Masterclass experiences

In March and April 2021, the first series of ESCF masterclasses took place. In September of this year, the second series will kick off. The topics of the masterclasses will remain the same. Therefore, you can get an impression of the past masterclasses on this page, to encourage you to sign up. You can use the button below to register. For more information, you can visit this page.

Session 1: Supply Chain Overview & Customer Value
By Tom van Woensel
On Thursday March 4, 2021, the first session in the series of online masterclasses was given by prof. dr. Tom van Woensel. Besides being the director of the European Supply Chain Forum, Tom Van Woensel is Full Professor of Freight Transport and Logistics in the OPAC group (Operations, Planning, Accounting and Control) of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). The topic of the first session in this masterclass was Supply Chain Overview and Customer Value. As it was the first session, participants clearly were getting to know each other and got acquainted with this new online way of sharing knowledge. Nevertheless, the masterclass led to some interesting discussions on the differences between demand management for a B2B setting versus B2C environments. Questions as ‘Could a certain B2C concept such as omni-channel also work in a B2B environment?’ were discussed. Additionally, key topics related to demand shaping such as understanding demand versus sales, and revenue management were discussed. Participants shared their perspectives and opinions.

Session 2: Sales and Operations Planning
By Ton de Kok
The second masterclass in the series was on the topic of sales and operations planning. This masterclass was given by one of the world-leading experts on Supply Chain Optimization, Ton de Kok. As the topic of this masterclass was very practical and breakout rooms were used, there was a lot of interaction between the participants. Most of the material used in this masterclass was based on best practices from real-life, professional context, supplemented with scientific input. This combination provided very valuable information for the participants. Besides the material provided by Ton, the participants themselves shared very valuable information as well. By doing this, some professional experts created great added value for the other participants. Because the topic is very practical, the participants asked questions about their own professional experiences. As a result of the specific circumstances mentioned in the questions, they were challenging and exciting for Ton to answer. According to Ton, the most interesting moment occurred when during the discussions he came to the point at which he had to explain that the more uncertainty there is in a situation, the simpler the algorithm that can be used. To explain this to the practical participants was a difficult and pleasant challenge for him.

Session 3: Procurement and sourcing
By Manu Mathyssens
On the 18th of March, Manu Matthyssens, founder and managing partner of the Solvint Group, gave a masterclass about procurement and sourcing. As program manager, he has been responsible for designing various result-driven procurement re-engineering and development programs with multiple international companies in various industries. In a short interview, he told how he experienced his first masterclass for the European Supply Chain forum. He explained that by dividing the masterclass into 7 topics he was able to create an interactive event. Each topic started with a lecture, followed by a statement on the topic. These statements initiated a debate in which all participants were enthusiastically involved. Furthermore, since his focus was on the procurement and sourcing strategies to be used in the future, many practical questions arose from various participants, sharing their perspective on the subject.

Session 4: Transport and Distribution
By Thierry Vanelslander
On March 25th, 2021, Thierry Vanelslander gave the fourth masterclass in the series of masterclasses regarding global supply chain and logistics, organised by the ESCF. Thierry Vanelslander is a professor at the Department of Transport and Regional Economics. His research focuses on business economics in the port and maritime sector, and inland transport and urban logistics. He is also the chair of the Freight & Logistics group within the European Transport Conference. Vanelslander experienced his first masterclass for the ESCF as very successful. He adjusted his masterclass about transport and distribution to the sector as best as possible by using practical examples, explaining new technologies, and by not focussing on the methods. The diversity of the participants led to many different perspectives on the subjects creating active discussions. In a discussion regarding alternative energy sources, Vanelslander was excited to observe that many of the participants are actively involved on the subject of sustainability. The different perspectives and methods used in practice initiated a debate with interesting perspectives and questions regarding alternative energy sources.

Session 5: Forecasting
By Freek Aertsen
On the first of April, 2021, Freek Aertsen gave a masterclass on forecasting for the ESCF. Dr. Aertsen has wide experience in the design and implementation of supply chain planning models in various industries and countries. It was his first time giving this masterclass for the ESCF. What really stood out for him was the diverse group of participants that joined. Everyone worked for different companies, utilizing different types of supply chains. This made the masterclass very interesting to give for dr. Aertsen, as all these different types of supply chains require different forecasting methods. Because of the possibility for participants to directly ask questions about their specific supply chain to an expert in the field, the masterclass was very interactive, which can be very profitable for the participants. This also makes the information shared in the masterclass directly applicable to the participants. Besides the prepared material that was discussed in the masterclass, one of the participants asked how the development of big data and data analytics over the years has influenced and still influences the discipline of forecasting. This led to a new discussion and even more diverse information shared in the masterclass.

Session 6: Logistics Network Design
By Tom Van Woensel
The sixth session in the series of masterclasses was again given by prof. dr. Tom van Woensel. This time, the session was about logistics network design. During the masterclass, it was discussed how intercontinental and worldwide logistics networks/supply chains should be designed. What should those long networks look like, and how can they be optimized? Several theoretical models were discussed to be able to optimize the design of the networks, for which practical business cases were provided as a base. How can those theories be implemented in a realistic and more complex situation? After all content was treated, the masterclass quickly led to the discussion about whether it is necessary to understand the mathematics behind those theoretical models in order to apply them in practice. For practitioners, this can be difficult. However, because those mathematics are often used as building blocks for software tools which can help with optimizing supply chains, it is fundamental to understand how those tools work in order to understand the results they provide. This resulted in a discussion on how to use such software tools in practice and how to apply them to your own business context.

Session 7: Multi-echelon Inventory management
By Zumbul Atan
On the 15th of April, dr. Zumbul Atan, associate professor of supply chain management and research director of the European Supply Chain Forum, gave a masterclass about multi-echelon inventory management. The multi-echelon inventory management approach has been widely studied in academia, but it hasn’t been implemented much in practice. Since the approach is not utilized at companies, most practitioners do not have enough background on the subject, requiring an elaborated introduction. Dr. Atan was able to raise interest in the subject by focusing on the benefits of multi-echelon inventory management, which resulted in discussion on how this approach can be implemented in the participants’ own companies and which steps to take to move forward. Despite the fact that not all participants have roles involved with the subject, dr. Atan emphasizes the importance of understanding the multi-echelon approach to create awareness on the potential benefits.

Session 8: Supply Chain Trends, Future Implications
By Tom Van Woensel
The eighth and last session of the Masterclass series was devoted to future trends and new technologies that we see coming. There was a large amount of discussion on making the inventory of the current and future trends, among which we discussed local for local, urbanization, outsourcing, dual sourcing, etc. The key new technologies that enable new and improved decision making were all part of the big family of Artificial Intelligence (analytics, machine learning, big data, IoT, Digital Twins, etc.). The participants also discussed in a breakout session their own organization vis-à-vis their data usage maturity.