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PhD candidate in Designing resilient supply chain network

PhD candidate in Designing resilient supply chain network

Eindhoven University of Technology is looking for a PhD candidate with a background in Industrial Engineering, Mathematics, Operations Research, or Econometrics, interested in rigorous research with practical relevance in the area of designing resilient supply chain network.
Position
PhD-student
Department(s)
Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences
FTE
1,0
Date off
15/03/2020
Reference number
V39.4233

Job description

Organization
Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the world's leading research universities (ranked by the Times Higher Education Supplement) and is particularly well known for its joint research with industry (ranked number one worldwide by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies). The Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences (IE&IS) of Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the longest-established engineering schools in Europe, with a strong presence in the international research and education community, especially in the fields of Operations Management and Innovation Management, which are at the core of the undergraduate BSc program. The graduate programs (MSc and PhD) in Operations Management & Logistics and Innovation Management attract top-level students from all over the world. Researchers are member of the Beta research school.

Group
The open position is at the Operations Planning, Accounting & Control group (OPAC). OPAC currently consists of 5 full professors, 5 associate professors, 15 assistant professors, 9 postdoctoral fellows, and 27 PhD candidates. The faculty teaches and conducts research in the area of operations planning and control in manufacturing, maintenance services, logistics and supply chains. Research is generally quantitative in nature, while many of the researchers also engage in empirical research. The OPAC group is responsible within the university for all teaching in the areas of operations management, transportation, manufacturing operations, reliability and maintenance, and accounting and finance, both at undergraduate and graduate level. The OPAC group has an extensive industrial network, which gives direct access to challenging operations management problems, new technologies, and empirical data.

Logistics Community Brabant (LCB)
The position is funded by Logistics Community Brabant (LCB). LCB is the unique place gathering scholars who work and live at the heart of logistics and who are daily engaged in growth, development, and innovation, from both theory and practice. Within LCB, the logistics sector in Brabant is preparing itself for the far-reaching economic changes that are coming. For example, LCB ensures the accelerated exchange of logistics knowledge between companies and knowledge institutions with the support of the government, the Ministry of Defence, students, and professionals. LCB's unique profile is the optimal interface between the business community and knowledge institutions with two goals: accelerated translation of knowledge into the business community and impulses for logistics education and research into the knowledge institutions. Towards this end, LCB offers (pro-actively) attractive knowledge products, such as knowledge maintenance contracts, educational partnerships and fresh brains tailored to the needs of the companies. LCB is managed as a real company and supported by the new and unique collaboration between the knowledge institutions of the Noord-Brabant region. The result is accelerated innovation, particularly in the areas of digital transformation, sustainability, circular economy, and omni-channel, for both business models for companies and scientific and practical research for knowledge institutions. In this way, the competitiveness of the logistics sector, the municipality of Breda, and the Noord-Brabant region as a whole, can be strengthened in a sustainable manner, which leads to extra turnover and jobs. For the knowledge institutions, LCB increases the possibilities for scientific and practical research. In time, Brabant region could become the smartest logistics region with a central hub function in Breda, with the ambition of becoming the number one logistics knowledge region in the world.

Two of the themes related to this position are:

  • Last mile logistics: this theme has been in high priority on the agenda for years because of the silting up of cities and the increasing pressure from urban distribution. E-commerce and 'Final mile' discussions are then topical. Social developments have greatly increased the acceptance of sustainable solutions. LCB wants to experiment, initiate, and promote innovations
  • Network complexity and contracting: acceleration within the chains, shortening of the product life cycle, customizing, and vulnerability within the chains (disruption) result in increased complexity. The focus is increasingly on connecting information in order to be able to predict the needs of the market and to ensure that production responds appropriately to these needs. A good example are the S&OP (Sales & Operations Planning) stock forecast processes.

