Tag Archives: logistics education

Logistics Perfromance Index – country level benchmarking

The fourth edition of the Logistics Performance Index is out now for those who want to do some country-level benchmarking. The LPI is  prepared by the World Bank and Prof. Lauri Ojala at Turku School of Economics, Finland.

The interactive benchmarking tool is complemented by an interesting report — ‘Connecting to compete. Trade Logistics in the Global Economy‘.

On the importance of supply chains:

Supply chains are the backbone of international trade and commerce. Their logistics encompasses freight transportation, warehousing, border clearance, payment systems, and increasingly many other functions outsourced by producers and merchants to dedicated service providers.
On the societal role of logistics:
The importance of good logistics performance for economic growth, diversification, and poverty reduction is now firmly established.
Here, logistics does not only tap into the bottom line of the individual firm. Rather, ‘logistics performance’ has wider implications for economic development for countries and living conditions.
Logistics is not merely ‘business logistics’!




A playful approach to SCM – CFP on games in humanitarian logistics

This is one of the most exciting CFPs I ever worked with – one on “Games for Learning and Dialogue in Humanitarian Logistics“. Whether you are into board games, role games, video games, apps, serious games or business simulations, this is something to you. Start developing and testing games in humanitarian logistics! Who knows, perhaps some day boardgamegeek, metacritic, or gamerankings will pick up the discussion from here – but first it is time to write an academic article – or at least time to play with the idea🙂


A supply chain is…

Again I asked my students to provide some metaphors for “supply chain”, just completing the sentence starting with “A supply chain is …”. Here are some flavours of the results, a bit grouped around topics – this year with favourite themes around nature, humans, human activities (baking, theatre, sports):

Metaphors from nature

A supply chain is …

“like an army of ants or a group of honey bees. when they coordinate in group they create something as magnificent as anthills or honey respectively.” (Abhishek Abhinav)

“a river that floats in opposite directions at the same time.” (Annika Alftan)

“the beginning of life until the final end.” (Benjamin Andersson)

“like a plant. It needs a variety of elements from different channels to grow, to be whole, stay stable and eventually flourish.” (Sara Brännäs)

“like a cell: a complex system in constant movement. Every component plays a vital part and all the functions follow a specialized code that keeps the entire system on track. A functioning cell is often taken for granted and but even the smallest malfunction can have serious consequences.” (Elina Häkkinen)

“like a tree. Different components and products are gathered and processed by different producers and processes like the roots of a tree. The final products or your firm is symbolized by the tree trunk and the tree’s ramification including the foliage symbolizes the distribution of the products to the consumers. The more complicated the chain the bigger the tree.” (Cecilia Mickos)

“a caterpillar. All parts have to move in sync to get to the goal.” (Kai Pietilä)

“critical path – in organizations or ecosystems – that secure the delivery of products or services from the supplier to the dedicated consumer of this particular product or service. An efficient Supply Chain operates in a balanced, optimized manner, so that the customer service interface, related costs and risks involved, are on the desired, planned level. From the receiving – customer – point-of-view the Supply Chain can be inward or outward bound, when observing the supply flows” (Juha-Pentti Rautalahti)

Metaphors related to the human body

A supply chain is …

“like the anatomy of a human body with arteries functioning as downstream and veins functioning as upstream.” (Mikael Holmberg)

“like a human body. Everything is related and linked. There is one main objective for every part of the body: the functioning and the health of the body (corresponding to the final customer satisfaction). The heart can be assimilated to the focal company: flows (blood) exist in order make the supply chain alive. Some suppliers (food, nerves…) provide raw material or information in order to irrigate the rest of the chain. The interdependency and process links of the human body embodies very well the interdependency of the different stakeholders of the chain: if something happens downstream, it may have important consequences upstream.” (Vivien Matthieu)

“like the human body: all the organs are linked together and there is information sharing between all of them, passing by the connections in the brain. If one of them stops to work or don’t work very well, there is a huge impact on the others and the whole body is affected. The whole purpose is for the human being to be healthy, and for this to work, all of the organs have to function well and together, each one of them fulfilling its objectives.” (Ana Zonari)

Metaphors from arts / sports

A supply chain is…

“a stage where the lighting is broken and you’re trying to peer into the darkness surrounding where you stand while simultaneously directing the play.” (Johan Järvinen)

“like a team; the communication needed and networks that arise are complex and the key indicators of how well the team is performing can be measured through the customer satisfaction.” (Janina Lindgren)

“like the process of a rumor spreading within a group of people. When the first person tells it to the next there is one version, but after several people have contributed to the story the last version of the rumor tends to be different.” (Charlotta Lönnfors)

“a football game. The coach is the person who helps the players to reach their destinations in an efficient way.  The players are the interconnected businesses/parties who bring the products/services, and their aim is to score a goal “product/services will reach to the destination”. The goalkeeper is the customer and he/she is waiting for the ball “product/service”. The players are always in contact with each other and they need to do their best in order to score. They might have challenges during the game since the opposing team can make different kinds of movements. Players need to pass these challenges and score the goal. There are complex movements which they can do, but they should choose which action would be the best and in this case, coach can lead the team.” (Zeynep Paukkio)

“like a game of football, where a team tries to cooperate according to a rehearsed game plan, in order to score a goal. The team’s coaches and management outline the strategy and train the players, and the players implement the strategy on a tactical level.” (Tom Turula)

“like a puzzle. Every part has to be on its own place in order to make the big picture work.” (Diana Welander)

Metaphors related to cooking / baking

A supply chain is..

“like cooking, all ingredients bring more value and taste to the food, and if one part is missing it can destroy the whole meal.” (Paulina Salin)

like baking a bun – right amount of right and fresh ingredients at a right order, exact time at the oven, baked with a decent effort and served to the nice people.” (Helmi Sihvonen)

and finally, a supply chain is …

“like a bridge which provides a way for linking the vendors, manufacturers, retailers and customers to work together to achieve their goal respectively.” (Yuqing Yang)

Beautiful, isn’t it?



Supply chain management / music in my ears

Happy new year 2013! Here’s some funny analogy between SCM and supply chain music.

Now: ELA research day at BVL

The ELA research day joined forces with BVL PhD workshop resulting in research presentations for PhD students mostly. Quite an interesting concept in itself, with two “hot potatoes” chosen for presentations to tie into, and with PhD students working on those topics given a chance to present their current projects as well.

What were the topics of this year, you ask? Well, humanitarian logistics for one, and supply chain innovations for the other. Both are also followed up on the more practitioner-oriented BVL’s & EUROLOG’s conference. Perhaps a combination of the two would be interesting to pursue…


PS As an interesting conference observation, there was an award for journalists writing about logistics (“Medienpreis Logistik“) – what a genius way to raise the profile of the profession!

JHLSCM seeking Africa regional editor

The Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management is expanding its editorial team and is looking for an Africa regional editor. More specifications to be found here, application deadline Sep 30, 2012.

On that note, there is a current CFP on “Humanitarian logistics education and training” with the same deadline – so if you work with training and/or education in this field, send a paper to the special issue!


Now: Theories and Research in Logistics and SCM

No, this is not to add to the theories debate, though the doctoral course we are running right now in Turku may do that. There is an astonishing variety of topics among the participants, anything from public procurement to lean manufacturing to assessing logistics costs on the national level to environmental issues in food supply chains… And yet they all face the same challenges:

– What is theory?
– Which one to select for my thesis?
– How to contribute to it?

With the help of Árni Halldórsson (from this blog) and Craig Carter, the course may shed light on some of these questions – though I ask myself if wondering about them isn’t a perpetual quest in (SCM) research.