MIT-Zaragoza Speaker Series: Stefan Nickel

  • July 1, 2010 - 13:30
  • ZLC, Lecture Room 131, Zaragoza (Spain)

Stefan Nickel
Full Professor, Institute for Operations Research, Faculty of Economics University of Karlsruhe, Germany
Scientific Advisory Board / Management Board
Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM)


” Location Problems in Supply Chain Management ”

Structuring global supply chain networks is a complex decision making process. The typical inputs to such a process consist of a set of customer zones to serve, a set of products to be manufactured, shipped and sold, demand projections for the different customer zones, information about future conditions and costs (e.g. transportation and production) and resources (e.g. capacities, available materials).

We propose a mathematical modeling framework capturing many practical aspects of network design problems simultaneously that have not received adequate attention in the literature. The aspects considered include: dynamic planning horizon, generic supply chain network structure, external supply of materials, inventory opportunities for goods, distribution of commodities, facility configuration, availability of capital for investments, and storage limitations. Moreover, network configuration decisions concerning the gradual relocation of facilities over the planning horizon are considered. To cope with fluctuating demands, capacity expansion and reduction scenarios are also analyzed as well as modular capacity shifts. The relation of the proposed modeling framework with existing models is discussed. For problems of reasonable size we report on our computational experience with standard mathematical programming software. In particular, useful insights on the impact of various factors on network design decisions (like number of time periods) are provided. Moreover, solution approaches are presented using decomposition approaches. Also a specially designed heuristic approach is proposed. The proposed heuristic performs very well on a large set of randomly generated problems. Some of the proposed models have been integrated into commercial software packages. Finally we give a brief overview of some recent research projects where the above mentioned methods have been used.


Stefan Nickel obtained his PhD in mathematics at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany in 1995. From 1995-2003 he was first assistant and then associate professor in mathematics at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. After a full professor position at the Saarland University (Chair of Operations Research and logistics) from 2003-2009 he became one of the directors of the institute for Operations Research at the KIT in April 2009. Stefan Nickel is also member of the scientific advisory board, as well as the management board, of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Mathematics (ITWM) in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He has authored or co-authored 4 books as well as more than 80 scientific articles mainly in the area of location, supply chain management, health care and logistics. In addition he had numerous research contracts with well-known industrial companies (e.g. Lufthansa, Miele, SAP). Stefan Nickel is editor-in-chief of Computers & Operations Research since October 2006 and member of the editorial board of Health Care Management Science. He has coordinated the Health Care working group within the German OR society (GOR) and is now member of the board of directors of the GOR. Moreover he is the speaker of the EURO working group on locational analysis. He has supervised 9 PhD theses and has currently 6 PhD candidates – one of them financed directly through an industrial cooperation. Last year Dr. Sebastian Velten (one of the finished PhD candidates) won the SOLA award, a bi-annual price for the best PhD thesis in location theory worldwide. He has also been the member of numerous international PhD committees.


  • Start Date:July 1, 2010
  • Start Time:13:30
  • End Date:July 1, 2010
  • End Time:15:00
  • Location:ZLC, Lecture Room 131, Zaragoza (Spain)