A leading figure from the World Economic Forum has hailed the expertise of the University of Hull’s Logistics Institute, which is working on a prestigious study aimed at leveraging digital connectivity to improve how the world trades.
Wolfgang Lehmacher, Director of Supply Chain and Transport Industries for the Forum, visited the University to meet with academics, researchers and students who are working on the project.
The Forum is the world’s leading organisation for public-private cooperation to shape global, regional, national and industry agendas and is best known for its annual winter meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which brings together a broad range of stakeholders, including heads of state and leaders of global businesses to address the most pressing issues facing the world.
The Forum has selected the Logistics Institute as academic partner to conduct research and analysis of case studies of cutting-edge applications of digital technology in the supply chain and logistics industries.
The Logistics Institute began working on the project, “Moving a Connected World”, earlier this year and it is due to conclude next summer. Initiated by one of Forum’s global think tanks, the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Logistics and Supply Chain, the study is exploring the impact and opportunities resulting from:
• The Internet, which allows global movement of data and information;
• The Internet of Things (devices and sensors connected to the Internet), which captures data to inform supply chain operators;
• Cloud computing, which allows almost unlimited data storage and computing power.
It is hoped the results of the study will influence governments and major corporations to innovate and improve how goods and products move around the world.
Mr Lehmacher said: “The University of Hull has a centre for logistics which is dedicated to understanding better developments in specific areas, such as geography and technology, and we felt this was a very good fit with the requirements of the project.
“In addition, the University is oriented towards multi-stakeholder research, which is very well aligned with the World Economic Forum as an organisation that promotes public and private sector collaboration.
“The University has a very important role to play in contributing to the development of the logistics industry and aggregating the knowledge to have a broad understanding of the supply chain eco-system.
“I am impressed by the dynamic of the team and the quality of the faculty. Therefore, I am not surprised that, in certain fields, Hull is a leading university in the UK.
“The University is supporting this project, by developing a framework to analyse case studies provided by the leading players in the industry and helping us to drive recommendations for the public and private sectors in respect to how best to leverage the new technologies. I am confident about the outcomes of this project.”
Director of the Logistics Institute, Professor Amar Ramudhin, said: “It is highly important and valuable for the visibility and strategic positioning of the University and the Logistics Institute to be associated with the World Economic Forum. We had no hesitation in investing our resources and aligning our agenda to carry out this work.
“Wolfgang wanted to come to Hull to discuss the progress of the project and also to find out more about the University and our key competencies, to understand how we could work together in the future, in either the same area or connected areas, and develop the partnership further.”
Project team member Dumal Welikala works for the Logistics Institute as a Researcher in Web Development and Data Analytics, having recently graduated from the University with a BSc in Computer Science.
He said: “The learning curve is very steep, but it is great to be involved in this study and you really feel you are playing a significant part in it.
“I feel incredibly proud to be working with industry leaders on a project which is aimed, ultimately, at improving how the world works.”
Paul Sheehan, who is working as an Intern Logistics and Supply Chain Anlayst while studying for a Masters degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, is also part of the team for the World Economic Forum study.
He said: “The Logistics Institute is a place where academia and business meets. Because of that it presents great opportunities to develop your knowledge and be exposed to organisations and individuals at very high levels.”