The Cranfield PhD - Product range standardisation in the timber industry (part-time PhD studentship)

Cranfield School of Management

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PhD Opportunities

Product range standardisation in the timber industry (part-time PhD studentship)

Supervisor: Martin Christopher BA MSc PhD FCIM FILT FCIPS

Cranfield School of Management, in partnership with SCA Timber Supplies Ltd and Link?ping University, Sweden, is inviting applications for this project. The successful candidate will be supported by SCA for the duration of the project and will undertake a part-time PhD with Cranfield School of Management.

Globally, Sweden is a major forest product exporter. SCA is a major Swedish forest owner, whose objective is to standardise a range of timber products for the UK Builders? Merchant (BM) market. This is expected to reduce the number of products, whilst maintaining the volume of timber across the product range.

Since 2000, SCA has worked closely with Link?ping University in Sweden and with Cranfield School of Management which is known for its Marketing and Logistics expertise in the UK.

This project involves the participation of the Universities in a Swedish competence platform called Lean Wood Engineering which will link to SCA both in Sweden and the UK.

The scope of the project will be to:

  • determine the true demand of the softwood appearance timber product range, within the BM market sector in the UK
  • identify the areas to reduce range width but maintain volume turn-over
  • establish potential builders? merchant customers who will work with SCA on the project to benefit from the same anticipated goals
  • understand the whole supply chain to identify synergies and efficiencies which can be made from the reduction of the product range width - Swedish manufacture UK manufacture outsource
  • identify how we best manage inventory holding and distribution of the range
  • show how SCA as a supplier will take a pro-active approach to the range width, within the builders? merchant market sector.

Based on this commercial project, the candidate will develop, with his/her academic supervisors, a number of research questions which will form the basis of the PhD research programme.

Project team

The project will be led by Neil Emsley, Operations Director, SCA Timber Supply Ltd. PhD supervision will be provided by Professor Martin Christopher, Professor of Marketing and Logistics, Cranfield School of Management (UK) and Professor Staffan Brege, Professor of Marketing, Link?ping University, Sweden.


The successful candidate will be registered as a part-time PhD student within Cranfield School of Management from 28 September 2009. Part-time fees will be paid by SCA in addition to a bursary of ?23,000 p.a. to cover living expenses. In addition any necessary travel costs incurred during the research will be covered by SCA.


Most of the work will be undertaken at the offices of SCA Timber in Stoke-on-Trent with part-time study at Cranfield University and Link?ping University. Please note that there is an attendance requirement at Cranfield on Mondays during the first year of study.


Candidates should, in the first instance, submit a CV and proposal, setting out their background and previous experience of research how these relate to the advertised topic evidence of reading they have done around the topic, and any further information that supports their application to carry out this particular project. These should be emailed to Wendy Habgood at by 14th February 2009. Please quote "Product Range Standardisation in the Timber Industry" in your email.

Selected candidates will be invited to submit a formal application form, which may be downloaded from the Cranfield School of Management website. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an assessment day at Cranfield. Full details of the PhD programme, including details of the selection process, and a downloadable application form may be found on the website at

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