2015

The following were the official Spring 2015 topics.

Topic Supervisor
Business Continuity Management and Supply Chain Risk Management in European Production Companies
Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) is an accepted strategic instrument to reduce negative effects of supply chain disturbances and disruptions in European production companies. Business Continuity Management (BCM) is a rather operative instrument that aims at the fast recovery after the disruption of production processes or a supply chain disruption (e.g. by means of emergency plans, communication teams etc.). Lately, more and more production companies introduce BCM to prepare for unforeseen incidents and increase the level of resilience. This thesis shows the status of BCM and SCRM in European production companies.
Prof. Dr. oec. Julia Bendul
Start Ups & Entrepreneurs in Logistics
Everyday logisticians seek for the optimization of transport routes, the optimal supply chain design, lean processes and high performance. However, innovation means turning an idea into a successful business model: in the last few years, many startup companies and entrepreneurs in the field of logistics brought their ideas to life by founding their own companies. These service innovations range from 3D printing of spare parts, to mobile applications for logistics, decentralized parcel boxes, crowdsourcing, advanced satellite-based tracking and tracing solutions, and same day delivery-services. At the German Logistics Conference in Berlin 2014, an expert forum was dedicated to the this topic: Scandit AG, Switzerland, tiramizoo GmbH, Germany, BringBee | PolyPort GmbH, Switzerland and Returbo.de | Arena RKD GmbH, Germany are some examples of successful and innovative business models in the field of logsitics.
Prof. Dr. oec. Julia Bendul
Business Continuity Management in SME
Business Continuity Management (BCM) is an operative instrument that aims the fast recovery after the disruption of production processes or a supply chain disruption (e.g. by means of emergency plans, communication teams etc.). Lately, more and more production companies introduce BCM to prepare for unforeseen incidents and increase the level of resilience. However, the concept was developed for rather big companies and complex supply chains. Nevertheless, the European and in particular the German economy is characterized by a great share of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These SMEs are important players in global supply chains and thus the concept of BCM gains importance.
The student is expected to carry out a profound literature review on the topic of BCM and to analyze existing studies and surveys with regard to the application of the concept in SME. The student is expected to develop criteria (based on a literature review) to evaluate the applicability of the BCM concept for SME. It is the goal of the thesis to describe prerequisites and necessary changes of the concept to enable or to improve the application in an SME context. Therefore, a set of 3-4 expert interviews can be carried out (support with identification and contact of these interview partners will be provided).
Prof. Dr. oec. Julia Bendul
Mobile Production – Chances, Challenges and Limits
New, additive production technologies, such as 3D-Printing and laser sintering, will change the character of production. In future, the additive production technologies are expected to replace existing technologies, that often require heavy and immobile production facilities. The ongoing globalization with dynamic markets forces production companies to constantly improve efficiency to keep production costs low. Outsourcing and global production are common instruments to reduce production costs. Thereby, it can be observed that production facilities move from one region to the next and from one country to the next. For instance, the automotive supplier industry has moved production locations from Middle Europe to Eastern Europe and from there to Asia and to North Africa. The fashion industry focuses on Asia, but moves factories from traditional production countries, such as Bangladesh, to re-arising countries such as Myanmar. Mobility appears to be a core characteristic of these production facilities.
The student is expected to analyze the meaning of mobility of production facilities in the background of new production technologies and increasing global competition. Based on literature, different production resources (such as machines, personnel, know how, logistics system etc.) will be identified and analyzed with regard to mobility and the specific importance for corporate success.
There is a limited amount of literature available for the specific topic of mobility in and of production systems. Thus the student to carry out the project has a larger degree of freedom and scope for development of the topic. For instance, focussing on a specific industry is possible. A high level of creativity and abstract thinking is required – however, the increased level of difficulty will be considered for evaluation and grading. Depending on the findings, a conference publication (and visit) can be one outcome of the thesis project.
Prof. Dr. oec. Julia Bendul
Reverse innovation and frugal innovation as new strategic innovation and business model concepts
Reverse innovation as well as frugal innovation are new concepts for producing and offering products and services worldwide. Reverse innovation are products, services or product-service systems mainly provided in the developing countries and markets first before launching in the industrialized countries and markets. Frugal innovation is a set of processes to reduce the complexity, production and costs of products or services or their combination.
The thesis aims at analyzing, systemizing and comparing the current discussions of reverse and frugal innovation in strategic and innovation management literature on the one hand. On the other hand, the thesis should make obvious how the concept of a sustainable development is part of these new concepts. So, this thesis aims to provide a good status of frugal and reverse innovation in theory and practice on the basis of desktop research and paper analysis. The student is expected to carry out a profound literature review on both topics and to analyze existing studies and surveys in these research topics. Additionally, the thesis should highlight sustainability options related to these two concepts.
