Vlerick Expertise in Operations & Supply Chain Management

 

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  1. COVID-19 vaccines: What if we don’t have enough of them?

    Vaccines usually have complex manufacturing processes and long production lead times. It is likely that we will face acute shortages in the initial period after the vaccine is produced. We will then have to rely on good targeting and rationing strategies for the quantity of vaccines available. Traditional inventory management systems using backlog or underage costs are generally improper in the human life context. Research by Professor Behzad Samii weighs out other inventory allocation mechanisms.

  2. Flexibility is your best weapon to limit the damage from unforeseen, unexpected change

    How should we react best as a society, business or individual to the many challenges that the coronavirus poses? The extent of the impact is not only being felt in terms of health, but clearly also in the economy and society. According to Professor Brecht Cardoen, flexibility is the best weapon to limit the damage, irrespective of the change or the level at which the change is introduced. Putting flexibility into practice is most visible in the healthcare sector. However, it can also be a good strategy for other companies that are looking for suitable adjustments to the workplace.

  3. How digitisation enables petrochemical supply chain sustainability

    For three years now, The European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) and Vlerick Business School have been exploring how digitisation can add value to the petrochemical supply chain. Apart from digitisation, sustainability awareness has been gaining momentum as well. So how can digitisation minimise the ecological footprint of the petrochemical supply chain? Professor Ann Vereecke and researchers Alejandra Cabos Rodriguez and Joachim Van den Bergh summarised the conclusions of round table discussions as well as the lessons learned from desk research and expert interviews in a comprehensive report.

  4. Artificial intelligence makes stock management more efficient

    What do AlphaGo, a robot that plays table tennis, a program that recognises emotions, and self-driving cars all have in common, besides the fact that all of them appeal to our imagination and are guaranteed to hit the headlines? They are all applications that use deep reinforcement learning (DRL). Intelligent stock management has recently joined that list. Along with two other colleagues, doctoral researcher Joren Gijsbrechts and Professor Robert Boute have demonstrated that DRL can be applied successfully to problems that seemed all but unsolvable up to now. For the very first time!

  5. How Industry 4.0 will change the way you do business

    Running your company the smart way

    Everyone is talking about Industry 4.0 – from the Internet of Things, additive manufacturing and the cloud through to artificial intelligence, augmented reality and blockchain. But what does it all mean in practice? It’s not a question of if Industry 4.0 will drastically change the way we do business. It’s a question of when and how quickly. So how can you apply this technology in your business – not just to improve production and performance, but to make a difference for customers?

  6. Speed factory - shoe production line

    Local Speed Factories: when the need for speed is vital

    In the 1990s, Adidas moved its entire production to low-wage countries in Asia, but in 2015 it re-opened highly automated Speed Factories in Germany and recently also in the US. These factories are only responsible for a few per cent of Adidas’ total yearly production, but they guarantee extra short delivery times. Why are Adidas and other companies moving a small share of their manufacturing activities back home? Professor Robert Boute and some of his colleagues developed a unique algorithm to answer this question.

  7. The data-driven project manager

    Data-driven project management in clear language

    Professor Mario Vanhoucke has eight academic books to his name. But his latest title, The Data-Driven Project Manager, is written in the form of a story. It follows Emily Reed – a young project manager who uses data to make decisions. The characters and dialogues are all based on real people and Mario’s years of professional experience.

  8. Condition-based maintenance

    Smarter maintenance means cheaper maintenance

    Thanks to the fourth industrial revolution, we’re increasingly able to connect machines with each other and with the internet. This gives us remote access to data about a machine’s condition – but how can we use this data to plan maintenance and reduce costs? Professor Robert Boute joined forces with several colleagues to develop algorithms designed to help.

  9. Petrochemical sector

    Digitising the petrochemical supply chain

    “Digitisation has already disrupted several industries. We wanted to assess its impact, analysing not only its challenges, but also its opportunities, to understand how digitisation can add value to the petrochemical supply chain,” recalls Caroline Ciuciu, CEO of EPCA, the European Petrochemical Association. Professor Ann Vereecke and her team, in close collaboration with EPCA, set out to find answers.

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