DHL and ZLC Symposium

  • September 30, 2008
  • Hotel Rey Fernando II de Aragón, PLAZA, Zaragoza (Spain)

“Supply Chain Innovation”

9:00 Welcome and Introductions
9:30 Aragón as a Platform for Innovation
D. José Luis Serrano Ostáriz
Director of Research, Innovation & Development, Government of Aragón
10:00 DHL Strategy Initiative
Jose Da Costa Faria
Diretor ofInnovation & Development, Iberia
10:30 Reverse Logistics
Dr. Prashant Yadav
Professor, Zaragoza Logistics Center
11:15 Break
11:45 In-Transit Visibility
Dr. Asvin Goel
Visiting Associate Research Professor, Zaragoza Logistics Center
12:30 Postponement
Dr. Fabrizio Salvador Adjunct Professor, Zaragoza Logistics Center
Professor, Instituto de Empresa Business School
13:15 Closing and Final Comments
13:30 Lunch
15:30 Optional Tour of the PLAZA Logistics Park

Participants are responsible for making their own travel and hotel arrangements. A special room rate will be arranged at the event venue, the Hotel Rey Fernando II de Aragón.

Given its impact on customer satisfaction and financial margin, supply chain management is playing an increasingly strategic role in corporate success. While companies have invested research & development resources in areas such as product and manufacturing design, there is far less research investment in developing new supply chain concepts, technologies and processes.

DHL partnered with MIT-Zaragoza to conduct joint research – investigating, experimenting, and creating knowledge that impacts business practice. During the initial phase the partners launched three research initiatives in the areas of Reverse Logistics, In-Transit Visibility, and Postponement – a summary of each project is included below. The symposium features presentations to share the insights and tools that have been developed .

Reverse Logistics

During the last few years, reverse logistics management has gained considerable attention as companies began identifying the missed value opportunities due to inappropriate returns management strategies. The focus of the DHL-MIT-Zaragoza reverse logistics research group has been determining the strategies and principles rooted in supply chain management and standard economics that can be leveraged to increase value recovery from return flows. Our work analyzes the factors that influence the optimal choice of a return channel using a series of structured questionnaires, interviews with industry practitioners, and the latest academic theory in the field. Modelling and simulation techniques test and validate theoretical conclusions, studying the interactions among primary factors and their influence on the value recovered from returns. Additionally, we analyze best practices in reverse logistics currently used by leading companies worldwide based on a series of site visits. Conclusions are compiled in a strategy brief for organizations looking to uncover value recovery opportunities in reverse logistics.

In-Transit Visibility

Technological advances such as global positioning, telematics, RFID, wireless communication, etc. enable companies to achieve near real-time visibility over assets in transit. Despite such technological advances, it appears that many global supply chains still suffer from the lack of visibility. While determining the costs for deploying systems to provide visibility is relatively easy, there is little basis for determining the business value that can be generated with near real-time information on assets in transit. Obviously, the availability of data is not a value by itself; real-time data on assets in transit must be converted into useful information that enables actions which generate business value. The focus of this joint research is to develop a framework approach and analytical tool to assess the value that can be generated with In-Transit Visibility. Based on interviews with DHL experts and survey results, we propose a variety of in-transit actions with the associated value potential and position them within a framework of various supply chain strategies, product characteristics, and operating environments. Some context-specific case studies illustrate the value assessment approach. Additionally, we developed a simulation model to calculate the value of deploying different levels of visibility. This analytical tool is flexible enough to be applied to a variety of supply chain configurations.


The postponement project explores business opportunities for DHL to offer postponement services to actual and potential customers. The project proposes a set of postponement services that can be offered, each one tailored to a different postponement strategy. The market potential of these alternatives is successively examined by means of interviews to a panel of key account managers and other DHL experts. From an operations design standpoint the project synthesizes the possible solutions that DHL can use to efficiently deliver postponement services. Finally, some of the major issues associated to the delivery of postponement services for DHL are discussed.


  • Start Date:September 30, 2008
  • End Date:September 30, 2008
  • Location:Hotel Rey Fernando II de Aragón, PLAZA, Zaragoza (Spain)