Prof. Dr. oec. Julia Bendul, M.Sc. Eugenia Rosca
Development of Mobile Application for Transport Damage Identification in Automotive Transport (min. two thesis projects):February – May
In close cooperation with an industry partner and the workgroup Production and Logistics Networks, a mobile application (IOS) will be developed. The students are expected to support the content-related development of transport damage identification on a car transshipment terminal and to carry out the transformation of the ideas in form of a mobile application. One student is expected to focus on the conception of the identification process, in terms of applicability in practice and the quality criteria provided by industry. The other student is expected to develop the mobile application with regard to this concept and with focus on the applicability in practice.
This project requires intense identification with the topic and close cooperation with the industry partner and the Research Associates of the workgroup. Depending on the qualification and time capacity of the students an employment as students assistant or as intern is possible.
Prof. Dr. oec. Julia Bendul
Collaboration between logistic service providers and their customers
Logistics service providers (LSP) are confronted with growing demand for increasingly complex coordinating and strategic tasks. Several LSP are offering contract logistics activities or even 4PL activities. These complex strategic tasks require close collaboration between LSP and their customers. Close collaboration between partners often develops over time. Contrary to long-term relationship development, customers of LSP prefer short-term contracts, for example over a period of three years.
How can collaboration be established given the described framework conditions? Which structures and/or abilities are necessary? (Can a concept like “simultaneous engineering” (used in the field of product development) be applied to the field of contract logistics?)
The student is not expected to answer all the above questions. The student can start with identifying relevant literature and defining the research gap. Furthermore, interviews with LSP may be an appropriate method to define and describe the paradox and to identify ways to solve it.
M.Sc. Marie Brüning
An Optimal Approach for Determining Transport Risk Clusters
Transport insurers rely on various techniques to determine appropriate insurance premiums for their customers. Frequently employed approaches from data mining include classification decision trees and more sophisticated cluster analyses. The aim in clustering is to identify homogeneous subsets from a heterogeneous sample, i.e. finding groups of similar objects. While the benefit of clustering methods is that labels of groups do not need to be known a priori, a cluster algorithm needs to know when to stop identifying additional subgroups. While methods and equations exist to determine a number of clusters for a given data set, approaches optimised for determining a practical amount of clusters for an insurance application are sparse. The question arises of how to set an appropriate number of risk clusters under the consideration of practical issues. The aim of this research is to synthesise latest clustering methods and research from the insurance sector to provide a practical recommendation to global insurers from the transport sector.
M.Sc. Victor Vican
Trends in logistics: All topics as from now – May or August
The following topics were identified as latest logistic trends in a future study published by DHL in 2013. If you are interested in one of the topics, feel free to start your own research and come up with a one-pager including the methodology you want to apply to elaborate chances, obstacles and application fields for these trends and approaches.
The DHL Trend Radar can serve as a starting point for your research, where you will find more information on each of the topics.
Crowd Logistics
This includes crowdsourcing first-and-last-mile activities, using employee tweets for flexible re-routing, and using social network mining as a trigger for new products, significantly impacting costs, flexibility, and CO2 efficiency. Sample use cases: MyWays, polyport.ch
Fair Logistics
In the future, dealing thoughtfully with Earth’s limited resources will go hand-in-hand with fair and respectful human interaction, and sustainable investment in regional empowerment. Sample use cases: VillageReach, TheLogisticsProject, Matternet Flying Parcels
Supergrid logistics
Supergrid logistics will bring up a new generation of logistics companies whose primary focus is the orchestration of global supply-chain networks that integrate production enterprises and logistics providers. Sample use cases: LOGICAL, InterLogGrid
Share economy logistics
A new sharing culture leads to new logistics needs within the digitalized neighborhood. Logistics infrastructure and service sharing with coopetitors could also open up new business perspectives. Sample use cases: LifeCycler.de, Craigslist.org, Sharedload.com
Near and x-shoring
Following the offshoring trend of the last decade, changing economic and social conditions will bring up new sourcing strategies such as near-shoring, re-shoring, back-shoring, and even x-shoring. Sample use cases: The Global Intelligence Group: Nearshoring
Impact of technology on LSPs
Impact of current technology trends on traditional logistics service providers (for example, how will 3D printing affect the way traditional transportation companies operate? How will drones affect the way traditional transportation companies operate?)
Impact of new city logistics concepts on the way traditional logistics service providers operate
Further topics that can serve as starting points for your own thesis idea:
▪ Gender Issues in Logistics
▪ Marketing for Small- and Medium-sized Logistics Service Providers
▪ Same-day delivery – Chances, Opportunities and Limits
▪ Supply Chain Disruption Recovery
▪ Big Data and Data MiningYou can change the topic in a way that you like, feel free to come up with you own ideas!
Prof. Dr. oec. Julia Bendul

