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The Navigator for German Chinese Logistics Networks

The Kühne Foundation has decided to finance a research project that aims at supporting managers of logistics networks between Germany and China to successfully plan and reconfigure their businesses. The project, titled “Navigator for German-Chinese Logistics Networks”, is based at The Kühne Foundation Center for International Logistics Networks, as part of the Chair of Logistics (headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Straube) at the Technische Universität Berlin. The project results from many years of successful cooperation between the Kühne Foundation, the Chair for Logistics and the Kuehne Chair of International Logistics Networks and Services at Tongji University Shanghai (headed by Prof. Dr. Sidong Zhang).

The tool

You can reach the tool trough https://navigator.logistik.tu-berlin.de/.

The Navigator for German Chinese Logistics Networks consist of two fundamental building blocks: (1) A logistics data library and (2) The planning tool.

The Logistics Data Library

The Logistics Data Library provides an extensive collection of logistics data relevant to successful logistics planning in China. The library seeks to provide both country and region specific data that may help in evaluating current logistics structure and planning new sourcing and distribution structures. The library will be continuously updated, yet it cannot provide real time data.

The Planning Tool

The planning tool in a freely, publically available, online browser based software that allows supply chain planners to map their supply chains through using nodes (suppliers, customers, DC etc.) and edges (transportation routes and operators). It allows a remote planning of the same project by multiple users. Each user can start new projects and invite other users to do a joint planning. The tool requires the user to enter data regarding location, material flow, volatility and supply chain actors. Besides visualizing existing logistics structures and relevant logistics data, the tool provides relevant logistics planning information regarding challenges in the Chinese market.

How the tool can support logistics planning

The process for optimizing logistics networks as suggested by Prof. Gudehus follows an iterative process derived from physics. It assumes that an optimal solution is unfeasible and thus suggests improving the network through an iterative process of optimizing its subsystems.

The process follows the logic that the logistics network has first to be analyzed, in order for managers to identify the necessary re-design measures. The Navigator for German-Chinese Logistics Networks follows this logic as it first requires practitioners to map the status quo of their supply chain, followed by a structured identification of potential challenges and mitigation strategies. This analysis process is initiated  though an array of provocative questions to the supply chain planner, as well as a framework of valuable planning information collected by the research team over the course of the project.

Through visualizing the status quo of real life logistics networks and asking strategic questions the tool aims at making the supply chain planner critically analyze his network.

Managers will be given the possibility to choose from an array of planning decisions in order to receive valuable information material. The information will be presented in a structured way that is considered a “navigational aid” to supply chain managers, as it provides cross level decision support in prioritizing and selecting network alternatives.

What the tool is not!

The tool is not a strategic optimization tool that automatically adjusts your network to fit an optimal solution. Other software solutions are available on the market taking account for this. This freely available browser based tool has the advantage of being easily accessible from all around the world not requiring any software to be installed on your laptop or PC. Through its design it helps to easily pool knowledge across complicated and sometimes complex network structures.

Anonymity

All information provided online by companies who apply this tool while be treated with complete confidentiality. No data will be published in any from whatsoever.

 

 

 

 

Overall Goal

The final results can be used across companies, branches and boarders to strategically systematize logistics planning and to find and assess innovative logistics solutions. Both countries will benefit from this project, as it supports sustainable economic relationship and welfare.

Participants in the project are highly likely to personally benefit from participation. They will be offered exclusive access to all project results, benefit from exchanges with managers from other industries and are invited to free participation in workshops in Berlin, Germany and Shanghai, China.

The project will also be the basis for a German-Chinese “Living Lab”. The “Living Lab” is our visionary idea of a software supported logistics management facility that helps supply chain managers train, innovate and cooperate together with partners, service providers, technology companies, researchers and politicians to improve their logistics networks.

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