Posts By lwoo034

Congratulations to the Summer Scholarship students

Big congratulations to the University of Auckland Business School students who have completed their work for the Summer Scholarships (giving them the chance to work with faculty members over the summer on some research projects). I was fortunate enough to supervise a project with Rikki Smith, who did an outstanding job on the project and displayed a high level of initiative and aptitude in her research work.

Great oral examation for his PhD – Congratulations, Linh Duong!

A couple of weeks ago, one of my students completed his oral examination, where he did a great job defending his research and work that he completed as part of his PhD. Congratulations – Linh Duong!

Linh has worked hard over several years on his project, entitled: A Multi-criteria Continuous Review Inventory Management System for Perishable & Substitutable Products.

This research is particularly interesting for those folk that manage perishable goods, whether these goods are foodstuffs or pharmaceuticals. A key element of the work was the inclusion of substitutability — a really important concept in contemporary business practice, where consumers are happy or willing to buy a substitute product if their preferred product is not in stock. The practical impact, from the perspective of those managing replenishment, is that ‘normal’ consumption of a product can be boosted if there is additional consumption driven by the substitution effect.

We had an enjoyable examination process. As usual, the Postgraduate Centre staff did a fantastic job setting everything up and ensuring that the process was seamless. The convenor walked us through the process earlier and did a great job during the examination itself. The oral examiners asked a range of interesting questions on a range of factors and issues in the thesis. Linh did a great job of addressing the questions and adding additional insight into the examiners’ understanding of the research.

Thank you, Linh, it was great working with you on the project and I’m sad to see this come to a close. Thanks also to Associate Professor William YC Wang, Linh’s other supervisor, who provided valuable support and assistance during the project.

Last week, another of our AUT PhD students also had a successful oral examination – congratulations to Freddie Mbuba! Congratulations also to his supervisors, Associate Professor William YC Wang and Dr Karin Olesen.

A great Transportation and Logistics Conference in Hsinchu


Linh N K DUONG presenting at the 6th Transportation and Logistics Conference in Hsinchu

Linh N K DUONG presenting at the 6th Transportation and Logistics Conference in Hsinchu

We have just finished the 6th Transportation and Logistics Conference, held at National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu. This was a great chance to catch up with Dr. Kuancheng HUANG, one of my friends, as he helped organise and host this great event. We had a range of presentations during the conference on a variety of transportation and logistics issues, including tracks on:

  • logistics policy
  • city logistics
  • data and information
  • container shipping
  • terminal and warehouse operation
  • cross-border and river transport
  • green logistics
  • intermodal and cross-border transport modelling
  • maritime logistics
  • aviation logistics
  • economics, industries, and supply chain

One of my students, Linh N K DUONG, did a great job presenting some research we have completed on transport-on-demand logistics.

After two full days of great presentations on some fascinating research, complemented with panel discussions and an engaging keynote by Prof Michael Bell, we had the technical tours on the final day. There were three locations that we could visit. In the morning you picked between either the Taipei Port (learning more about the Port Facilities and FTZ Operations) or the SYNNEX Distribution Center. In the afternoon, both groups combined at the Taoyuan International Airport where we learned more about the Air Cargo Facilities and the new T3 Project and associated planning. This technical tour opportunity capped off an excellent conference.

I’m looking forward to the next conference in 2018!

Site visit to the Auckland Airport

On 2016-07-19, my Global Operations Management class was bundled onto a bus and transported down to the Auckland Airport. When we arrived, we split into two groups for two separate sessions.

First – my group was given an overview presentation, focusing on the long-term growth and capacity management challenges facing the airport. This included an overview of the airport strategy for growth and an overview of expected increases in visitor numbers. The increase in tourism and the number of airlines flying into the airport was impressive, highlighting the role of the airport as a ‘gateway’ four many tourists as they visit the country. Some of the challenges of the growth were presented, including an overview of the different types of capacity and how some elements of the airport can have capacity added incrementally while others require more substantial capital expenditure and a significant increase in capacity all in one go.

