Leadership and Policy Seminar Series

Established in 2003, the ITLS Leadership and Policy Seminar Series benefits from leading national and international experts (CEOs, Visiting Professors etc) speaking on topical transport and logistics issues relevant to business and academia. The seminar series attracts a broad audience from industry, government and academia as well as our own faculty and research students. Seminars are usually one hour long including the presentation and time for Q&A.

Our seminar convenor is Professor Rico Merkert, Chair in Transport and Supply Chain Management, and Dr Jyoti Bhattacharjya. As seminars are confirmed details are listed below.

Seminars are normally held fortnightly on Tuesdays, between March and November (with a break in July), from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Please check the venue details listed under each seminar.

Invitations are sent to our mailing list at least one week in advance. Seminars are free, however, an RSVP is required, so please respond to the seminar invitation.


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Date: 28th Nov 2017 02:00 pm

Speaker: Professor Stephane Hess, ITS, The University of Leeds

Topic: Cassandra curse for modellers: making true predictions and getting people to listen to them

Venue: Abercrombie Building (H70) Level 5 - Room 5040 , Corner Abercrombie Street and Codrington Street, The University of Sydney

Stephane Hess

Abstract: Cassandra curse for modellers: making true predictions and getting people to listen to them

Predicting the future is a difficult task, but has always been a fundamental purpose of travel behaviour modelling. The last two decades have seen modellers, especially in academia, shift their efforts away from forecasting towards only modelling and understanding current behaviour. Obvious causes that can be pointed to are the growing reliance on stated preference data and the simple fact that forecasting is more difficult than just modelling the status quo, and harder to validate. A more cynical view is that the modelling community may feel that their predictions are likely to produce inconvenient truths to policy makers that are easy to disregard as “incorrect”. This talk asks the question of a) whether we can predict the future, b) how we can validate our forecasts and c) how we can make policy makers accept forecasts even if they put in doubt their favourite pet projects.

Bio: Stephane Hess is Professor of Choice Modelling in the Institute for Transport Studies and Director of the Choice Modelling Centre at the University of Leeds. He is also Honorary Professor in Choice Modelling in the Institute for Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney and has a director position at RSG, a leading North American consultancy company. His area of work is the analysis of human decision using advanced discrete choice models, and he is active in the fields of transport, health and environmental economics. Hess has made contributions to the state of the art in the specification, estimation and interpretation of such models, notably in a valuation of travel time context, where has led the modelling on the most recent UK, German and Singaporean national studies, as well as the reestimation of the Swiss study. He has also published over 100 peer reviewed journal papers across different fields, and his contributions have been recognised by a number of major international awards. He is also the founding editor in chief of the Journal of Choice Modelling and the founder and steering committee chair of the International Choice Modelling Conference.

Date: 12th Dec 2017 02:00 pm

Speaker: John Allen, Director, Horizon Inventory

Topic: Does Santa Claus really have such a difficult job?

Venue: ABS Case Study Lecture Theatre 1170, Abercrombie Building (H70)

John Allen

Abstract: One might think that Santa Claus really does have to address some major challenges each year. After all he has to make deliveries to every child all around the world in under 24 hours. But if we think about it, maybe it is not that hard. After all Santa knows exactly when all the deliveries have to be made, exactly where, his 'customers' will be (all tucked up in their beds) and exactly what is to be delivered as the boys and girls send in written requests weeks before Christmas. Sure it is a bit of a delivery challenge, but Santa also has 364 days to prepare for what is really a build and deliver to order business.

Contrast that with the logistical challenges when the boys and girls break their toys. Then you don't know which toys or parts will break, when they will break or where they will be needed. You do however know that the favourite toys do need to be fixed fast, or there will be tears. Now that is a challenge!

This presentation will explore the many challenges found in the aftermarket. For example businesses operating in the automotive aftermarket and industrial spare parts sectors have tens of thousands of SKUs, even up to a million, spread across tens even hundreds of branches. Given the size of the Australian market it is not uncommon for a third to a half of often slow moving spare parts to have Minimum Order Quantities that requires years of stock to be ordered, often on long lead times from overseas.

Some people suggest that better forecasts are needed, but often the real question is not how fast a part is being used, but rather should we stock one or two pieces or perhaps none at all. We will explore how you can use stock optimisation to make better decisions, and how to drive decisions across thousands and thousands of parts through policy settings. We will also explore how techniques such as Dynamic Supply Chain Reconfiguration (potentially a different supply chain for every item), Cross Dock Optimisation, continuous Excess Recognition and Movement and automatic Alternative Supplier selection can substantially reduce the scale of the inventory and supply challenges in the aftermarket. This can lead to better service levels, reduced obsolescence and better returns on inventory investment.

So have some sympathy for Santa. Yes he does have some challenges for one night each year but managing the aftermarket supply chain for the rest of the year can be much more challenging. Maybe if you ask the right questions, this Christmas can position you for much better answers in 2018.

Bio: John Allen is a Director of Horizon Inventory, a company specialising in delivering inventory management solutions to the aftermarket sector. Horizon's clients have large numbers of warehouses SKU ranges, with 80+% of parts usually turning over very slowly. Horizon Inventory are at the forefront of producing world leading solutions to many of the challenges faced by aftermarket companies and organisations.

John's background includes time in I.T. and Operations Research at Mount Isa Mines, a varied career in IBM, including senior management roles, and twenty years in his own consulting business. Over the last ten years he and the Horizon team have delivered highly innovative inventory management solutions that start with properly understanding the problems and opportunities and embrace creativity, drive and the wide eyed wonder of imagination, the kind we all had when Santa placed our presents at the foot of the tree.