Host a Cranfield supply chain management student

At Cranfield School of Management we believe that supply chain excellence is both a desirable and an achievable aspiration for all organisations. Each year we develop a large cohort of high calibre professionals through our Masters programmes in Logistics and Supply Chain Management as well as Procurement and Supply Chain Management. We invite you to partner with one of Europe’s leading business schools and achieve new business and supply chain insights by hosting one or several projects for our Masters students. The thesis projects give our students the opportunity to put into practice the learning they have gained at Cranfield and make a difference in real-life business environments like yours.

Benefits to your company

Thesis projects provide high quality research into areas that organisations may not have the time, resources or expertise to address independently.

  • Customised and objective research that is aligned with your business goals
  • Bright, motivated and dedicated students
  • Leading academics in logistics, procurement and supply chain management as project supervisors
  • Access to the latest research insights and practical approaches

Timeline and key dates

Each year, we seek projects from organisations for our students to be conducted during a four month period.

  • Early in the year: Submission deadline for project proposals
  • End of March: Students are allocated to projects and organisations are informed accordingly
  • End of April: Projects start, typically with a meeting between the student, the company sponsor and the Cranfield supervisor
  • End of August: Finish of projects and deadline for thesis hand-in

Student profiles

Our supply chain student cohorts at Cranfield generally comprise over 100 highly qualified individuals from over 20 countries each year.

  • All have a first degree from a reputable university or an equivalent professional qualification
  • Most will speak more than one language
  • Highly motivated individuals who want to apply their knowledge in practical environments
  • Our programmes meet the conditions for full membership for both The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) and a high proportion of our graduates will pursue memberships with both institutions

Cost of sponsoring a project

Thesis projects offer a low cost and flexible opportunity to conduct research in your organisation.  The following costs apply:

  • Project specific student expenses (e.g. travel between company locations and Cranfield or accommodation when away from Cranfield)

Project topics

Previous projects have covered a wide range of topics and students have worked successfully with organisations from various sectors, sizes, cultures and locations. The following are examples of topics that previous projects addressed and many other foci are possible.

  • Assess drivers and barriers to supply chain collaboration
  • Development of a corporate responsibility and sustainability agenda
  • Development of an inventory management model and simulation of scenarios
  • Lead time assessments to ensure on-time deliveries from overseas suppliers
  • Establish the environmental impacts of supply chain activities along with an improvement methodology
  • Evaluation of supply chain trends and their applicability to different sectors
  • Identify, evaluate and recommend opportunities for supply chain cost reductions
  • Mapping and simulation of internal and external inventory flows
  • Monitor the performance of customer relationships with key performance indicators
  • Reduction of carbon emissions in the logistics department
  • Optimisation of warehouses in terms of layout, space utilisation, and location
  • Process design to support the introduction of a new products and services
  • Supplier relationship management frameworks
  • Portfolio/spend analysis

Employer testimonials

Tullow Oil first sponsored two MSc students in 2018. At the time the SCM function in Tullow was considering implementing an ambitious change management programme, and as a company we were looking at alternative logistics strategies in support of our Kenya onshore development.

One student produced a thesis that looked into various logistics network designs for our Kenya development, and the second considered the pros and cons of digital software solutions, a key area of focus for us. We supported the students in terms of supplying data, arranging interviews with key stakeholders, and feeding back on preliminary conclusions reached, our effort versus the value derived was not significant.

We decided to sponsor two further projects in 2019, one evaluating the case for outsourcing procurement activities, and the second examining contract and supplier management best practice. We again obtained some valuable insights into the latest thinking.

The thesis is structured in a way that sets out both the latest academic research together with an analysis of current practice within your organisation. Comparing and contrasting the two can be very beneficial. I’ve also personally enjoyed my engagement with both the students and staff of Cranfield University. I highly recommend sponsoring an MSc student.

For some time our business has struggled to get a clear view on the correlation between production and inventory costs to identify the optimal batch size. Further difficulties came from unpredictable demands and seasonality of products.

The student delivered a mathematical model that presents a clear picture of the cost correlation and recommendations to reduce its cost to optimal. The Model also recommends a future state scenario to identify benefits from investment. The Model now being rolled out to other manufacturing areas in the UK and then to other Business units with Western Europe.

More information

For further information and for an informal discussion feel free to contact:

Dr Hendrik Reefke
Deputy Course Director, Full-time MSc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
T: +44(0)1234 751122
E: supplychainprojects@cranfield.ac.uk