Capstone: Supply Chain Analytics Made by KLU Students

Even the best product can only be successful in the long term if the processes of the supply chain mesh perfectly. The Kühne Logistics University offers companies the opportunity to discover new optimization potentials, for example within a three-month Capstone project with master’s students.

Sandra Transchel, KLU Professor for Supply Chain and Operations Management, is in charge of the Capstone projects. These are an integral part of the master’s program Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management. "As a mathematician, I attach great importance to a logical and structured approach. It is precisely this competence that we teach our logistics students," stresses Transchel. This fresh and methodically trained external take on things generates an important added value for the company.

Books on Demand

Two KLU alumni, Tim Fransson and Geoffrey Tani, are still in touch with their Hamburg-based Capstone company. Over the course of three months, they analyzed the entire production process of the successful in-house publisher BoD - Books on Demand. In addition to detailed data analysis, they developed an easy-to-use simulation model that takes into account numerous criteria such as paper type, cover type, and printing inks. In this way, the publishing house and the cooperating book printer were able to determine the optimum size of production batches.

Omnichannel inventory challenge

Another project focused on e-commerce and logistics solutions such as "in-store-ordering" and "ship-from-store" for end customers of a service-providing company. The question posed was, “how can omnichannel vendors manage their inventory more efficiently?” The students’ hypothesis was, if there is complete inventory transparency, a supplier can sell more and, at the same time, reduce its inventories and thus costs. The logistics students confirmed this thesis on the basis of a self-developed optimization model for a 30-week sales season.

Both sides win

In a Capstone project both sides win. Students establish valid contacts in the business world and gain practical insights, thus increasing their job opportunities. Companies use the students’ freshly acquired academic knowledge and their outsiders’ viewpoint to optimize their processes in a data-based way. The initial approaches for this are provided by the students. Afterwards, it is not uncommon for students to go deeper into the subject, for example in exploring it in the form of a master's thesis. One might ask, what does a company have to bring to the table? Transchel answers, “time to provide students with information and contacts, and, of course, useful data."


Prof. Sandra Transchel