Bachelor Topics

Topic Supervisor
Synchronization of Logistics Systems – Development of a Simulation Model of a Production System in Order to Derive the Optimal Level of Synchronization
Synchronization in a broader sense means aligning a certain behavior or state over time. In the physical world, two systems can spontaneously synchronize with respect to each other even if there are only small physical interactions. Up to now it is not fully understood how synchronization affects logistics systems: Does a spontaneous synchronization also occur in complex logistics systems? If so, how does it influence the achievement of the logistics objectives and the robustness of the processes?Your task is to develop a simulation model for a manufacturing system. The model will be used to measure the emerging synchronization in the system and to examine the relation between synchronization and the system’s core characteristics (e.g., design, structure, operations and control strategy). Further, the simulation model should also monitor the link between synchronization and the logistics system’s performance (e.g. lateness, capacity utilization) and robustness (e.g., deviations in performance due to system disturbances). The simulation model should be discrete-event and it can be developed in Tecnomatrix Plant Simulation. A good starting point is Becker et al. (2013) and Chankov et al. (2014).
M.Phil. Stanislav Chankov
Synchronization of Logistics Systems – Development of Minimal Models of Logistics Systems in Order to Study Synchronization Phenomena
Synchronization in a broader sense means aligning a certain behavior or state over time. In the physical world, two systems can spontaneously synchronize with respect to each other even if there are only small physical interactions. Up to now it is not fully understood how synchronization affects logistics systems: Does a spontaneous synchronization also occur in complex logistics systems? If so, how does it influence the achievement of the logistics objectives and the robustness of the processes?Your task is to develop minimal models for logistics system. The models will be used to measure the emerging synchronization in the systems and to examine the relation between synchronization and the system’s core characteristics (e.g., design, structure, operations and control strategy). A good starting point is Becker et al. (2013) and Chankov et al. (2014).
M.Phil. Stanislav Chankov
Case study: Evaluation of Lead Time Syndrome (LTS) effects in practice
In practice planned lead times have to be set in Production Planning and Control systems to obtain and maintain high system performance. If planners set planned lead times based on their gut feeling it is unlikely that they determine an optimal value. This leads in theory to the LTS with long and erratic lead times.
This thesis project focuses on the evaluation and observation of LTS effects in a real manufacturing system after planned lead time adjustments. Hence, it has to be investigated whether the effects of the LTS can be observed and lead to a reduction in system performance. For this purpose a data set of a manufacturing company has to be analyzed in detail.
Dr. Mathias Knollmann
Supply Chain Innovations in the Context of Frugal Products
Frugal innovation refers to products and services which are developed in resource-constrained environments for the emerging markets. There are numerous examples of frugal products launched on the market, e.g. water purifier, refrigerator, ultrasound machine. Designing, producing and delivering such products is a big challenge for the Western corporations. This thesis aims to analyze different supply chain innovations in regards to frugal products by adopting a cross-case approach. In other words, the student has to perform a literature review and develop an analytic framework which will serve as the basis for the analysis of the selected cases.
M.Sc. Eugenia Rosca
Lean and Green: How can Logistics Service Providers use lean management to green their supply chains
The literature has identified a synergistic relationship between lean management and green practice, especially for manufacturing companies. This thesis aims to identify potential synergies between lean and green management for Logistics Services Providers (LSP). The student will perform a literature review on the synergies between lean and green in various industries and on the characteristics of LSP, including their value chains, then will develop propositions about the lean and green synergies for LSP.
M.Sc. Eugenia Rosca
Sustainability Indicators for Development Projects
International development projects aim at alleviating poverty and improving living conditions of people in developing countries. A large number of development projects have been reported to fail in the long-run. This thesis aims to develop suitable indicators for the sustainability of the development projects. The student will perform an extensive literature review on sustainability indicators from other fields and investigate which indicators could be transferred to development projects. More information on several cases or even contacts for interview may be provided.
M.Sc. Eugenia Rosca

