Research

 

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Research areas

Research methods

The LCL research network

Research projects

Open PhD positions 

Future research projects

Innovate, Impact, Inspire!

The LCL's motto encapsulates our key aims:

  • Engaging in cutting-edge research,
  • facilitating fundamental educational and outreach activities, and
  • harnessing the knowledge to deliver meaningful milestones to industry.

At the LCL, we are committed to achieving excellence in research and to ensuring that our research contributes to the well-being of society.

LCL Director, Prof. Benny Mantin

 

Research areas

Supply chain management first touches strategic, tactical and operational planning. It coordinates value-adding activities and the material and information flow between the organisational units or firms that participate in the product completion process – from procurement to manufacturing and distribution to customers.

Our research deals with all relevant aspects of the supply chain as illustrated in the following graph. This covers aspects of procurement, production, distribution and sales planning with a long-term, mid-term and short-term planning horizon as well as different industries.

Supply chain matrix

The primary research areas at the LCL include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Supply chain contracts and coordination: Supply chain performance hinges on the actions taken by the different members of the supply chain and the strategic interactions between them. Aligning them can alleviate the conflicts and improve the coordination by designing contracts that are beneficial to the supply chain in general and the individual members in particular. The changing supply chain environments (such as the emergence of online platforms and omni channels) highlight the dynamic aspects of these interactions.    B. Mantin, H. Krishnan, and T. Dhar. 2014. "The Strategic Role of Third‐Party Marketplaces in Retailing". Production and Operations Management, 23(11): 1937-1949.

 

  • Revenue management and dynamic pricing: Carefully controlling the changes in prices while harnessing information about demand can yield substantial improvement in performance. Led by the airline industry, revenue management practices are now being adopted by all industry segments. This research encapsulates modelling and empirical methods while capturing consumer behavior.    Mantin, B. and E. Rubin. "Fare Prediction Websites and Transaction Prices: Empirical Evidence from the Airline Industry". Marketing Science, 35(4): 640-655.

 

  • Inventory management or control seeks to have the right items available in the right amount, in the right place and at the right time in order to ensure uninterrupted production and provide the desired customer service at a minimum cost.    Klosterhalfen, S.T., Minner, S., Willems, S.P. (2014), "Strategic Safety Stock Placement in Supply Networks with Static Dual Supply", Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 204–219

 

  • Supply chain data analytics strives for gaining new insights to support a company's decision-making by examining the nowadays vast amounts of internally and externally available data.

 

  • Process improvement: Revisiting and redesigning exiting and new processes is a core objective in ensuring efficiency. The changing work environments, including automation, digitization and other innovations, facilitates rethinking of old processes. Is the flow of goods in a manufacturing environment optimal? Can we redesign queuing systems (consider Disney’s bracelets)? Can we leverage mobile phones to change the shopping experience (consider Amazon’s supermarkets)?

 

  • Supply chain finance: Supply chain and finance are two core functions of every business. The success of businesses hinges on the flow of information between these different functions and is generally measured in financial terms. Supply chain professionals use different metrics and performance indicators to measure their progress.

 

  • Retail operations deals with shelf-back planning of store operations, distribution, warehousing and supplier interactions in e-commerce, bricks-and-mortar and omni-channel retailing. Paper: Hübner, A., Wollenburg, J. & A. Holzapfel (2016): "Retail logistics in the transition from multi-channel to omni-channel", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 46 No. 6/7, S. 562-58

 

  • Behavioral operations management: Despite the increasing automation in supply chains, humans still control and carry out many of the supply chain decisions. Negotiations, contracts, prices, allocations and many other decisions are outcome of human decision making. Biases may linger into these decisions and via lab and field experiments we seek to understand these biases, their sources, and how to correct them.     Kremer, M., B. Mantin, and A. Ovchinnikov. "Dynamic Pricing in the Presence of Strategic Consumers: Theory and Experiment (previous title: Strategic Consumer, Myopic Retailers)". Production and Operations Management, 26(1): 116–133.

