Kuehne Logistics University

Master of Science in Global Logistics | Part 4


Sören · 2014 - 2016

Published: 10 June 2015 | by Sören

Dear All,

The semester is over and we are about half way to graduation!! The only things left to accomplish are the internship, a semester abroad, two more subjects and a master’s thesis.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the subjects at Kuehne Logistics Universitytake place at different times during the semester. This is why I would only like to add some information on:

  • Logistics Systems
  • Pricing and Revenue Management
  • Distribution Systems

Logistics Systems

This course basically covered two topics that are absolutely relevant to logistics: forecasting methods and strategic inventory management. I mentioned forecasting in my last blog but it is difficult to explain these methods without explaining a lot. I tell you, there is a great deal to learn about forecasting.

In the second part, we focused on inventory management. It seems relatively easy for companies to improve their inventory levels by adopting strategies like introducing a reorder point policy or a periodic review system. Actually, these strategies are integrated into many ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, which means that MANY companies worldwide apply these techniques. These methods not only reduce procurement costs, but also lower operating costs dramatically. This is why it is important to understand the role of inventory. Another very surprising fact is that a supply chain becomes significantly more efficient (meaning more revenue for all participants) after revenue sharing is implemented!

But supply chain efficiency does not only consist of forecasting and inventory management. It usually impacts operations very quickly. In addition to theory, we made an excursion to HLI (Hamburg Logistik Institute), where we found out about RFID technology. During the excursion we simulated a company with five different departments that was trying to improveitsorder-to-delivery process by applying different types of RFID chips. At each station we learned more about the technology’s strengths and weaknesses. Believe me, if your boss wants to implement RFID and you have taken this course, you will definitely know what is realistic or not.

Pricing and Revenue Management

If you have the chance to take this course, do it! You will definitely have a great learning outcome. After taking the course, I can tell you that it contains quite a bit of logical thinking and some math. But if you participate in the exercises that are held every week, it is not too difficult. Like everywhere else, it is just important to work with the knowledge on a regular basis.

We first learned about basic pricing theory. This includes things like 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree price discrimination, bundling strategies, dynamic pricing, and a lot more. What I enjoyed most were the two case studies. Our task was to determine a product price for a company. Usually it is easy to calculate cost plus pricing. But actually, this is the wrong approach. In this economy, it is better to look at the customer. The goal of a good pricing strategy is to extract the consumer surplus, which is linked to a willingness to pay. Of course there are many ways to gather this data and you will learn a few ways of doing so in the course.

The best thing about this course is that the professor is highly competent in this area. In fact, Prof. Meissner was a pricing consultant and provides extremely good and practical real-life examples. Another outcome of this course is an improved ability to negotiate prices – once you know how to do it.

Distribution Systems

If you have a passion for freight forwarding, this is the class for you. From this class and the guests who were invited to speak to us, we gained a better understanding of what an efficient distribution network is, how it is designed and what its competitive advantages mean to logistics companies.

We learned the most about real logistics activities in regard to transportation modes. Of course all modes have their advantages and disadvantages. But have you ever thought about arrival time variance? What does it mean to a company’s production if an entire shipload is delayed for more than 4 days? How easily can this happen? Which methods can be used to calculate the costs of other transportation modes to compensate for a risk like this?
Network design is an essential part of any distribution network. How do you structure deliveries in a certain area? Who is delivering where and when? Are there algorithms for making deliveries more efficient? How are they applied?

We also touched on some big issues of the future: how to deal with CO2 emissions andhow logistics companies serve mega cities. Now, what would a logistics university be without a subject like distribution systems?!

Internship

Studying global logistics also means doing an internship. The goal of the 3-month internship is to acquire work experience in the field of logistics. I simply asked my current employer, Olympus, to take me as an intern. Fortunately they accepted my request. But this means my job has not changed a lot since I started. Olympus is currently introducing a new ERP system thatincludes CRM. In the past,my job was to work on the manuals for MSD processes –mostly doing the format. Now that I am an intern, I also test these processes in the CRM tool and provide feedback to my supervisors if the processes are setup incorrectly. Learning how to deal with CRM and ERP software is a big advantage for my future career. Our logistics professors also expect modern information systems like ERP and supply chain optimization systems to decide on the success of a company in the future.

Coming back to the application process:As I mentioned above it, was really easy for me to get my internship contract. But my fellow students were dealing with papers, exams and their applications – which made it hard for some of them. I highly recommend that you apply at the beginning of January (the start of your second semester). Some companies’ internal policies, etc. mean this process can take up to two months.
KLU wouldn't be KLU if they did not prepare you well for the process. In the first semester, there are several dates when participation in a course called “Career Development”is mandatory. In this course, KLU takes you by the hand and makes you aware of topics like what you need in order to succeed in today’s job markets – including CV and coverletter training.

Semester Abroad

I will be traveling to Namibia soon! I will spend my semester abroad at Namibia Polytechnic’sHarold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business in Windhoek. My reason for the choice is very simple. So far I have been to Australia, North America andIndia – and I am living in Europe. Now it is time to see some other placesinthe world. :)

I am still preparing for the trip, which is why I my nextpost will be about organizing the trip. So far I can tell you that I will be leaving Germany on July 11. My stay in Namibia will last about 6 months.

Best regards,
Sören

MSc in Global Logistics
Kuehne Logistics University

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