PhD scholarships with the eLogistics Research Group
About the scholarships
PhD scholarships with the eLogistics Research Group aligned to the ARC Centre for Forest Value are available immediately for suitable candidates with skills in any of the following areas:
- All Engineering disciplines (Software, Electrical, Mechanical, etc);
- Supply chain management specialisations;
- Digital Traceability, Provenance and Authentication Technologies and Services;
- Transport Logistics;
- Information systems, Decision-support Sciences and Business Intelligence Research.
The project opportunities listed below provide an indicative list of research areas for prospective PhD candidates who may be eligible to receive a full PhD scholarship for research directly aligned to any of the sub-projects listed below:
The scholarships cover tuition fees and give a $26,000/year tax free allowance to cover living costs for up-to three and half years. The aim of the research is to support transformation of timber supply chain by enhancing the alignment of electronic information with material flows and transformations in existing and new (engineered wood products) supply chains.
1. Information Management and IT Governance in Forest Industry
2. Investigation of By-Products Characterization from Forestry and Industry
3. Consumer Behaviour and Acceptance of the Timber Products
4. IT-based Tracking of Fibre from the Plant to the Finished Product
5. Uncertainties in the Forest Industries: Procurement, Supply chains and Markets
Application Deadline: 31st December, 2016
Locations: Hobart or Launceston, University of Tasmania, Tasmania, Australia.
Type: Full Scholarship.
For further information: Professor Paul Turner Paul.Turner@utas.edu.au>; Dr Mohammad Taskhiri <Mohammad.Taskhiri@utas.edu.au>
Topic 1. Information Management and IT Integration and Governance in the Forest and
Timber Industries Supply Chains.
Because of resource uncertainties and environmental factors, the governance of value generating networks for renewable resources differs from the traditional governance forms of organizations. The same holds for the governance of inter-organizational systems, which are also widespread in the wood industry and have the potential to improve coordination and
communication between network partners, facilitate knowledge sharing, and increase innovation. However, decision rights and mechanisms must be re-thought in order to ensure desirable behaviour when inter-organizational systems form part of the network (Provan and Kenis 2007). Thus, additional issues must be considered, such as network partner integration,
compatibility of business goals, accountabilities, opportunistic behaviour, and the special characteristics of the wood industry. Thus far, research has paid little attention to this topic, and deeper insights into efficient inter-organizational IT governance structures and mechanisms are therefore necessary.
a: Information requirements for precision logistics along the forest products supply chain
This project will:
- Model information and process flows using Six-Sigma, Lean and Agile principals in the forest products supply chain to identify availability, form and validity of data on products held by different stakeholders,
- Investigate requirements for new information collection, and areas for optimal information integration in the supply chain including the use of existing sensors and information technologies and applications;
- Develop and test an Application Programming Interface (API) using Domain Specific Language and Entity Relationship Diagramming principals for integrating information requirements including those required for the tracking and verification of material properties during transfer along the supply chain.
b: Optimising knowledge transfer in the supply chain
- Enhanced interpretation of highly precise information on specific visual and structural requirements.
- Optimising assessment of relationships between tree and stand dynamics, genetic profile and product traits.
c: Knowledge integration for value chain optimisation
- Evaluate and refine outputs and modelling data interchange protocols for the API to specify optimal ways for supply components to interact with one another.
- Establish business cases for new products generated as a result of precision information logistics.
- Model business risks and develop decision-support tools using Expert System, machine learning, and optimisation and operations research principals, with a focus on structural product manufacturers/engineers.
Topic 4. IT-based tracking of fibre from the plant to the finished product and tracing of fibre from the end product to the plant
The usage of renewable resources has gained in importance over recent years, since they contribute to climate and environmental conservation, to reducing fossil resource usage and to widening the local resource base. In the industrial material utilization of renewable resources, however, their particularities have to be taken into account, e.g., the deviations in quantity, quality, and harvest times of renewable raw materials; the high risks of illegal wood felling and theft; increasing customer demands regarding information on products made from renewable resources; and legal requirements concerning traceability. Current and detailed data on the processes and material flows along the value-generating network can help in managing these particularities. Strict product liability, the rising consumer power, and legal traceability requirements led to the growing significance of identifying the current status and location of an object, such as packaging unit, shipment, specific products (tracking) as well as the ex post reconstruction of the object history (tracing). In order to capture, archive, and communicate the relevant data, tracking and tracing systems (TTS) are implemented. In recent years, research on potential benefits of systems in the food and logistics sectors has been carried out. Such an investigation is, however, still lacking in the area of the forest, and wood industry.
On the one hand, tracking and tracing (T&T) has a high value potential (reduction of intrinsic material-related uncertainties and legal requirements) for networks for the industrial processing of renewable resources but, on the other hand, the deployment of T&T systems pose specific challenges. Examples of preparatory works on this topic can be found in applications of radio frequency identification (RFID)-based traceability systems for agricultural products, as well as case studies on RFID applications in the timber chain (Korten, Kaul, 2008; Sirkka, 2008; Ampatzidis, Vougioukas, 2009). Various of the preparatory works on the RFID topic are devoted to data management issues (Diekmann et al., 2007; Melski et al., 2007), RFID applications of container tracking (Thoroe et al., 2009a; Schmidt et al., 2010), the role of RFID in reverse
logistics processes (Thoroe et al., 2009b; Thoroe et al., 2009a), as well as to the tagging of grain supplies (Steinmeier et al., 2009).
Topic 5. Uncertainties in the Forest Industries: Procurement, Supply chains and Markets
The objective of sustainable management is to establish a long-term balance between theeconomic, environmental, and social impacts of entrepreneurial activities. Especially in the context of supply chains, new planning and coordination challenges arise, such as multiple criteria evaluation and distributed decision-making (Fandel et al. 2014). Extensive research on uncertain multi-criteria optimization began only recently, however, and robust optimization is a new concept that is currently gaining much attention in operations research, in which the uncertainty model is not stochastic, but rather deterministic and set-based (Ben-Tal et al. 2009; Bertsimas and Sim 2004; Ehrgott et al. 2014). Dealing with uncertainty in the yield and quality of the harvest is one of the biggest challenges in using renewable resources in industry.
Production processes in the wood industry are a typical example, where changing quality and quantities influence both production costs and market price.
When renewable raw materials and residues are increasingly used within value chains, new tasks for production planning emerge. Uncertainties in times, quantities, and qualities of delivered raw materials and residues must be taken into account. Although today's production planning and control systems (PPC systems) and supply chain management systems (SCM
systems) already consider uncertainties and fluctuations on the sales side, this issue has barely been covered on the procurement side. This planning data is generally regarded as safe or reliably producible (Günther and Tempelmeier 1994; Kurbel 2015).
In particular, the qualitative and quantitative fluctuations of the material, the uncertain availability of resources, and the combination of these uncertainties cause new challenges for production planning. In more specific, how this planning can be carried out for changing resource batches under consideration of different operational steps, different input quantities, and changing recipes has hardly been examined. How the systems used in this area must be supplemented so that such processes are adequately supported is also barely covered. Thus, comprehensive solutions should be developed and (if possible) evaluated through practical testing or simulations within this topic.
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