“By writing my Master’s thesis I am contributing to the solution of a pressing societal problem”
Marenne Gevers, Master’s student of Supply Chain Management, for the writing of her Master’s thesis decided to join COMPOSE, a multi-disciplinary research project set up to optimize transportation through collaboration. Fourteen Tilburg students, from the programs of Law, Social Psychology, and Econometrics & Supply Chain Management, are taking part in this project.
Students of Tilburg University that have joined COMPOSE write their Master’s thesis in the framework of this project. For her thesis, Marenne went looking for partners to join her internship company, to subsequently together develop a strategy for optimizing transportation. Collaboration in the field of logistics has two major advantages: it is cost-efficient and it reduces carbon emissions.
“At the moment, one in five trucks on the road is running empty”, Marenne explains. “The problem lies with the hauling companies, but that does not mean that shipping companies cannot initiate a change here as well. Many companies are trying to solve this problem internally, but by collaborating with other shippers they can cut costs and reduce carbon emissions.”
“It struck me that in many companies sustainability still is not a priority. A number of times I have heard companies say they applaud the initiative, but do not feel they need to pursue it yet. I think we can bring about a change there if our project shows how successful and useful it can be to engage in collaboration, for the companies themselves as well as for the environment.”
Marenne points out that students can learn a lot from working in a multi-disciplinary project like COMPOSE. “We get together once every two months, all the teachers, the students, and the external party Evofenedex. We discuss our results and we help each other. We all work on solving the same societal problem, but we do so from different angles. It is interesting to see how students from other disciplines approach the problem; you learn a lot from each other.”
In COMPOSE, Tilburg University and employers association Evofenedex join forces to improve collaboration within the logistics field and optimize transportation. Together, they are developing a digital platform where companies can find each other and enter into a strategic alliance. On the basis of their company profile and their transportation network, companies are matched with potential partners. Strategic alliances can make the transportation sector more sustainable. In Marenne’s opinion, that is where the future for her discipline lies: ‘For the optimization of transportation, it is extremely important for companies to enter into strategic alliances. And this also goes for large-scale companies.” The way COMPOSE works is a case in point in this regard. Not only do scientific disciplines collaborate in it; there is also a collaboration between science and business practice.
“By joining COMPOSE, I come into contact with students from other disciplines, who look at the problem from different angles. You learn a lot from that. We all contribute in some small way to the solution of a pressing societal problem. I really enjoy the idea that the results of my thesis research can actually be used. I would definitely recommend joining this project to other students!”
This project is a good example of the Tilburg Educational Profile: Students are taught to think critically about and work on complex problems in a changing society. As a young professional, they will be able to use their knowledge, skills, and character to contribute to society.