With supply chains now spanning the globe, it makes sense that supply chain research should, too. That's one reason why the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Transportation and Logistics (MIT-CTL) has joined forces with the Zaragoza Logistics Center in Zaragoza, Spain, and the Center for Latin American Logistics Innovation in Bogotá, Colombia.
Called the MIT Global SCALE (Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence) Network, the new partnership will provide a platform for collaboration on research related to supply chain and logistics innovation. Among other topics, researchers will be investigating infrastructure similarities and differences on the three continents, health care delivery in developing regions, and carbon-efficient supply chains. MIT has been working with Zaragoza since 2003. The partnership with the center in Bogotá was launched in January.
At a press conference announcing the venture, MIT-CTL Director Yossi Sheffi said he expects that the network will provide opportunities for student exchanges. He also believes that the venture will help create a rigorous supply chain management curriculum that will focus not only on high-level executives but also on the skills needed for effective transportation and warehouse management.
MIT would like to expand the network, possibly establishing centers in Africa, India, or China. Sheffi is especially interested in extending the network to Africa, seeing a real need to spread logistics expertise on that continent. As an example, he points to the work that MIT is doing in conjunction with Harvard Medical School on studying the distribution of medicine in Africa. "The problem is not a medical problem. It's not a money problem," he said. "Only 7 to 8 percent of medicines get to the people who need them. It's a logistics problem."