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Making links: Logistics and Supply Chain Management in India

Dr Andrea GenoveseIndia can learn from our mistakes, suggests Dr Andrea Genovese from Sheffield University Management School.

On a recent visit to a workshop concerning the NEX-GIFT project, Dr Genovese, pictured right, was keen to speak to practitioners, journalists and fellow international academics about India’s fortunate position in the improvement and diversification of India’s freight logistics.

Speaking to trade publication TransREporter, Dr Genovese, who is a lecturer on Sheffield University Management School’s MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management, said: “The real objective of the project [NEX-GIFT] is to establish a forum where both practitioners and academics and introduce best practices in next generation logistics transportation for freight. One of the limitations people always point out when it comes to academic research is that there is a difference between what we work on, and the real world. So this project tries to bridge that gap.

“We want to promote use of greener transportation. Road transport is the most polluting mode of transport because, especially in India, the fleet in terms of vehicles that are used to move things around is not very green. So, moving to railways and waterways can cut the cost of fuel consumption and lessen CO2 emissions too. Furthermore, promoting mitigation measures (like shipment consolidation, adoption of greener vehicles and more efficient driving styles) can also reduce the impact of road freight transport.”

Sheffield University Management School nurtures its close relations with industry and Dr Genovese’s course, which is run by programme director and leader of the NEX-GIFT project Dr Alok Choudhary, benefits from especially close links. Each student undertakes a company project working on a real-life problem within industry and field-visits to relevant sites and exhibitions in England are also a significant element of the Msc Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

The NEX-GIFT project’s intention to bring together academic theory and logistics practitioners to find a model for best practice is unique in its approach – it has led to a great deal of international collaboration and two more workshops are planned in the USA and at Sheffield University Management School.

Working directly with Indian partners on the project has led to Dr Genovese’s assertion that India can learn from Western mistakes. He said: “India is still considered to be a developing country. What this means to me is that you still have the possibility of doing things better than we in the Western economy have done. So, India can learn from our mistakes (for example, the massive shift from railways to freight that there has been in the UK in the last 50 years) and we can learn about logistics approaches being developed in India.”

On being asked why the University of Sheffield wanted India to be part of the NEX-GIFT study, Dr Genovese said: “India’s economy is one of the biggest in the world and it is a country where the internal demand for goods is expected to rise in the next three years. And there is an emerging middle class that will request more goods, given the economic growth India is experiencing. This will cause an increase in the need for more logistics activities.”

Dr Genovese has also identified a large gap in logistics and supply chain management education in India, despite it being a prominent area of growth. Our collaborations with the Indian Institute of Technology (ITT) Delhi and two universities in the USA have proved very fruitful, but it is important that with government support, more young Indians consider logistics as a career option.

Following the successful Sustainable Next Generation Freight Transportation Workshop, which was hosted at ITT Delhi, Dr Genovese and the Sheffield team are moving the project forward. The next step includes establishing a collaborative online platform which shares success stories from different companies; it will focus on the main industry-academia collaborative opportunities and the role which government can play.

Read more about Sheffield University Management School’s MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management on our website:


Read more about this story on the related article on Maritime Gateway and TransREporter, two prominent Indian publications for Logistics practitioners:

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