Second – we received a short tour around the airport precinct. In this situation, we looked at the airport real estate holdings and developments, focusing on supporting a burgeoning commercial hub and the growth of companies. A range of different warehousing spaces were available, allowing firms to ‘grow’ and expand as they become more successful. We were also fortunate enough to have an overview of the operations centre, where they monitor the day-to-day operations within the terminals. Here, a range of cameras and dashboards are constantly monitored, allowing managers to re-allocate staff accordingly to bust queues and smooth the journey of passengers through the terminals as much as possible. Metrics and KPIs are displayed and used to improve the allocation of resources over the day.

A great big thanks to all the folk at the airport! The class and I really enjoyed the time we spent there.

Littlefield Labs simulations in our operations management classes

Another fun week and we were running the Littlefield Labs simulation in two of our operations management classes. First, in the Postgraduate Diploma class on Supply Chain Management, with a focus just on management of capacity with a scenario focused on queuing and leadtimes. Second, I run a scenario with my Global Operations Management class (in the Business Masters programme), focused on capacity management and the use of appropriate contracts given operational performance. It’s a great group of talented students so I’ve given them a reasonably challenging situation to keep them busy in the session. We run the in-class session over a 120-minute team-based learning (TBL) session, giving us plenty of time to get into the simulation. All the best to the students – it should keep them busy and entertained over the session!

Excellent student presentations

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the presentations from some of our students to an engineering firm. The students were tasked with examining the opportunities for the firm in the South East Asia region. Earlier, I was involved in providing some feedback to the students, and so it was encouraging to see the progress that some of the teams made. In particular, one of the teams that had earlier struggled managed to turn everything around and produce a carefully considered and beautiful presentation that conveyed their research very effectively.

There was a lot of interest evident from the three executives that judged. Their task was not made easy by the high quality of presentations.

It’s also important to note that the judges saw all presentations and these were not cherry-picked or a selection of only the strongest students.

If you want to know why you should be studying at the University of Auckland, you only need to see the standard of analysis and presentation from the students to understand what the Master of Management programme can offer. Congratulations to the students involved – it was very impressive work.

The new Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Applied Logistics

This year, I will be assuming the role of the next Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Applied Logistics (IJAL).

As noted in an introduction:

My goal is that a professional or manager reading the IJAL should be able to take away an understanding of how they can make a sustained improvement based on effective logistics. In the course of this journey, the IJAL should begin to push further in understanding how new logistics approaches fit within established theoretical frameworks and how frameworks must adapt to evolve accordingly to accommodate new practices and innovations.

Within the journal, I want to maintain a strong sense of application and benefit to those who will apply and use the research.

I’m also keen to hear from postgraduate researchers in logistics and supply chain topics who are keen to publish based on the research that they are undertaking. If this sounds like you – please get in touch.

Starting a new job in the Graduate School of Management at the University of Auckland

Early this year I started working as a Senior Lecturer in Supply Chain and Operations Management, within the Graduate School of Management at the University of Auckland. In this role, I lead classes focused on students in the Master of Management and international business specialisations. So far this has been lots of fun, and in particular the way in which the classes are split into three different types:

  • Plenary lectures – which comes complete with an ‘annotator’ allowing me to markup any slides or other material with pen marks, or use the ‘laser pointer’ mode to get a brief mark on the slide which disappears soon after. Image below – a cool toy! This makes some of the ideas easier to convey during the lectures.
  • Tutorials
  • Team-based learning … in a flexible and adaptable room with plenty of whiteboards for students to work on collaboratively


Big week and a few good publications submitted

It was a big week last week. We had some full-on workshops on research methods. On Friday Dr Torsten Reiners and I were able to submit several publications. We are at the point where the book we’ve been editing on gamification in education and business is with the publishers and we’re awaiting the proofs. Plenty going on and semester starting next week.

The Logistics Technology report for NZ has been released

We have just released the Logistics Technology report based on NZ companies in 2014 … head over to to download this now! Many firms are lagging in their application of technologies or are not making effective use of the technology they have access to. Firms that are moving ahead tend to be more aware of their technology investments and how these are being evaluated – Leaders use more metrics and have a focus wider than simply cost or accuracy focused measures. In the near future, such Leaders are intending to invest more heavily in materials handling technologies. Followers, on the other hand, are still making investments in more fundamental ERP and company-wide systems. The Leaders tend to invest more heavily in training related to technology and employ a wider range of training approaches including more formal educational pathways.