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Message from the Director

As we draw to the end of 2020, I am delighted to welcome to Cranfield our full-time students in the MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management and the MSc in Procurement and Supply Chain Management. We are continuing to deliver executive courses to business executives from around the world through live online learning and face-to-face as and when social distancing guidelines enable this. To support these programmes, we will be seeking company projects again, for our full-time students to undertake as part of their thesis study period. Full details on what is involved and how to register a project are provided in the following sections.

In the summer of 2020, we launched our Supply Chain Webinar series which has been a great success, providing an open channel between ourselves, academic colleagues, managers, practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders. These webinars have covered many key issues including Supply Chain Technologies & Supply Chain 4.0, Contemporary & Future Challenges in the Food Supply Chain and The New Normal in Omnichannel Retail Operations. We plan other webinars from January onwards so do keep an eye on the website or register your interest with us!

Apart from the full-time MSc programmes, we offer the Executive Part-time MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, with a new cohort staring in February 2021. Applications are now being received for this MSc as well as for the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) and Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) versions of this course where students only need to take 12 and 6 modules of study respectively.

Many of you may have seen or heard various Cranfield colleagues providing expert commentary on some of the supply chain challenges that have been faced this year by companies and the Government ranging from: Brexit to Covid-19 and the PlayStation 5 supply chain issues. You can read more on these interviews in this Newsletter.

Before concluding my message, I would like to share a success following my appointment to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) Panel which involves the evaluation of research excellence for UK universities and specific details will be provided in the following sections.
Finally, I take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a fruitful New Year.

Professor Michael Bourlakis
Director of Research, Head of Logistics, Procurement & Supply Chain Management Group

Our 2020/21 cohort of Full Time MSc students

We are delighted to welcome a strong, international cohort to our full-time MSc Logistics & Supply Chain Management and MSc Procurement & Supply Chain Management programmes, with a total of 169 students across both programmes. Our flagship MSc Logistics & Supply Chain Management has now been in existence for almost 40 years and continues to be a premier choice in the UK with an enrolment of 131 students.

Now in its fourth year, the MSc Procurement & Supply Chain Management is a targeted addition to our portfolio of MSc offerings which has made a significant impact in the marketplace. This programme continues to build brand awareness, going from strength to strength with a record enrolment of 38 students.

Whilst 2020 has presented many challenges for students and universities globally, we are proud to report that our cohort represents 15 different nationalities with a split of 57% - Male to 43% - Female and an average student age of 25 years.

A few changes have taken place in the Programme Directorship and we would like to welcome Dr Hamid Moradlou as the new Deputy Director for our full-time MSc Logistics & Supply Chain Management. Dr Farooq Habib continues to support the full-time MSc Procurement & Supply Chain Management as Deputy Director, with Dr Hendrik Reefke is now the Course Director for both full-time MSc programmes.

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Dr Hendrik Reefke

Dr Farooq Habib

Dr Hamid Moradlou

Host a Cranfield supply chain management student – thesis project

In the last academic year, we had 40 of our students undertaking their MSc thesis projects with a company sponsor. This is a long-standing tradition here at Cranfield University and it is a win-win-win opportunity. The student gets to apply their skills and knowledge in supply chain practice, the sponsor company gains a resource, i.e. a postgraduate student, to focus on a specific issue/challenge that needs addressing and finally, Cranfield continues to engage in multiple ways with industry partners.

If you are interested in sponsoring a thesis project, please let us know. The projects start at the end of April 2021 but for planning purposes we begin the process of allocation of students to projects at the beginning of the year. We are happy to discuss your ideas for a project that would benefit from one of our MSc students dedicating 4 months (May – August) to work on. Please follow the link below, where you will find contact details, project examples, and instructions for a project to be submitted.

You can also hear from Rob Norton, Supply Chain Director at Network Rail who talks about the benefits of sponsoring a student thesis project. Additionally, you can read relevant input from Paul Watson (Group Supply Chain Strategy Manager of Tullow Oil) and Mark Phillips (Logistics & Customer Collaboration Manager, PPG Industries) and their reflections on our MSc student projects.

