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National University of Singapore and Georgia Institute of Technology launch new Centre for Next Generation Logistics

24 July 2015 | Research
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The Faculty of Engineering at National University of Singapore (NUS Engineering), in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), has launched the Centre for Next Generation Logistics today. The virtual Centre will work closely with government agencies and the industry to perform cutting-edge research in logistics and supply chain systems for translation into innovations and commercialisation to achieve transformative economic and societal impact.

Supply chains are becoming increasingly complex due to factors such as changing freight transport infrastructures, new sources of energy, and new manufacturing and freight transport innovations. The Centre is therefore a timely initiative as Singapore strives to stay at the forefront of supply chain and logistics innovation, especially with the nation 's initiative to develop the Tuas Maritime hub. The Centre will help to identify the potential and existing industries that can bring sustained and high economic growth to Singapore 's economy, as well as to develop innovative logistics and supply chain concepts and infrastructure that will strategically support the activities of these industries.

The Centre will receive S$1.2 million in seed funding from NUS Engineering and Georgia Tech over a two-year period, and it expects to grow from the current staff strength of five full-time researchers to 25 by 2018. The Centre aims to secure additional research funding by actively collaborating with government agencies and industry partners.

For a start, the Centre 's research will focus on two areas:
Pre-competitive, mission-focused knowledge discovery such as models for evaluating the value of information in supply chains; and
Company-specific research for enhanced competitiveness.

The Centre will conduct use-inspired research and has completed three projects with industry partners. The Centre has collaborated with DHL-Singapore, SDV Logistics and ZALORA MARKETPLACE to address the challenges they are facing, which include how to conduct data analysis to improve operation efficiency, a feasibility study of automation technology, and cross border logistics. Please refer to the Annex for more information on these projects.

Associate Professor Lee Loo Hay, Principal Investigator with the Centre and a faculty member with the Department of Industry & Systems Engineering at NUS Engineering, explained, "People are living longer, and the growth of the middle class and their discretionary income continues, especially in Southeast Asia. These changes affect the nature and number of goods manufactured and transported, for example, healthcare products and services and the need for high quality cold supply chains. The rapid embrace of social media, new customer demands, and the challenge of cross-border e-commerce, also results in a greater need for multi-channel logistics, logistics for mass customisation, and anticipatory logistics."

Associate Professor Chew Ek Peng, who is also a Principal Investigator with the Centre and a faculty member with the Department of Industry & Systems Engineering at NUS Engineering, added, "Tomorrow 's competitive landscape will require more intelligent, adaptive, and automated supply chains than today 's supply chains in order to meet speed, costs and flexibility levels. These changes, their increasing pace, and their associated complexities raise enormous challenges and increase the need for new products, processes, and services.

Professor Chelsea C. White III, a faculty member of Georgia Tech who is co-leading the development of the new Centre with NUS Principal Investigators, said, "We are delighted to be collaborating with the National University of Singapore in an area of research and innovation that has such potential societal and economic impact for both our countries. Next Generation technology, data availability, customers, manufacturing innovations, and demographic trends will shape Next Generation logistics and supply chain systems, and it is critical that both nations are leaders in these areas to insure sustainable economic growth and prosperity."

The new Centre will also provide logistics and supply chain systems research opportunities to nurture students who will become members of the next generation supply chain and logistics workforce. In addition, faculty members participating in the research activities of the new centre will contribute towards determining the skill sets that the next generation workforce will need to best support Singapore 's competitive advantage.

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