My innovative life was kick-started by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). It was an excellent opportunity for me to gain real business experience whilst being able to continue my professional and academic development.
Panalpina, a global logistics and freight forwarding company, were looking for ways to meet their customers’ requirements by forecasting demand and optimising inventory levels in supply chains.
They wanted to introduce some innovative features to their inventory system, which involved building, applying and combining alternative forecasting and stock control procedures. They were specifically interested in spare parts and fashion goods. This business need was formalised as a three-way KTP between Panalpina, Cardiff Business School and myself. It was a unique opportunity that allowed me to see the interface between academic knowledge and practical considerations.
The project resulted in an inventory forecasting tool called D2ID(Demand Driven Inventory Dispositioning), which helps with inventory planning and forecasting decisions. Using data to forecast future demand and decide customers’ minimum inventories, it provides fully automated output without any human manual intervention.
It is easy to roll out across the company, transparent and can be easily adjusted to meet customers’ specific requirements. This has considerable implications in terms of both cost and waste reduction, benefitting the environment and resulting in lower prices for end consumers.
What was really exciting about this work was that it generated new knowledge within the organisation and initiated further collaboration between Panalpina and the University; research has been expanded to new manufacturing technologies and their implications for forecasting and inventory management.
This was established by the launching of a double KTP around 3D printing with both Cardiff Business School and the Cardiff School of Engineering. Last but not least, the company has also decided to further invest in academic collaboration, funding a new Research Centre and sponsoring an existing Chair at Cardiff Business School.
It has been a very challenging and intensive journey, as well as a highly rewarding one. Following the completion of the project, I was offered a permanent job at the company and I have also pursued a research degree (MPhil) at Cardiff University.The project has been awarded the highest grade of "Outstanding" by the KTP Grading Panel as well as receiving both a Business Innovation and People’s Choice Award from Cardiff University. This is an excellent validation of the successful application of knowledge to practical situations.
I strongly believe that joining the KTP programme was the right choice for me, not only because of the quality of the programme, but also because it proved a guarantee for a successful transition to the professional environment.
I would encourage graduates to consider the programme as a unique opportunity to be involved in a research and development project in an industrial setting with close collaborations with academia.