Zaragoza Logistics Center Distinguished Lecture Seriesed Lecture Series

  • November 10, 2003
  • Zaragoza, Spain

A highlight of the launch was a presentation by Daniel Roos, co-director of MIT’s Engineering Systems Division of which the Center for Transportation & Logistics is a part. His talk was the first in what will become an international forum known as the Zaragoza Logistics Center Distinguished Lecture Series.

Over 600 representatives of industry, academia and government attended the official launch November 10, 2003 of the Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC), an international center for education and research in logistics and supply chain management in the Spanish province of Aragón.

Situated in the midst of PLAZA, a state-of-the-art logistics park built in Aragón’s capital city of Zaragoza, the ZLC hosts the MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program, a research and education partnership involving MIT, the University of Zaragoza, the Government of Aragón, and the logistics companies of PLAZA. The program is part of a massive initiative to develop Aragón into one of Europe’s most significant logistics centers.

At the launch the President of Aragón, Marcelino Iglesias, spoke of the importance of logistics to the economic development of the Aragón region, and of the important role the ZLC will play in that effort. Emilio Larrodé, former director of the ZLC, emphasized the center’s aim to bridge the gap between academia and industry.

A highlight of the event was a presentation by MIT’s Daniel Roos, Associate Dean for Engineering Systems and co-director of MIT’s Engineering Systems Division, of which MIT’s Center for Transportation & Logistics is a part. (Roos is, incidentally, a former director of the MIT center.)

Based on his important 1990 book, The Machine That Changed The World, Roos’ talk explored how industry has done in terms of implementing the new lean production system detailed in that book – a system proven to reduce the time-to-market of new products, to improve manufacturing productivity and quality and to increase product diversity.

While significant improvements have been made, he said, industry has been slow to implement lean production fully. He outlined the current state of the motor vehicle industry and the challenges it faces, including globalization, overcapacity, environmental issues, security concerns and technological opportunities. At the end, Dr. Roos noted that these issues are not unique to the motor vehicle sector, and that other industries can apply many of the lessons learned through MIT’s research.

The event made a big splash in the regional Spanish press. Both El Periódico and El Heraldo devoted the entire first page of their economics sections to the launch presentation, drawing attention to the presence of the Aragónese president, along with several regional ministers, as a signal of the importance that the government of Aragón gives to this initiative. The president was quoted as saying that the ZLC is “one of our [Aragón’s] main strategies to diversify the Argónese economy.”

In an editorial titled ‘The MIT in PLAZA’, El Heraldo went on to say that “…the support of a centre of international prestige, such as the MIT, should make it easier for the efforts that are now being made to produce the expected results. This is good news and an example to follow.”

The MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program is the ZLC’s flagship effort. Its research program uses the logistics park as a working laboratory to experiment with new logistics processes, concepts and technologies, in active collaboration with leading academic institutions and companies from around the world.

Its education program will offer a master’s degree (ZLOG) — a nine-month professional program preparing graduates for careers in logistics and supply chain management — a doctorate degree, and a set of executive education courses leading to certificates in various logistics-related disciplines. The curricula is taught by professors in the new center; the first courses was offered in the fall of 2004.

The first major event of the MIT-Zaragoza program was the Zaragoza International Logistics Summit, an international logistics summit hosted by the ZLC March 24-26, 2003. A global gathering of researchers, practitioners and policymakers, the meeting featured keynote talks, interactive panel discussions and breakout sessions focused on the future of supply chain management. Speakers included Gabriel Bitran, Charles Fine and Yossi Sheffi of MIT; Morris Cohen and Marshall Fisher of Wharton; Hau Lee of Stanford; Don Ratliff of Georgia Tech; and M. Christopher of Cranfield.

For more information, contact Jarrod Goentzel.


  • Start Date:November 10, 2003
  • End Date:November 10, 2003
  • Location:Zaragoza, Spain