Logistics research seminar series launched

The Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) based Namibian-German Centre for Logistics (NGCL) launched a research seminar series this week as part of its drive to join global university rankings.
The seminar series will become a regular feature on the NGCL’s calendar. Already, two successful research seminars have been held since the launch of the series in February 2016.
The inaugural seminar titled, “The State of Logistics in Namibia: A Book Project Proposal”, was presented by Dr. Kenneth Odero earlier in the year. The necessity of measuring logistics performance derives from the notion that an efficient and competitive logistics sector is vital for Namibia’s economy and is an crucial component of international trade.
The state of Logistics in Namibia tracks, measures and analyses trends in all the critical areas of logistics value chain, including national and regional connectivity. It analyses and presents the direct and indirect impacts of logistics costs on price, trade, investments and industrialisation, among other key development objectives, as well as issue regular briefs, insights and reports.
Presenting on this topic, Dr. Odero said, Namibia’s state of Logistics will report annually on the size and contribution of the logistics industry, its linkages to business, both small and large, as well as on the implications of decisions, policies and regulation on logistics productivity.
According to Dr. Odero, “perhaps more important, the annual report will show how performance of the logistics sector impacts the economy via its many linkages with agriculture, construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retailing”.
In the second and well-attended seminar held last week, Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmidt from the Centre for Business and Technology in Africa based at the Flensburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany gave a thought provoking presentation on, “Logistics Analytics: From Traditional Reports to Big Data”.
Until recently, traditional reporting relied on data storage, retrieval and analysis at the operational level.
This resulted in fairly static or standard reports with predetermined format. The growing use of mobile business intelligence, cloud computing, predictive analytics, etc., is fast leading to self-service business intelligence. Allowing unprecedented capabilities to generate and store high-volume (megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, petabytes, ad finitum); high-velocity, high-variety; high-veracity; and high-value data sets (so-called “big data”). Prof. Schmidt’s seminar was followed by the launch of The Big Data Initiative (BDI) – a new NGCL collaborative research programme. Speaking at the launch, Dr. Odero said; “BDI explores how emerging trends in the application of big data are impacting logistics performance and competitiveness. Scientific and technological innovation leads to long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. Going forward, declining cost of transportation, logistics and global supply chains become more effective, and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth and development”.
According the Director, Logan Fransman, the NGCL Research Seminar Series is designed to discuss in-context research ideas oriented toward creating new knowledge and tools of long-term interest to students, faculty and the transport and logistics community of practice.

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