PhD project
This project focuses on designing a smart supply chain network consisting of multiple stakeholders whose goal is to have the cheapest total cost such that the demand is satisfied. The stakeholders can be suppliers, warehouses, manufacturers, retailers, etc. To design a network, the stakeholders decide on the locations and capacities of nodes as well as positions and capacities of edges, which connect nodes together. After the construction, the flows in the network is controlled by the stakeholders to fulfill its particular purpose.

The total cost incurred to the stakeholders consist of the network construction cost and the costs of reacting to the impacts caused by disruptions. The disruptions can be any event that affects the performance of the supply chain, including technological failure in a node, bankruptcy of a stakeholder, natural disasters, etc. The impacts of such disruptions can be temporary/permanently reductions in the capacities of edges and/or nodes. To minimize the total cost, the stakeholders needs to make the design decisions and establish the reacting policies inseparably. The aim of the project is to provide a mathematical framework for designing supply chain networks that resist “minor” impacts and react to “major” impacts. Such networks are called resilient networks.

As it is not possible to predict the disruptions, Robust Optimization mindset is considered for this project, where the decisions are made based on immunization against the worst-case scenario. The main challenge that is faced in this project is the scalability of the developed optimization problems, as the supply chain networks are extremely complicated. In this project, answers to the question of how robust optimization would help us to provide insightful decisions to stakeholders to reduce the effect of disruptions to the supply chain networks are provided.

Next to the network complexity, there is another challenge faced by  stakeholders. The challenge is dealing with cascading effect of the disruptions. A disruption in a node or an edge may result in a production disruption, which results in delays in satisfying the demands or profit loss. Therefore, it is crucial for stakeholders to deal with disruptions not only because of the direct consequences, but also due to the second-order, third-order, ... effects of the disruptions, which are called indirect consequences. So, formulating the dependencies between the direct and indirect consequences mathematically, and use it in developing the optimization model is another challenge in this project. After the mathematical formulation, algorithms need to be developed to handle the new optimization problems. 

Job Description
You, as a successful applicant, will perform the PhD project outlined above in an international team and in close collaboration with industry. The research will be concluded with a PhD thesis. You will be supervised by dr. Ahmadreza Marandi and prof.dr. Ton de Kok. A small teaching load is part of the job.

Job requirements

You have:

  • A Master's degree in Operations Research, Econometrics, Industrial Engineering, Operations Management, Applied Mathematics, or a related field.
  • Strong interest in interdisciplinary research, as well as collaboration with industry.
  • Strong analytical and mathematical skills and demonstrated competence for quantitative modeling.
  • Potential and ambition to become a top-level management scholar.
  • The ability to work on a challenging topic that has both fundamental and applied research aspects.
  • Proven excellent verbal and written communication skills, as is your proficiency in English and your ability to collaborate in an international setting.

Conditions of employment

We offer:

  • A challenging job in a dynamic and ambitious university.
  • A PhD appointment for a period of 4 years.
  • A gross monthly salary of €2.325,- in the first year up to €2.972,- (gross) in the fourth year on a full-time basis.
  • A yearly holiday allowance of 8% and 8.3% end of year allowance.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits (including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, savings schemes, coverage of costs of publishing the dissertation and excellent sports facilities).

Information and application

Information
More information about the job itself can be obtained from prof.dr. Ton de Kok at a.g.d.kok[at]tue.nl. Information about terms of employment can be obtained from Mrs. Susan Opgenoorth, HR advisor, at pz.ieis[at]tue.nl

Application
Your application must contain the following documents (all in English):

  • Cover letter (2 page max), which includes a motivation of your interest in the vacancy and an explanation of why you would fit well for the project.
  • Detailed curriculum vitae.
  • List of courses you have taken in Master’s and Bachelor’s programs (including grades).
  • Results of a recent English language test, or other evidence of your English language capabilities (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.).
  • Name and contact information of two references.

The deadline for applications is 15 March 2020. However, if you are interested, we invite you to apply as soon possible. Selection will begin immediately and continue until the position has been filled.

Please use the apply "now button" and do not send us applications by e-mail. Note that you will have to combine all documents to 1 document before you can upload it.