April 27, 2022
Industry leaders, faculty from several universities and industrial engineering students last week discussed supply chain issues, presented research and learned about ways they can help one another.
The annual Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution (CELDi) Research Symposium brought about 45 attendees — including representatives from The Boeing Co., Anheuser Busch, Emerson Electric, Leggett & Platt, and Kansas City Southern Railroad — to Mizzou. CELDi is a graduated National Science Foundation I/UCRC comprised of six major research universities a wide range of member organizations.
The conference gave companies the opportunity to learn more about faculty and student work, and how they might benefit from that research, said Jim Noble, chair of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering.
“They were excited to see the different areas we’re working on and what our capabilities are,” he said. “It was an opportunity to make connections, learn about resources and see the raw talent we have to address logistics and supply chain problems. That was the goal, and I felt we achieved that.”
Keynote speakers Mike Williams, director of logistics for North America, Emerson Electric, and Scott Collignon, senior vice president of aftermarket supply chain operations at Lippert, focused on current supply chain challenges during their remarks.
“Both keynote speakers were excellent and provided insights into the current landscape in supply chain and logistics,” Noble said. “They talked about things that worked and things that didn’t work — great context for our students as they prepare to enter the field or do research alongside faculty in this domain.”
An industry panel allowed attendees to delve deeper into specific issues both from a supplier and consumer perspective. Panelists included Jay Witherspoon, director of logistics for Leggett & Platt, Kurt Ehlers (BS IE ’13, MS IE ’15), who leads implementation of a new planning tool at Anheuser Busch, Nicolas Klein (BS IE ‘09, MS IE ‘14), assistant vice president of network operations at Kansas City Southern Railroad, and Randolph Bradly, a technical fellow at The Boeing Company.
“It was a great discussion of the analytic needs companies have, what’s being implemented and where new approaches are needed,” Noble said.
Some of the most valuable exchanges, though, happened informally, he said. Noble observed several side conversations where company representatives explored ways in which they could work together. Those business connections, Noble stressed, would not have occurred were it not for CELDi bringing industry leaders together.
Eight academic teams presented research posters on topics ranging from developing a disaster resource portfolio, hybrid truck/ drone / robot routing for parcel deliveries, and optimized procurement dashboards.
PhD student Zeynab Oveysi took first place in the poster competition for her work around optimizing inventory for research and development operations, work she conducted alongside Associate Professor Ron McGarvey and Assistant Professor Suchithra Rajendran.
Mizzou’s Erik Starrenburg won the CELDi Outstanding Undergraduate Student Achievement Award, and Garrett Robinson took honorable mention in the outstanding graduate student achievement category.
“Companies are seeing first-hand the supply chain talent pipeline,” said Noble, who noted that two Boeing representatives in attendance last week were alumni of CELDi’s academic members, including Mizzou. “They’re hiring the best and the brightest.”
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