Koç - IBM Supply Chain Research Center



   We concentrate of research effort to develop models and solution algorithm with the objective of establishing sustainable supply chain and logistics systems. Our effort had been recognized by IBM Corporation. Koç University became the first Turkish university to be awarded the IBM Shared University Research Award that is offered annually to a limited number of universities world-wide to promote projects on the frontiers of science and technology. The project proposed by Industrial Engineering faculty member Assoc. Prof. Metin Türkay on Innovation in Supply Chain is the only recipient of this prestigious award in Turkey. In addition, Koç-IBM Supply Chain Research Center will be established in the College of Engineering for future research projects coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Metin Türkay and Asst. Prof. Sibel Salman with IBM Turk University Relations Manager Jale Akyel.

   Supply chain management is the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the operations of the complex supply chain network that includes suppliers, production centers, distribution centers, retailers and customers with the purpose to satisfy customer requirements as efficiently as possible. Supply chain management includes the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing, procurement, and logistics management activities as well as the coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers.

Figure 1 - Supply Chain Systems with Financial and Environmental Factors

  The main objective of such supply chain systems has been to satisfy the demand by the customer for maximizing the financial gain by the operation of the supply chain. The financial concerns primarily include: the cost of raw material purchasing from the supplies, the production cost at the production/manufacturing centers, the inventory and material handling costs at the distribution centers, the cost of customer service at the retailers and the revenue generated by the customers that covers all of the costs and profits of the nodes in the supply chain network, and the cost of transportation incurred by the movement of material/goods throughout the supply chain system as shown in Figure 1.

An efficient and responsive supply chain system needs to include environmental and social considerations for sustainability. The environmental performance of supply chain and logistics systems can be achieved by focusing on better management of resources available in the supply chain. The quality of raw materials has significant effects on the environmental performance of the supply chain systems. Raw materials contain impurities that may be harmful to the environment. The production systems usually generate waste in gaseous, liquid or solid. Although some of this waste is treated, majority of the waste is released to the environment. The storage and material handling systems at the distribution centers generate environmentally harmful substances during their operation. The retailers usually sell the products in packages that are attractive to the customers. Majority of the packaging material usually ends up in nature without properly being recycled or treated in waste disposal facilities. The customer generates waste after consuming the products. The waste from the product is usually harmful to the environment. The transportation system also generates environmentally harmful substances through emissions from the vehicles in the system. Social aspects of supply chain systems include generation of value and distribution of this value to different segments of the population, minimizing the risks of operations to the population and responding to disasters effectively and on a timely manner. We can achieve sustainability of supply chain systems by integrating financial, environmental and social objectives seamlessly.

   We examine the environmental issues in supply chain and logistics systems in three categories:
1. Product centric approaches (closed loop supply chains),
2. Production system centric approaches (environmentally conscious production),
3. Transportation system centric approaches (sustainable transportation).

   The product centric approaches focus on the design of the product for minimizing the use of environmentally harmful materials in the product and the recovery and reuse of the product after it has been consumed by the end user. The objective in the product centric approaches is to eliminate the product becoming a waste after the product is completed its life time. These approaches include closed loop supply chains where the product is recovered for reuse/recycle and reverse logistics that includes the planning of the logistics infrastructure of the products.

   The production system centric approaches consider the selection of raw materials and the design of the production systems for minimizing the environmental impact. The objective of the production system centric approaches is to design the production system so that the production system is flexible enough to eliminate or reduce the generation of waste. One of the mechanisms is the use of different raw materials. Other mechanisms include changing the configuration of the equipment or the operating conditions of the process system to reduce generation of waste.

   Transportation centric approaches consider the use of different transportation systems that would reduce the environmental effects. For example, whenever possible using rail or sea transportation could reduce the emission of Green House Gases. Another aspect of transportation centric approaches is the humanitarian logistics. Disasters, either natural or man-made, pose significant threats to societies. They have the potential to cause severe human and economic loss, and to disrupt the day-to-day activities of humans by crippling the functionality of critical infrastructures and service systems. These infrastructures include habitats, industrial structures, and engineering lifelines such as transportation networks, power systems, water networks, and communication networks. The essential service systems affected may include among others the medical services, food and consumer product distribution networks, financial markets, and mail delivery. The functionality of infrastructure networks is critical for effective disaster mitigation and response. While these networks are vulnerable to failure under natural or man-made disasters, their vulnerability can be reduced by engineering activities that enhance their components structurally leading to higher survival probabilities.

   The goal of the Supply Chain Research Center is to develop novel approaches to supply chain management and logistics that include consideration of sustainability and humanitarian aspects in addition to traditional financial considerations. The modeling approaches and solution algorithms developed in the center will be applied in a number of projects to determine their feasibility and potential benefits. In addition, one of the activities of the center is to prepare new course contents that will be taught at universities world-wide to promote this approach to sustainability. Currently, the sustainability and humanitarian aspects of supply chain management and logistics is being applied on four different projects with the participation of undergraduate and graduate students as well as doctoral candidates. The details about these projects can be found in Projects section.

Openning Speech of IBM Supply Chain Research Center by Metin Türkay - PDF - TR


 Koç Üniversitesi, Rumelifeneri Yolu 34450 Sarıyer İstanbul
Tel: 0212 338 26 48
Genel sorular için e-mail: mturkay@ku.edu.tr