Chemical company Clariant (with more than 17,000 employees in over 60 countries) and Zaragoza Logistics Centre (the research centre supported by the Government of Aragon in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT]) signed an agreement this Tuesday which saw the Swiss multinational become the first ‘Corporate Partner’ in ZLC, one of the world leaders in training in the field of logistics.
Within their strategic objective of bringing themselves closer to the business world and its needs, ZLC has launched a corporate programme this year that offers companies three levels of collaboration. The first of these is comprised of academic partners, those who sponsor thesis projects within the ZLOG international master’s programme. This area already has a total of 31 partners, among which are global powerhouses such as DHL, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Repsol, General Motors and Starbucks.
The second level is comprised of ‘research partners’ with whom, as the name suggests, ZLC establishes a relationship which essentially is based around the concept of research. Lastly, the highest level is the ‘Corporate Partner’, as signed by Clariant, which, in addition to encompassing the other two levels, implies that the company funds a professorial chair.
As the director of the Research Programmes at the ZLC, Carolina Ciprés, explains, the agreement is ‘tailored’ to the needs envisioned by the company. The above notwithstanding, the agreement is articulated around a model that is focused on two main areas: talent management and research.
Sponsoring a ZLOG programme thesis features within the former, and is something which allows the company to pose a real problem in its supply chain to which the student will aim to provide a solution. Furthermore, executive training will be on offer to company employees, alongside an advisory service to identify the ideal personnel within the company to receive this course, and priority access to ZLC promotions. In other words, Clariant will be the first company to meet and interview the students which gives the company an advantage in identifying and recruiting the greatest talents to work for them.
With regard to research, the fact that the company is funding a professorial chair gives the company the opportunity to access pioneering research results in the area of their choice – which in the case of Clariant means ‘Supply chain oriented towards value creation’. ‘Moreover the professor aligns the research with the real needs of the company, which means having a resource of great added value doing research into a field that is of key importance to the company’, notes Ciprés.
Equally, the agreement provides Clariant with the opportunity to meet the whole ZLC research team so they can put their heads together regarding the problems the company has in its supply chain and strategies.
‘For us, how we serve our clients is just as important as the product, therefore the logistics and management of the supply chain are vital. For that reason, we are really delighted to have found the perfect partner in ZLC to help us establish a better connection with our client, improve costs and optimise our processes’, states Felix Grimm, head of Operational Excellence, during the signing of the agreement. He highlights the fact that the Aragonese centre ‘carries out cutting-edge research, has an excellent teaching body and has young talents who will help our company to develop’.
In addition, the agreement with the Zaragoza Logistics Centre offers the new partner advantages such as access to the MIT Global Scale network, an international partnership among the world’s leading centres for research and training which is focused on the search for logistical excellence and on the supply chain. This is embodied, for example, in the possibility of attending the network’s events, examining their networking methods in depth and participating in the Research Fest, where students from all the centres present their thesis projects.