Demand Management Research Solutions Group to Debut

MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics establishing forum to help companies address challenges in matching supply with demand

MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics establishing forum to help companies address challenges in matching supply with demand

Cambridge, MA — August 14, 2006 — The MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL) this month is launching a research project intended to help companies overcome one of the most difficult challenges they face today: how to match supply and demand in increasingly volatile markets.

The inability to accurately project market demand and deliver the right products when customers want to make a purchase is a major problem for companies in most industries. The trend towards offshore manufacturing, more fickle consumers and shorter product lifecycles are some of the factors that have made the task more difficult.

CTL suggests that there are countless examples of the high cost companies are paying for supply/demand mismatches, but the center offers one that is currently in the news: Ford's declining share of the U.S. auto market. The car manufacturer failed to anticipate the drop off in demand for some of its heavy vehicles and is supporting too much production capacity.

The new demand management project, to be launched at an executive roundtable this month in Chicago, will be headed by supply chain expert Dr. Larry Lapide, a research director at the MIT-CTL. He will inaugurate a research group of industry solutions providers at this month's roundtable by presenting the results of a market survey of demand management problems and solutions.

The event, "Demand Management: Managing Supply and Demand in Real-Time," will take place August 17-19 and will bring together a group of solution provider and end user executives to engage in a dialogue about these issues. The event also will provide a platform for the new demand management research group.

"Our plan is to organize a continuing research group to study the demand management practices and challenges of different kinds of industries in order to understand the underlying principles that influence them and to create advanced strategies by which they can optimally manage supply and demand over time," Lapide explained. The payback for companies could include increased profitability, more market share and improved customer service, according to Lapide.

Jennifer O'Grady, the organizer for the roundtable, said that this event will be the first step in launching the multi-year year demand management research initiative. "We anticipate that most of the executives participating at the roundtable will become charter members of the exclusive MIT Demand Management research and solutions community," O'Grady said. "This is a very influential group, and collectively they have the ability to dramatically impact the way companies manage demand.

"The opportunity to interact with the best minds from the companies that serve as the vanguard of the supply chain management field, early access to bleeding-edge research and the ability to help steer the ongoing direction and focus of important research are all very exciting benefits. We expect this to be a very powerful session," O'Grady said.

Interested parties can contact O'Grady at [email protected].

Additional Articles of Interest

— Supply chain executives are facing a skills gap that could hinder their companies' ability to compete in an increasingly fast-moving global economy. Here's what Supply & Demand Chain Executive is doing about it. Read "Warning Signs," the Executive Memo column in the June/July 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— Read about one high-tech manufacturer's quest to deliver near-perfect fill rates across its global service organization in "Managing a Global Supply Chain in a 'Flat' World," from the June/July 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.