Jos Van Hillegersberg

Jos Van Hillegersberg

I'm a professor in Business Information Systems at the University of Twente. I love to research and design innovative and sustainable business using new ICT. Lead educator of the SC Innovation Course

Location Enschede, Twente, The Netherlands


  • For sure both are needed. The consumer usually has a choice, unless regulation comes in the sets the rules and standards

  • Yes, Amazon is an amazing story! However, keep in mind that Amazon is mostly profitable in North America and in selling cloud and IT ecommerce services. Still, they are very innovative in setting up their warehouses and transport network

  • Interesting example as their supply chain is facing a lot of uncertainty as well

  • Good point, supermarkets and new online retailers are still struggeling to make home delivery sustainable and affordable. Many innovations are needed. Eventually, they could lead to less food waste, however, I think this would require more innovations in home delivery services and use of sustainable packaging and bundling of deliveries

  • Very true. Humanitarian supply chains are often set-up by NGO's and charities. They are also building up supply chain competencies and embracing innovations to provide aid much faster to the right places and people. E.g. we recently started a collaboratoin with WingsForAid, and organization that works on deploying drones to improve last mile deliveries in...

  • Yes very true, mobile technology has revolutionized supply chains in only a few decades

  • Good example, LSPs are under a lot of pressure to increase performance. Large retailers may insource deliveries and start their own transport network. However, this is not for everybody so I think there will be a market for specilized and well performing LSPs. However, many can learn a lot from the level of automation and customer focus of some of the online...

  • nice exmplae, through informatoin sharing you can improve demand forecast of the various book titles and ensure in time delivery

  • Great! I hope you managed to reduced waste using these advanced techniques!

  • Interesting example! Local supply chains as you mention are gaining momentum. When you consume less, you can afford to pay a bit more for local

  • We carried out several projects with defense. There are some similarities to commercial supply chains, but there are also unique challenges, such as the unknown locations where "peace keeping operations" will be carried out. Wear of equipment and demand of supplies highly depend on the nature of the operation, so the military defense supply chain has to be...

  • good example, meal boxes are an interesting alternative to reduce wasted and help consumers to re-think their menu. On the other hand, the distribution networks could be less efficient. Here I have not seen balanced comparisons. Would be a complex, but interesting project to carry out!

  • great example. Only by adopting a supply chain view, the consumer can be empowered to influence and support sustainable agriculture. Currently the margins are often too small at the farmers end of the supply chain to really invest in sustainability. Lucily slowly more information is available on farming practices nad food multinationals and retailers are...

  • Holidays are a great time to reflect on supply chain structure. While in Venice, I noticed how much of last mile deliveries happen over waterways and canals. At the same time, the threat of the rising sea level is very present and alarming. However, don't forget to also enjoy vacation time and think about nothing ;-)

  • Yes, these are hard to combine. I am curious if AI is of help to meet these challenges!

  • Interesting example, there is a lot of innovation happening in this area and still so much improvement needed. Finally, competitors are starting to work together to bundle last mile deliveries

  • Brexit is another example of how challenging it is to manage a supply chain, especially in the transition to new agreements

  • next to connectivity you would probably also need some diagnostic and service software and service contract?

  • Great example. Circularity is now on the radar of more and more companies. I hope the right contracts, metrics etc. could be put in place to ensure the return flows!

  • fascinating example! Prediction of both demand and supply in such supply chains can be challenging, and machine learning may be of help.

  • Even local online retail supply chain can be complex if you really want end-to-end visibility. Simple local supply chains are an exception but do exist, e.g. a local craftsman that makes products from locally available raw materials

  • I completely agree. Most consumers (and even businesses) are not aware of the supply chain structure and thus cannot make informed decisions

  • It is a continuous journey of partly automating jobs and partly upgrading jobs. Jobs dissapear and new jobs are created. We now witness a shortage of people in supply chain skills again. I am curious to hear if you manage to automate (part of) your own job!

  • Nice to hear from you Joni, wow already 10 years ago!

  • Definitely a challenging area. In addition to the challenges you mention, there is also varying regulation (e.g. consumer rights for product returns) and national tax differences. Product quality and safety standards may also differ per national market. Finally sustainability concerns will become more of an issue. Still, cross border ecommerce will grow as...

  • I trust you will find useful ideas in this course. We do not have examples specifically from chemical engineering, but thinking about supply chain innovation and seeing examples from other industries can be a source of inspiration for you

  • Exactly. In many countries labour shortages in the logistics sector are predicted. The growth of E-commerce creates new demand in last mile distribution. To deal with demand, alternative models can be tried. For example, dynamic pricing of delivery time slots to encourage bundling, but also the use of lockers for delivery in shopping centers and offices e.g....

  • Welcome to all course participants! I am happy you are interested in this topic. I will be following your discussions and feedback and hope you will have a great learning experience. I also hope you can apply the contents in your current or future projects!

  • thank you for your comment. We try to stress that sustainability is a key factor and value has many more aspects than only the financial dimension. In week 2 we will spend more time on sustainability

  • thank you for your comment. We show examples from leading companies in supply chain like Unilver and Kuehne and Nagel as practices to learn from. Hopefully some of these can be an inspiration to be applied in small and medium sized business. Also a lot of innovative practices can be found in small and medium sized business. They may even innovate faster as...

  • thanks for your comments. Great to hear you like to course and learn from its contents and discussions. I agree the first question regarding economies of scale needs a better alternative than the current option. Thank you for your feedback

  • thank you for your comment. I agree that value chain or even value network would better describe what is happening. However, we sticked to supply chain as this is still the dominant term. It should really be understood as a value network today.

  • thank you for your comment. This is indeed a controversial topic. Later in this course we discuss various approaches to this. Technological solutions that only required partial information sharing are a possibility. 3rd party operated hubs, market or control tower are another option.

  • thank you for your comment. I agree that TMS offer this type of functionality but they usually only span a single company. To achieve further efficiencies TMS systems of multiple companies need to be connected. This is also starting to happen through transport markets and in control towers (later in this course we will give some examples). However, as long as...

  • Yes it is similar to what large global courier service are doing, but most logistics are handled by multiple companies and lot of sub optimal solutions are chosen as there is no overall coordination and each company optimazes based on its own limited information and individual goals

  • it is certainly not yet there. It is a vision. Elements that can make it possible are starting to appear such as Internet of Things technologies that enables tracing of shipments in real time. Today, in physical shipments, route legs are often pre-planned. Delivery times are set in advance and there is little or no flexibility. In comparison, in the...

  • Thank you for your comment, we spend some time on ERP in the coming weeks of this course

  • thank you for your comment. It is clearly not a straightforward issue. Local production could be less sustainable than production abroad, for example if local production needs to take place in a greenhouse whereas the climate abroad may be more favorable. In such cases transport, storage and handling costs need to be compared for both supply chains. The...

  • Agree, there is usually a lot of potential for these type of technologies that will get more attention in week 2,3 and 4 of this course

  • Good dicsussion and a very relevant link also, thanks!

  • Certainly! However, sustainability can often go hand in hand with the most efficient and effective supply chain. Especially when the full life cycle cost are considered this can be the case. Sustainability thus is not necessarily a cost factor. Also, customers are often willing to pay some premium for a sustainable product or service. Next week in this course...

  • Welcome to all of you! It is great to see you have started the introductory week and are all eager to learn and share ideas. I am excited to see such a great variety of backgrounds, nationalities, industry sectors and motivations. You all share the ambition to learn more about this topic and develop and apply new ideas. That's what our team hoped for when we...