Archive for the ‘Logistics & Operations Management’ Category

Wanted: A viable all-water route from Asia to the U.S. Midwest

The following is an excerpt from a guest editorial on Supply Chain Quarterly, with research contributions by UMSL. 

By: Masao Nishi

Member of the Supply Chain Management and Analytic Advisory Board since 2016 & Principal of M. Nishi Strategic Advisory 

In the central United States, there is a magnificent stretch of waterway that is ready and available to be put to greater use: the Mississippi River between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Louis, Missouri. This unique segment of open river has no locks or dams, and it is ice-free all year round.

This presents opportunities to move ocean containers from Asia to the U.S. Midwest entirely by water. From ports in Asia, containers could travel through the Panama Canal to the Port of New Orleans, and then via river vessels up the Mississippi to the St. Louis region for further distribution into the Midwest (Figure 1).

North of St. Louis, the river—like most other waterways in the U.S.—is full of locks and dams, which restricts the size of the tows and vessels and complicates transit time and the predictability of shipment deliveries. For these reasons, the New Orleans-to-St. Louis segment is ideal for getting container activity started on the waterways.

This route offers easy access to a large consumer market as well as an opportunity to lower costs, diversify and manage risk, and build a supply chain network that matches, and takes advantage of, the actual supply chain requirements of their products. It’s also greener than other modes of transportation. The New Orleans-to-St. Louis portion of the river is already a major traffic lane for bulk commodities carried by barge. Much of that volume consists of agricultural products; in fact, the St. Louis region is often referred to as the “Agricultural Coast” of America.

Yet shippers of containerized cargo are not taking advantage of this option. Given all its advantages, why are shippers reluctant to make use of this tremendously underutilized resource? And what will it take to make the New Orleans-to-St. Louis stretch of the river a more attractive and viable route for both shippers and carriers of containerized cargo?

—Read The Full Story at Supply Chain Quarterly— 

What the heck is LOM?

campbellJJames F. Campbell, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Program Director
Professor of Management Science & Information Systems



Most students know something about marketing, accounting, finance, management and information systems, but the College of Business Administration also has a department of LOM (or Logistics & Operations Management). What is that all about?

Operations Management has long been a core part of any business, but the LOM department is much more than that. LOM also encompasses Logistics, Transportation, Supply Chain Management, Decision Science, Operations Research, Management Science and Analytics!! Let’s take a quick look at these:

Every organization has three major functions: Marketing, Operations, and Finance/Accounting. Other functions such as Management and Information Systems address integrative aspects that span the organization. The function of Operations is to produce the products and services (e.g., automobiles, software, medical procedures, transportation) that are the organization’s reason for existence. The focus of Operations Management then is how best to perform and manage all the interconnected operations required to produce the organization’s goods or services.

A number of years ago we brought Logistics into our title to emphasize that the department goes beyond just “Operations”. Fundamentally, logistics involves the efficient and effective flow of goods, both towards and away from the customer (as in product recalls or recycling), as well as the storage of goods. Logistics also encompasses managing the associated information and financial resources of the organization — and is crucial for service organizations as well, such as healthcare.

With increased globalization and better information and communication technologies, our field has expanded to incorporate Supply Chain Management.  According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), “supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities…also includes coordination and collaboration with…suppliers, intermediaries, third party service providers, and customers.” ( Excellence in supply chain management (along with a very efficient global transport system) is why you can buy clothing produced around the world at unbelievably low prices, why your local grocery store has summer fruits in the middle of winter and beer from six continents, and why Amazon, Google and Alibaba are all experimenting with drones for delivery.

So, what is Analytics?…This is getting long, so we’ll leave that for another blog…and end with just one more reason to major in LOM: the Most Recommended Major according to is…Supply Chain Management! Check out the link or the visualization here.