The adoption of contemporary logistics and systems thinking has the potential to contribute positively to the formulation and implementation of sustainable societal development models; and, significantly reduce cost, improve customer service and enhance environmental sustainability at supply chain and organisational level.
The Aston Logistics and Systems Institute is a centre of excellence in its field with a strong focus on building world class research capability, partnership with business and industry, and advanced learning. It comprises a multidisciplinary team of academic and research staff focused on generating and using leading edge knowledge.
In line with the Institute’s overall multidisciplinary ethos, its research will address a range of thematic areas that require the effective application of knowledge and expertise from across a number of traditional domains for their solution.
The thematic areas to be focused on initially will be:
- systems thinking in supply chain design and integration;
- environmentally sustainable logistics and systems;
- urban logistics in smart cities;
- logistics and supply chain data analytics;
- technology (particularly ICT) enablers; and,
- project risk assessment and analysis.
Company Outreach and Support
The Institute will also place a strong emphasis on collaboration with industry and other external stakeholders. Strong links already exist with key firms at University, School and ESM levels; the Institute will build on these. ESM has already forged an academic partnership with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and recently become a node in the International Purchasing and Supply Education and Research Association (IPSERA); the Institute will nurture these relationships and develop new relationships with other professional bodies and networks.
- Corporate Learning
Aston has vast experience in the provision of high quality education and training programmes across a range of relevant domains. The Institute will work in partnership with external stakeholders in the design, development, delivery, assessment and continuous improvement of logistics and systems learning programmes.
- Facilitation and Coaching
Institute staff will work collaboratively with firms to identify areas for logistics and systems performance improvement and to develop appropriate solutions. For example, increasing the levels of integration and strengthening relationships up and down both internal and external supply chains.
- Technology Demonstration
Recent years have seen rapid developments in technology generally and a proliferation of ICT applications in the logistics and systems area. This represents a major opportunity for supply chains as it has the potential to enable higher levels of integration. The Institute will house a technology demonstrator unit to showcase the capability of state-of-the-art technology. This unit will also act as a facilitator of relationships between supply chain firms and technology vendors.
- Knowledge Transfer
The Institute will develop a range of mechanisms to facilitate knowledge transfer to firms. This will have a particular emphasis on the incorporation of state-of-the-art concepts, practices and technologies into partner organisations. Aston already has an enviable track record in relation to Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programmes and the Institute will strongly emphasise expansion in this area.
This aspect of the Institute’s work will focus on the exploitation of commercialisation opportunities that arise from the University’s logistics and systems research. For example, previous work on genetic algorithm-based modelling and new work on information mechanics offer the potential to spin out commercial software products.