Master Topics

TopicSupervisor

Distributed Scheduling on Mixed Graphs
Mixed Graphs are a frequently used mean to represent scheduling problems. They can also serve as a “playground” for distributed methods in Production Planning and Control (PPC) and in that capacity be extended to a form of Discrete Event Simulation. Over the course of this thesis project, you will program a mixed graph representation in a general-purpose programming language (GPPL) of your choice and implement and compare the performance of two scheduling methods.What you will need to succeed: Knowledge in object-oriented programming and a GPPL, Statistics Basics.
Dipl.-Logist., MSIE (USA) Henning Blunck
Risk management – Supply networks vs. Electricity networks
Supply chain disruptions may happen at any time and at any place. For example, a fire at a supplier may have devastating effects along the supply chain. Companies try to establish risk reducing strategies, for example multiple sourcing or excess inventories.
Although electricity networks have different characteristics, risk management is a crucial topic as well (i.e. minimizing power outages). In this field, different forms of redundancies are utilized as well.
The student’s task is to review and analyze literature on risk management in both fields – supply chain management and electricity networks. Differences between the networks’ characteristics need to be identified. The main goal of the thesis is to identify the different risk reducing strategies in the two fields and to make conclusions about the transferability of one field to the other. For instance, can supply chain risk managers learn something from the risk reducing strategies used in electricity networks?
M.Sc. Marie Brüning
Human Behavior in the scope of the Lead Time Syndrome (LTS) of Manufacturing Control
In practice planned lead times have to be set in Production Planning and Control systems to obtain and maintain high system performance. If planners set planned lead times based on their gut feeling it is unlikely that they determine an optimal value. This leads in theory to the LTS with long and erratic lead times.
This thesis project focuses on human behavior, as the LTS is triggered by overreactions or misinterpretations of planners. In particular, cognitive biases lead to wrong decisions of planners. In this regard research results from psychology and literature have to be transferred into the context of the emergence of the LTS.
Dr. Mathias Knollmann
Development of a potential visualizer to avoid the Lead Time Syndrome (LTS) of Manufacturing Control
In practice planned lead times have to be set in Production Planning and Control systems to obtain and maintain high system performance. If planners set planned lead times based on their gut feeling it is unlikely that they determine an optimal value. This leads in theory to the LTS with long and erratic lead times.
This thesis project focuses on the development of a first approach of a potential visualizer to avoid the LTS in practice. The visualizer components have to be derived from the previous research on the LTS and from the current developments in logistics theory.
Dr. Mathias Knollmann
Reverse innovation and frugal innovation as new strategic innovation and business model concepts
Reverse innovation as well as frugal innovation are new concepts for producing and offering products and services worldwide. Reverse innovation are products, services or product-service systems mainly provided in the developing countries and markets first before launching in the industrialized countries and markets. Frugal innovation is a set of processes to reduce the complexity, production and costs of products or services or their combination.
The thesis aims at analyzing, systemizing and comparing the current discussions of reverse and frugal innovation in strategic and innovation management literature on the one hand. On the other hand, the thesis should make obvious how the concept of a sustainable development is part of these new concepts. So, this thesis aims to provide a good status of frugal and reverse innovation in theory and practice on the basis of desktop research and paper analysis. The student is expected to carry out a profound literature review on both topics and to analyze existing studies and surveys in these research topics. Additionally, the thesis should highlight sustainability options related to these two concepts.
Prof. Dr. oec. Julia Bendul, M.Sc. Eugenia Rosca