, 9am-12.30am
Promotion Hall (Naamsestraat 22, Leuven)


via e-mail to

PICS Belgium