30 May 2022 |
Research article |
Sensors, Networks and Connectivity
How to Deal with Critical Supply Chains
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If the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted one major problem, it is the vulnerability of supply chains. Professor Tasseda Boukherroub is passionate about this issue, and aims to integrate the principles of sustainable development into the mix.
The young researcher in the Department of Systems Engineering is working on the optimization and planning of supply chains and related operations in a manufacturing or service context. She developed the ability to observe and analyze economic, environmental and social aspects all at the same time.
“Times have changed: before, we were called upon to improve productivity, reduce production costs and maximize profits. Now, we must integrate environmental and social perspectives into the decision-making tools we develop.”
And, with a smile, she gives examples of the kind of supply chain design model that includes optimizing flow between locations, and the quantities to be manufactured, transported and distributed.
From Forest Products to Face Masks
While her postdoctoral work focused on decision processes related to forest product procurement, Tasseda Boukherroub has more recently turned her attention to the issues involved in the recycling of masks.
With her colleague Lucas Hof and their students, she is examining the supply chain of the ubiquitous mask, in order to develop a new model integrating reverse logistics (used mask collection and recycling). This new model will have to minimize costs and the carbon footprint while demonstrating the pros and cons of using local, Asian or Mexican suppliers.
An improvement in these sustainable sourcing optimization models is within reach for all kinds of organizations. “As these are universal issues, our models are applicable, albeit adaptable to certain specificities, to any type of industry.”
Pushing Boundaries with Pride
Taking on challenges and exploring new avenues is what energizes and motivates Tasseda Boukherroub. And she wants to convey this passion. “I like to help students discover research, to support them in developing scientific work methods and thus contribute to bigger things.”
She also enjoys showcasing research and methodology through publications. “I love lectures and seminars, where you can discuss with colleagues, inspire others and, at times, witness the amazement in industrial partners when they see your actual results!’
Working and exchanging with students provides a great source of inspiration and motivation for her. ‘I wish someone had told me to believe in myself during my studies. That’s what I tell students, because it’s easy to lose track in research projects that are long-term processes.’
Above all, she wants to say that she is proud of the results. As she tells her students: ‘Be proud of your accomplishments!’