Sunderesh S. Heragu
Director, Logistics and Distribution Institute (LoDI)
Mary Lee and George F. Duthie Chair in Engineering Logistics
Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering
Site Director, Center for Engineering Logistics and Distribution (CELDi)
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292
Logistics and distribution was identified as an area of thrust for the University of Louisville (UofL) and LoDI was established as an Institute formally in 1998 with significant funding from the University. I am LoDI’s fourth Director and hope to further the cause of logistics and distribution at UofL for the benefit of UofL as well as area companies. In the past, LoDI’s focus has been to promote educational activities in the area of logistics, but now has a research-oriented mission.
LoDI has transformed itself into a new, major research center at the University of Louisville with a specific aim to develop new models, technologies and decision support systems that will help the private and public sectors cope with the dramatic changes taking place in the logistics and distribution industry.
Logistics and distribution is a significant part of the ever increasing service sector of the US economy. At $1.3 trillion in 2006, it represents 9.9% of the US gross domestic product and is four times that size worldwide. Many sectors of the LoDI economy are exploding. For example, US companies in the third party logistics business had revenues exceeding $100 billion in 2005. This industry alone has seen 14% compounded annual growth since 1996.
Louisville and the Kentuckiana region are also seeing increased logistical activity. With a (second) one billion dollar investment, UPS has significantly expanded its operations in the 3,000,000 square-feet facility. The greater Louisville area is sometimes referred to as the ‘auto alley’ due to the fact that 10% of the cars and trucks sold in the US are produced in and around Louisville. Many auto suppliers for the Toyota, Corvette, Ford and other area assembly plants are also located in the vicinity. Louisville itself is a major metropolitan city within 600 miles of two-thirds of the US population and considered an important logistics hub.
LoDI is developing mechanisms of high value to companies in the private and public sector using funds from external sources - federal and corporate - for sponsored research projects. These projects are tailored to meet the needs of the industry in the private and public sectors and advance institute goals. Current research projects can be found here.
In addition to its research focus, LoDI is involved in many other activities including:
- Offering short courses, training sessions, workshops and seminars specifically targeted towards supporting metro Louisville and Kentucky area companies and organizations
- Offering four-year fellowships to students pursuing research in logistics and distribution
Hosting a seminar series and inviting external speakers from academia and industry to provide higher level, state of the art information about the research and practice of logistics and distribution
- Organizing and delivering a series of three, high quality, two-day long, international conferences on logistics, distribution and supply chain management over the next six years
- Forging collaborations with similar centers and institutes around the world and help establish it as center with international reach and impact
The agenda and activities may seem ambitious, but with the participation of our top-notch faculty across multiple schools and colleges, graduate students, and area company managers and professionals, we have made great progress in achieving the goals that make all stakeholders proud.
If you have ideas or suggestions on how we can make LoDI work for all of us, don’t hesitate to email me or call me.