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Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management Webinar Series will continue in 2021

Martin Christopher 150The webinar series was launched this year and it has been a great success. We have been delighted to welcome back our Emeritus Professor Martin Christopher who has been setting the scene in the beginning of every webinar, paving the way for other contribution from other Cranfield academic colleagues as well as from senior managers and leading practitioners. Here is the events link in case you missed any of the webinars and below are some further details for the webinars so far:

The New Normal in Omnichannel Retail Operations (Friday 13th November) Considered the new normal in retail operations with the increasing relevance and significance of omnichannel.

Contemporary & Future Challenges in the Food Supply Chain (11th September)
Looked at how contemporary food supply chains are evolving and adapting to the ongoing business challenges such as Covid-19 and Brexit.

Supply Chain Technologies & Supply Chain 4.0 (27th July)
Examined how current supply chains are changing post Covid-19 and post Brexit, as both increase business risk and disrupt business continuity.

Plans for the 2021 series are underway and we will keep you informed. Feel free to register your interest by clicking the button below.

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Executive MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Applications are now open for February 2021

Our Executive MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management offers you the opportunity to study for an internationally recognised Master's qualification. This part-time supply chain postgraduate course is designed to nurture your practical business skills and confidence. It also places huge emphasis on real-world challenges and industry best practice which you can apply back to your own organisation. It has been co-designed with senior supply chain practitioners and it is delivered by one of Europe's largest specialist logistics, procurement, and supply chain management faculty.

This Executive MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management is accredited by the European Logistics Association (ELA), The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS).

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This course comprises of 13 intensive taught modules with an optional international study tour, and a thesis project. You will have the opportunity to complete a number of supply chain, logistics and procurement simulation games based on real-life business challenges. You will also complete an individual thesis project providing you with an opportunity to investigate an area of particular interest to you and your organisation. Applications are also open for Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) and Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) versions of this course where you only need to take 12 and 6 modules respectively. If you want to find more for this course then please check the following link:

read more

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Feel free to contact the Course Director
Dr. Soroosh Saghiri at

Cranfield Expert Opinion on the news, radio and social media

Cranfield Logistics colleagues have been approached to give expert commentary to television, radio channels, newspapers etc. on various issues such as Brexit, Covid-19 vaccination programme and the PlayStation 5 supply problems. Below we list a few of those that you may like to revisit:

Brexit & Covid19 – Supply Chain Challenges
Date: 5th December
Professor Michael Bourlakis, Director of the Centre for Logistics, Procurement & Supply Chain Management was on BBC Radio 5 Live Saturday Breakfast show talking about 'Brexit and Covid19: Supply Chain Challenges'. He stressed how challenging Brexit will be for small companies especially when they are dealing with a significant amount of documentation. Professor Bourlakis also noted current challenges emanating from Brexit which are related to the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine.

PlayStation 5 Supply Problems shows the ‘Size does Matter’ in Logistics
Date: 20th November 2020

Commenting on issues with the supply of the latest PlayStation, Professor Richard Wilding OBE, Professor of Supply Chain Strategy at Cranfield School of Management, said: “Size does matter. The bigger the item the more logistics capacity is consumed. A large item such as a games console consumes more space and logistics providers need to understand the size of items to optimise logistics.

read more

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme will be one of the Biggest Logistical Challenges of the Century
Date: 10th November 2020

Commenting on the news of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, Professor Richard Wilding OBE, Professor of Supply Chain Strategy at Cranfield University, one of the world’s leading logistics and supply chain experts, said: “A successful rapid deployment of any proven vaccine doesn’t just rely on the amount of vaccine that can be produced it relies on multiple factors such as infrastructure, information systems and having a workforce that can administer the vaccine”.

read more

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Professor Wilding OBE has been involved extensively with numerous interviews during the past few weeks.
These include input to, inter alia, the Sky News, The Independent, The Guardian.


Cranfield Expert appointed on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 Panel

Michael BourlakisProfessor Michael Bourlakis has been appointed to the REF Panel for the Business & Management Studies (Unit of Assessment). REF is a major exercise where all UK Universities are evaluated for the quality of their research. This evaluation is critical as it will influence future research funding allocated to these universities with the next REF being conducted in 2021. It is also the first time that an academic with a logistics and supply chain management expertise is appointed on this Panel.

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Professor Michael Bourlakis

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