 

  • Air transport economics: The aviation supply chain embeds unique challenges and characteristics. For example, regulatory frameworks, ownership restrictions, and other aviation policies, influence the strategic interactions between policy makers, airports, airlines, and ultimately their customers. Questions relating to the management of airports (e.g., pricing of slots),  airlines (e.g., network planning), and regulation (e.g., how to measure competition), are of interest for policy makers and practitioners alike.     B. Mantin. 2012. "Airport Complementarity: Private vs. Government Ownership and Welfare Gravitation", Transportation Research Part B, 46: 381-388

Examples of our work are:

  • Structure of supply chains, e.g. how do product flows change if pure online retailers operate as omni-channel retailers? 
  • How does the aviation industry develop?
  • Leveraging state-of-the art technology to improve supply chain design performance, e.g. will blockchain technology increase the number of suppliers and what is the impact on supplier selection and supply chain performance?
  • How will 3D printing impact the location and size of warehouses?
  • How will autonomous vehicles change supply processes?

Research methods

Data-driven research

The growing amount of data that companies collect, the advances in computing power, the progress made in terms of analytical methods development over the last decades, and technological developments provide new opportunities for companies to improve their decision-making.

It becomes clear that new decision support systems, applications and techniques are required to ensure an efficient and accurate operation. This calls for new forms of interdisciplinary collaboration to exploit the full potential, e.g. between IT, statistics and supply chain.

Performance through better decision-making

The objective of our research is to build an understanding of how to manage and improve the performance of supply chains through better decision-making and coordination.

Methodology

We deal with conceptual structures of supply chain models, fundamental aspects of operations management (e.g. inventory management, forecasting) and supply chain management (e.g. supply chain network design, vehicle routing). We develop analytical modelling tools and techniques that can be used to support managerial decision-making. We also apply quantitative and qualitative empirical research methods to foster the exchange between industry and research.

Our cutting edge, multi-disciplinary research is both qualitative and quantitative, usually involving strong analytical and modelling skills while leveraging data analytics and empirical/statistical expertise.

We want to contribute to better and sustainable decision-making and execution of logistics and supply chain management. Better planning results in cost efficiency, robustness against uncertainty, volatility and disruptions as well as sustainable resource utilisations. To achieve these targets, we investigate product and information flows, build decision support models and appropriate solution approaches to address such problems.

Our research is quantitative and analytical-oriented. This covers methods like stochastic modelling, game theory, discrete optimisation and data analytics. Furthermore, we use explorative methods to uncover innovative topics, e.g. management surveys, roundtables.

We are inspired by industry collaboration and strive to apply our methods and findings in real world applications.

 

The LCL research network

Academic environment

The LCL benefits from a privileged environment within CREA, the Centre for Research in Economics and Management at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance, and close to the University of Luxembourg’s other faculties and research centres. It has access to researchers in related disciplines, including finance, economics, law, and engineering. The LCL also benefits from the MIT global SCALE network including more than 80 researchers worldwide. Teaching and research exchange programmes enable a rich interdisciplinary mix of teams of researchers addressing strategic supply chain challenges.

Business environment

The success of our research projects is furthered by corporate partnership programmes. Our Outreach team supports our researchers in this area. The day-to-day business of supply chain feeds the applied sciences. Our aim is to provide academic leadership in the market and to develop strategic partnerships to advance research, and the impact of that research, in our field.

The LCL is also an active member of business supply chain institutions such as the Luxembourg Cluster for Logistics and the German Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL).

 

Research projects

Examples of research projects

LCL research areas graph

Doctoral education

The LCL has just recruited 2 PhD students. More information to follow.

 

Future research projects

Companies are welcome to initiate research projects with the academic body of the LCL and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance or with project-related researchers, post-docs and PhDs.

Academic research projects develop innovations from real-life issues. Active academic researchers give access to cutting-edge research technologies, especially relevant in analysing data.

The LCL “Research Excellence Partner” programme brings you closer to innovation.

See how the LCL can contribute to the success of your company's global supply chain.