Logistics Lecture

The University of Wollongong is planning to develop the logistics industry’s knowledge infrastructure, explains Dr. Cedwyn Fernandes, the university’s chair of graduate studies.

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By  Robeel Haq Published  October 30, 2006

|~|Fernandes_HR2.jpg|~||~|As the logistics boom continues throughout the Middle East, the University of Wollongong in Dubai is planning to develop the industry’s knowledge infrastructure, explains Dr. Cedwyn Fernandes, the university’s chair of graduate studies.

The number of logistics-related courses offered by the University of Wollongong in Dubai is expected to increase significantly in the future. What prompted this decision?
Well, Dubai is gaining a solid reputation as the Middle East’s most prominent logistics hub. We want to bring a certain level of knowledge infrastructure into the industry, which is essential for future growth. This is basically an extension of the university’s work back in Australia, where we have established a dedicated centre to conduct research into supply chain management. The facility also hosts various executive seminars, guest speaker presentations and, once a year, it also hosts the Supply Chain Executive Forum.

What is the Supply Chain Executive Forum?
The forum basically helps executive management teams to identify and work through relevant supply chain issues. So instead of enrolling individuals into the programme, organisations can send a whole team of executives from different areas of the business, such as sales managers, marketing managers and logisticians. This gives a multiple perspective and each team member can analyse supply chain issues from different angles. It’s not simply aimed at people in the logistics industry, because that’s like preaching to the converted.

Are you planning to bring the Supply Chain Executive Forum to Dubai?
Yes. The Supply Chain Executive Forum has been running for three consecutive years in Australia. Now, the fourth one is being held this month in Dubai.

Do you have local industry players doing presentations at the event, or international ones?
One of the key things for the Dubai event is the mixture of expertise. We have brought local and international experts together, such as Michael Proffitt from Dubai Logistics City, Salma Hareb from Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), as well as John Gattorna and Martin Christopher from the Cranfield School of Management in the UK. These people have a lot of mileage in terms of their expertise and theories. Bringing them together really highlights the international role of Dubai as a logistics hub.

How will the University of Wollongong in Dubai continue to develop its range of courses in supply chain management?
The Supply Chain Executive Forum is not a standalone event. Ultimately, we plan to introduce a postgraduate course in logistics, which will be held in Dubai. We also want to establish a Dubai research centre for logistics, similar to the one in Australia. In addition, there will be more executive forum events, which will probably focus on narrower topics
in logistics and supply chain management.

Are many universities in the Middle East offering logistics courses?
In this region, there are currently no supply chain management courses recognised by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education. It is important to be accredited by the Ministry, because it shows your commitment to the Middle East. The accreditation process is very rigorous and ensures the standard of the course is very high quality. In fact, UAE nationals and Arabs in general will only enrol into accredited courses.

Why have you chosen logistics over other subject areas?
We believe that Dubai has two main drivers, one is tourism and the other is logistics. We looked at both and asked ourselves where we should focus. We have the expertise in logistics and the forthcoming Supply Chain Executive Forum is a great way to introduce ourselves to the regional logistics industry.

So, with plenty of interest in logistics at the moment, but a lack of educational courses, do you think this is perfect timing for your plans?
Yes. Logistics is booming and will play an important role in the university’s future growth. It’s about time companies realised that supply chain management is not some division in the basement – its much more important and if companies want to survive, they must understand that efficient logistics is essential to their business. In fact, our message is that the supply chain IS the business. We hope to position the University of Wollongong in Dubai at the forefront of this discipline.

The Supply Chain Executive Forum 2006 is taking place at Grosvenor House in Dubai on 13th –14th November 2006. For more information, please email SCEF@uowdubai.ac.ae||**||

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