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MU CELDi team earns third ‘Success Story’

Map of world with that shows how network would flow.

The above map shows a flowchart for how the MU CELDi team’s reverse logistics network would work.

The College of Engineering’s National Science Foundation-supported Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution (CELDi) achieved its third “Success Story” for its work on a project for CELDi industry member the Boeing Co.

The project, “Reverse Logistics Network Design in a PBL Environment (Phase 2),” examines network design for the company’s distribution facilities.

“We’re looking at, as demand shifts, where to locate both part distribution and repair facilities,” said James Noble, a professor of industrial engineering and MU CELDi’s site director. “How would you set up the network to minimize costs?”

Four students have worked on the project. Doctoral student, Gaohao Luo and senior Jennifer Bergman are working on the project this year, and graduates, Don Schmidt and Adam Rubemeyer also contributed to the project.

The team created a cost-efficient reverse logistics network involving Boeing’s current distribution center and repair facilities that are used in product maintenance. Bergman began working on the project last fall.

“First, we had to develop a transportation cost estimation tool and a network design optimization tool,” she said. “We had talked extensively with Boeing regarding the tool requirements so that the final product met its design needs.”

She added that the project has analyzed the network design for both domestic and international customers, having completed a design for domestic scenarios and switched focus to international scenarios.

“Success Stories” feature exemplary projects among CELDi member-schools that achieve significant results, which have an impact on the company, and are being implemented.

“We were able to develop tools that Boeing is using to support a range of logistics analysis needs,” Bergman said.

This is Boeing’s fourth year as a member with MU’s CELDi program and the second project the program has conducted for the company.

“We are extremely pleased with the work that the Mizzou team has done on our project,” said Nisha Shah, Boeing CELDi Project Manager and MU Engineering alumnus. “The CELDi experience has been mutually beneficial as students become exposed to real-life logistics problems, and Boeing receives insight into the latest research and analysis methods. The team has exemplified the power that can be harnessed when industry and academia work together to address a problem.”

MU is finishing its fifth year as a CELDi member university. It is one of six major research university’s in the NSF-sponsored Industry/University Collaborative Research Center (I/UCRC). Others include, the University of Arkansas, Clemson University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, University of California-Berkley and Oklahoma State University.

MU Engineering’s other partners have included Bayer CropScience, Leggett & Platt, Hallmark and Ameren, among others.