DENTON (UNT), Texas -- A new Complex Logistics Systems Laboratory in the University of North Texas College of Business allows students and faculty members to partner with logistics companies to engage in applied research that could help companies more efficiently manage the distribution of goods and services and cut costs.
The lab in UNT's Business Leadership Building offers interactive logistics simulation, business intelligence, data visualization and complex logistics systems modeling, including 3D modeling.
"The purpose of this lab is to have an impact on society," said Dr. Brian Sauser, director of the Complex Logistics Systems Lab and associate professor of logistics in the UNT College of Business. "The research conducted by our students who are working with industry partners could make more efficient supply chains and cut costs for companies, potentially saving consumers money."
Undergraduate and graduate students in the UNT College of Business can apply what they learn in the classroom by using the lab's six computer workstations and two 70-inch touchscreen monitors to create simulation models and find more efficient solutions for the logistics industry. Using state-of-the-art software, they can create a simulation model that, for instance, shows the effects of severe weather on ships or trucks distributing goods across global routes.
Potentially, the lab could provide training to industry employees who want to implement simulation and modeling techniques in their own companies, Sauser said.
"We are allowing people to recreate and duplicate scenarios and change them each time to consider different solutions," Sauser said. "As it's a simulation, it's done in an environment with minimal risk."
The lab was created with the help of donations from industry sponsors: Williamson-Dickie, FQ Logistics, Intermodal Association of North America and Mohr Partners.
"Williamson-Dickie Mfg. was pleased to invest in the development of the Complex Logistics Systems Lab because it will be a unique asset that brings industry and academia together to address some of the tough problems in logistics," said Joe Raines, chief supply chain officer of Williamson-Dickie Mfg.
Greyhound and Mohr Partners are collaborating with the lab for research projects. For Greyhound, UNT faculty members and students are evaluating the life cycle of a bus to determine ways to reduce the cost to consumers and reduce the impact on the environment – while giving doctoral students hands-on research experience.
"The logistics program at UNT was recently ranked as the No. 6 program in the U.S.," said Dr. Thomas McCoy, vice president for research and economic development at UNT. "The addition of the Complex Logistics System Lab will certainly help enhance that ranking. More importantly, this lab will enable UNT to provide valuable solutions to regional and national logistics issues. I applaud the efforts of the faculty who have brought this lab to fruition."
The lab is an extension of the Center for Logistics Education and Research at UNT.
"The center's board of directors' member companies have been financially supportive of the lab for both equipment and research opportunities," said Dr. Terry Pohlen, director of the Center for Logistics Education and Research at UNT. "Our strong industry partnerships have made this opportunity possible, enhancing our research capabilities and learning opportunities for our students."
About UNT's College of Business
With more than 5,500 students, UNT's College of Business is one of the largest business schools in the nation and has been continuously accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International since 1961.
With 103 full-time faculty members, the college offers 16 undergraduate degrees, 22 master's degrees, seven doctoral programs and 17 certificate programs. Three centers and institutes in the College of Business create synergy among scholarship, research and teaching. Classes take place in the 180,000-square-foot Business Leadership Building, which opened in 2011.
Students enhance their learning experience through student organizations, study abroad programs, internships and the Professional Leadership Program to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today's technological and global business environment.