Keynote Speakers

Professor Michael Bourlakis


Director of Research for Cranfield School of Management, Group Head (Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management)


Director of Centre for Logistics & Supply Chain Management


Professor Michael Bourlakis holds the Chair in Logistics & Supply Chain Management. He is the Director of Research for Cranfield School of Management, the Head of the Logistics, Procurement & Supply Chain Management Group and the Director of the Centre of Logistics & Supply Chain Management. He was appointed at Cranfield School of Management in 2013. Previously, he worked at Brunel University Business School (Leadership Roles: Director of Postgraduate Studies for 7 MSc programmes, “Impact” Champion for REF2014, Director of OASIS Research Centre), Kent University Business School (Leadership Roles: Head of Marketing and Supply Chain Management Group, Director of Enterprise), Newcastle University (Leadership Roles: Director of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes), Oxford University Templeton College (Oxford Institute of Retail Management), Leicester University Management Centre. Professor Michael Bourlakis has generated more than 250 publications including 63 journal papers and 3 edited books. He sits on the Editorial Board of 15 journals including most leading logistics, supply chain and operations management journals (e.g. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Production, Planning and Control: The Management of Operations, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, International Journal of Logistics Management etc.). Michael has been a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Logistics: Research & Applications. He has also acted 11 times as the Guest Editor for journal special issues (European Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Production Planning & Control, Technological Forecasting & Social Change etc.). Based on this extensive expertise, Professor Bourlakis acted as an Expert Advisor for the CABS / ABS Journal Ranking List (2015).

Title “Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities in the E-Commerce and B2B Logistics landscape”

Abstract: Modern e-commerce businesses must be able to network online, deliver products and continue to be agile and efficient. Equally, digitalisation and relevant technologies (AI, IoT, Big Data, automation, robotics etc.) related to e-commerce act as a disruptive force throughout the B2C and B2B world. The presentation will analyse those issues and illustrate an archetype of B2B companies operating in the global e-commerce arena. It is based on work commissioned by DHL Express to Cranfield School of Management and led by Professor Michael Bourlakis



Dr. Li Zhou

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Systems Management & Strategy Department
Faculty of Business, University of Greenwich



Dr Li Zhou is a reader in the Department of Systems Management & Strategy, Business School, University of Greenwich. She has been a member of the faculty since July 2005, and she is the founder and director of the Supply Chain Management research group at the Business School.

Li received a BSc and an MSc in Engineering, and a PhD in Management Science and Engineering. Prior to joining the University of Greenwich, She was a post-doctoral researcher at Logistics Systems Dynamics Group (LSDG), Business School, Cardiff University, UK; a visiting scholar at the Department of Production Economics, Linköping Institute of Technology, Sweden; an associate professor and an associate dean in the Institute of Industrial Automation, Nanchang University, China.

She has had excellent opportunities to teach a variety of courses and do research in different universities in China, Sweden and the UK. During over 20 years in the profession, she has taught at levels ranging from part-time adult education to full-time undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD supervision. Currently, she leads and teaches the courses of ‘Purchasing and Distribution’, ‘International Purchasing and Procurement’, ‘Research Methods and Foundation of Scholarship’, and ‘Dissertation’.  She is the first supervisor for three PhD candidates and second supervisor for three PhD candidates as well.

Li has acted in several different leadership roles during her international career, ranging from project leadership to team leader and team member in a number of projects funded by the Chinese government, the Swedish Institute, and enterprises. These projects range from product design to education and management consulting. She therefore has accumulated a wealth of experience working with industry partners and acquired a real view of the manufacturing process starting from product design, purchasing, production, to marketing, and to recycling, where the operations management concept embeds in each stage.

So far, she has had over 70 articles published in various forms including journal papers, edited book chapters, and conference papers. Her work appears (inter alia) in internationally recognised and high-impact journals such as “International Journal of Production Economics”, “OR Spectrum”, “OMEGA – The International Journal of Management Science”, and “Supply Chain Management: An International Journal”.

Li is a regular reviewer for a number of international journals and an invited reviewer for some funding bodies. She is a frequent contributor to professional institutes and educational organisations.

TitleSupply Chain Management in the Context of Industry 4.0: Challenges and Opportunities

Abstract: Industry 4.0, i.e. smart manufacturing, was proposed first time at Hannover Messe, Germany, in 2011. It is a transformation from conventional centralized control to decentralized self-adaptive control. The goal is to establish a highly flexible production mode of individualized and digital products and services. In this model, traditional industry boundaries will disappear, and new areas of activity and forms of cooperation will emerge. The process of creating new value is changing, and the division of labour in the industrial chain will be restructured. All of this bring a number of challenges and opportunities at same time from operations management perspective. The purpose of this talk is to share our vision on Industry 4.0 from operational research aspect, more importunately, to stimulate discussion on where operations management and research go next in the context of Industry 4.0. This talk starts from comparing three nations’ strategies in responding to digitalising manufacture, i.e. Germany, USA and China; then discussing the key technical framework of Cyber-Physical System proposed by Lee (2015), which leads to the development of framework of building capability and its application. Based on the late framework, operational challenges and opportunities are identified. Finally, an eco-system of Industry 4.0 is proposed.


Professor M. Juwet  

OP-professor Faculty of Engineering Technology, Leuven University

Coordinator of research on technology for logistics at Technology Campus Gent




Prof. Juwet is the coordinator of research on technology for logistics at Technology Campus Gent.  Research topics include packaging technology, in-house transport systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, sorting and shipping equipment, commercial vehicles and last mile delivery.

Prof. Juwet is the author of 10 books on Strength of materials, Use of finite element method, kinematics and dynamics, machine design, cargo transport vehicles. He holds more than 20 patents and has been the coordinator of over 100 research and development projects in close cooperation with industrial partners.

He is an appreciated speaker at international conferences worldwide. He acts as an expert for the European Commission for topics related to transport safety. In 2017 he was awarded the “Eumos safe logistics award” for his contribution to safer transport in Europe.

Title: Trasport Safety

Abstract: Every minute people are killed or severely injured on our roads. About 25% of the casualties is related to transport of goods. This is a shared responsibility of all parties involved, including the consignors and shippers of goods. A very important element of transport safety is the packaging and the securing of the goods on or in the vehicle. Horizontal dynamic effects during transport can cause the driver to lose control over the vehicle.  However it is very difficult to convince industry to invest in better packaging and securing of goods just to reduce the risk of an accident.

Research at KU Leuven shows that these horizontal dynamic effects during transport also cause very considerable product damage. A methodology to improve packaging is developed at KU Leuven. The new methodology is being adopted by multinationals worldwide. In specific cases product damage is registered before and after the packaging improvement. They show that an improved packaging reduces product damage by 50 to 75%. In most cases improving product packaging does not include additional costs. Therefore even a small reduction of the damage rate contributes to the profit margin of a company. Industry is very sensitive to this argument and as a side effect transport safety is increased.