Current and Future Research Projects

  • Improving the Sustainability of Irish Logistics Systems and Supply Chains

Transport and logistics have a central role in our current economic environment. It is critical to our economic well-being and quality of life as it supports economic prosperity, regional development and social inclusion. However, it is also the fastest growing contributor to national GHG (greenhouse gas) emission levels in Ireland. The challenge is to reduce the environmental impact of transport and logistics activities (particularly freight transport) whilst minimising negative economic and quality of life impacts. This project aims to identify policy-level and firm-level opportunities that policy makers and companies can adopt to make logistics systems and supply chain operations more ‘green’, particularly by exploiting the opportunities afforded by emerging ICT tools and developments in the Internet. It will do so by establishing a cross-faculty interdisciplinary team, consisting of wide range of experience and with diverse expertise in strategic supply chain management (SCM) and logistics, modelling and mathematics, as well as transport engineering and technology.



  • SCM adoption in Ireland



The theme of this project is the effective application of SCM theory in practice. This recognises that something of a divergence between theory and practice in the field has developed. It is hypothesised that effective SCM implementation is predicated upon clarity of understanding in relation to what SCM is (and is not). In addition to assessing the level of understanding of SCM in Ireland, this research aims to provide a profile of current levels of SCM adoption. Specific attention will be paid to the link between the level of practitioner/corporate understanding and the capability/performance of firms. A clear method of measuring the latter also needs to be identified for this work to be meaningful. One approach to this involves establishing the characteristics of SCM excellence (or ‘world-class SCM’) and building any assessment of capability/performance around these characteristics. Achievement of the overall project objectives will result in the development of a more thorough understanding of SCM theory and practice; it will identify key implications from both a research and a managerial perspective; it will also result in a clearer understanding of the role of national (and transnational) policy measures aimed at improving effective SCM adoption, with particular reference supply chain education and learning in Ireland.



  • Information Technology Adoption and Impact on Competitiveness in the Third Party Logistics Service Sector

Analysis of NITL’s report “Competitive Challenges: Chain Reactions” (2005) has revealed that demand for logistics services is growing significantly. Logistics service providers need to pay attention to adopt more efficient logistics technologies and to provide better services. The competitiveness of a firm in the knowledge-based economy depends more and more on how it is capable of improving its technological innovation. Thus, the ability to utilise capable information and communication technologies (ICT) can be a key determinant of success in the third party logistics (3PL) industry, particularly in the context of Ireland’s peripheral location. It therefore becomes critical to understand the implications and the emerging trends in terms of technological innovations that 3PL companies are nowadays facing. However, there is a lack of empirical research available on the adoption of logistics information technologies at 3PL companies in Ireland and on the impact of these technologies on competitive advantage.




  • The use and impact of B2B e-marketplaces in the aviation industry

The aim of this project is to determine factors influencing the adoption of e-Marketplaces as an example of an innovation adopted within the airline sector and to research, by determining performance indicators, whether or not the adoption has enabled the adopting airlines to achieve superior performance.





  • The Role of Demand Forecasting in Supply Chain Operations Planning and Control

Demand forecasting plays an important role in the planning of supply chains by providing predictions of the future given the current situation of an organisation in its targeted market segments. Additionally forecasting can be used to provide predictions of the impact of alternative courses of action that management may be contemplating on the organisation's future. Forecasting methods can be classified according to a number of criteria such as time period, type of forecast and suitability to types of data. This research aims to develop a profile of the forecasting methods used in the supply chain planning and control processes of firms. It builds on data collected as part of NITL’s earlier SCM capability and barometer studies. The emphasis is on choice of forecasting method as well as on how forecasting as a process is organized across participating companies in international supply chain configurations.





  • The Role of ICT in Small 3PLs

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is widely regarded as a key integration enabler in contemporary supply chain configurations. Furthermore, recent years have seen the vertical disintegration of supply chains as increasing numbers of manufacturers and retailers outsource significant parts of their supply chain functionality. In this environment, Third Party Logistics (3PL) providers - the majority of which are small companies - play a pivotal role. This raises important questions about the usage of ICT in this sector. However, there is a paucity of research in the field of small 3PLs with little empirical investigation into the usage of ICT by such firms. This empirical research project surveys ICT systems usage in a sample of small 3PLs. It is based on work carried out by NITL’s partners in Italy and elsewhere. It aims to provide a technological profile of the surveyed companies, as well as an analysis of the role of ICT in customising services and of the factors influencing technology adoption.


For further information contact:

Dr. Eoin Plant
T: +353 (0)1 402 2962



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