PhD Project: Funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC, UK), Doctoral Training Programme (DTP)
Seeing the future: forecasts and decision making in different operational environments
Inaccurate forecasting causes a wide range of problems across different industries. Most importantly, there is the issue of excessive inventories, which, if not managed appropriately can lead to tremendous unnecessary investments in stock, and obsolescence. Then, there is the issue of capacity. Forecasting of capacity is a major issue in engineering related disciplines, such as civil engineering. For example, there are concerns that supply chains will not have the capacity to deliver ambitious government investment in infrastructure. Both issues scale up to huge societal and economic costs at the macro level.
Forecasting can be managed via statistical techniques, or via sensing/judgemental approaches, or a combination. However, across industries and operational environments, the appropriate combination of such approaches is not clear, and judgemental processes are poorly understood. Building on some of our long term organisational collaborations, this project will involve close engagement with senior practitioners in Panalpina, Costain and Markes. These 3 organisations face very different forecasting environments, so we pose the following research question:
‘What forecasting approaches are appropriate for different operational environments?’
In addressing this question, the PhD project will build a link between Operations Research, Systems Engineering and Management. The student will be encouraged to spend periods of time based in each organisation, understanding their forecasting processes in-depth. It is expected that the research will deploy a multimethod research methodology using both qualitative and quantitative data collection.
The successful student will work closely with a leading team of academics, established organisational links, and director level input from organisations who will feed into a steering committee. You will also benefit by being embedded within the Panalpina Centre for Manufacturing and Logistics Research, an industry funded centre of excellence at Cardiff University, and opportunities arising from Costain’s award winning graduate scheme. This PhD prepares you for a future career in industry and/or academia.