2019-2020 Master Thesis Topics

Service supply chains are often consideres as an important source for revenue generation. Perhaps particularly for complex products, the design of after-market services can enhance customer loyalty and entail a certain amount of market power for the supplier. In addition, when customers are repeating their purchases of the items in question (cars in this case), the quality of the after-market service may be important when considering to purchase the same car brand again or not, There are various ways of performing after-market service. In the automotive industry there may, roughly speaking, be two Extremes. Tesla (perhaps the most well-known electric car maker) has a highly centralized system whereas the main players in the automotive industry (with Toyota as an example) has a decentralized system. This may cause differences for the customer in terms of being a part of the service supply chain. The thesis may focus on electric cars. However, apart from the engines and other parts of the drivetrain there are reasons to believe that the need for service on other parts of the car remains the same for an electric car as compared with a petrol/diesel/hybrid car. So it may or may not be necessary to focus on electric cars only when comparing Tesla with one of the "mainstream" car makers.

Service supply chains in the automotive industry and customer satisfaction: A comparative study of the service supply chains of Tesla and (e. g.) Toyota

2018_001

Supply Chain Management

Svein Bråthen

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Grocery shopping is one of the most basic elements of consumer behavior. The thesis investigates the present grocery shopping activities in terms of their fundamental components: channel (on line, off-line), product categories, quantity and characteristics, frequency, motivations, etc. In particular, the issue of pick-up/delivery is investigated in depth to discover the transport and environmental issue related to this phenomenon. The analysis should also consider the socio-demographic characteristics of the consumers and correlate them to the main behavioral categories. The results of the research will be fundamental to define the status quo situation with respect to the upcoming changes in business model implementations that the major players (e.g. pure e-players, brick & mortar and Omni channel) are bringing on the market and to estimate their likely impact on congestion, environment and consumer welfare.

 

The candidate will have both to use the available data sources while also integrate them with primary data acquisition using ad-hoc developed questionnaires. The investigations should cover both end consumers’ behavior as well as retailers activities linked to the supplying of groceries.

Reconstructing and analyzing grocery shopping behavior in Norway

2018_007

Transportation Economics

Edoardo Marcucci

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Home deliveries are the preferred delivery option of online consumers but they are not sustainable in the long term. They are very expensive and increase freight traffic while not necessarily decreasing shopping travel. Deliveries to a locker in an automated parcel station (APS) could be a more sustainable alternative but this solution is not very popular. Only a small percentage of online consumers had at least one delivery delivered to such a locker in 2015. This thesis investigates: a) how citizens perceive this solution, b) what they like and dislike about it, c) how their perception depends on their location and availability, d) what is the role of ancillary services linked to this type of delivery. The candidate will have to define and carry out a filed survey to acquire the necessary data and elaborate them to determine the main drivers capable of explaining consumers’ perception of this delivery/pickup technique. The results derived will be useful to determine the relative attractiveness of the delivery/pickup technique with respect to various e-commerce-related items and, possibly, estimate the environmental, economic and financial implications this might have.

 

The goal is to provide support for decision making by offering a consumer perspective. From this perspective, the thesis should provide recommendations of how public procurement of parcel lockers can be conducted, in terms of developing specifications.

The role of automated parcel lockers in e-commerce pickup/deliveries

2018_008

Transportation Economics

Edoardo Marcucci

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In the ICT age, E-grocery shopping becomes a realistic opportunity and affects consumers and retailers globally. With respect to this trend, one should try to predict how grocery shopping behaviour will change according specific items characterising this peculiar activity (e.g. what do I buy, how frequently I buy it, how close is the supermarket, how much does it cost me to get to the supermarket, which are the product available on-line, how easy is to get them delivered to my house, etc.) in Norway.

 

The thesis should focus on understanding the factors that account for variations in shopping behavior across households. The thesis will have to estimate the changes in a typical household grocery behavior pattern given a potential supply scenario (e.g. availability, under different conditions of home delivery services, click and pick services, automated parcel locker availability, etc.). The level of changes will need to consider: 1) buying frequency, 2) shopping chart composition; 3) mix of alternative channel choice in a given time unit (e.g. week, month, fortnight, etc.)

 

Additionally the thesis could/should also investigate the role the Public Administration can/will play in governing the process and avoiding the potential market coordination failures.

Analyzing and forecasting grocery shopping behavior in Norway

2018_009

Transportation Economics

Edoardo Marcucci

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Several logistical challenges can be modelled as pure binary integer programming (BIP) problems. Examples include facility location problems, cutting stock problems, and airline crew scheduling, in addition to many other planning problems. The resulting problems are hard to solve, and heuristic solution methods are often developed for the particular problem class at hand. Few attempts have been made to create heuristic solvers for the general BIP, even though such solvers could be very useful. This topic is suitable for a group of students with good programming skills and a willingness to learn more about heuristic solution methods.

Heuristics for Binary Integer Programming Problems

2018_015

Optimization

Lars Magnus Hvattum

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The inventory routing problem (IRP) arises when a company is responsible for the transporting of goods from a production site to consumption sites, as well as maintaining proper inventory levels throughout the supply chain. Speed optimization is a hot topic in the context of maritime transportation, where the idea is that adjusting the speed of vessels on different sailing legs can result in reduced fuel consumption and therefore less cost. A recent Masters thesis here in Molde has shown that it makes sense to consider the fuel consumption as a function of both the speed and the load of the vessel. This makes the problem hard to solve. We may therefore want both to find better ways of approximating the non-linearity introduced by the fuel consumption function, to solve the problem to optimality, and to develop good heuristic solution methods that can find good feasible solutions for larger instances of maritime IRPs.

Speed optimization in maritime inventory routing

2018_016

Optimization

Lars Magnus Hvattum

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The information age has increased the use of internet by people. At present, people have started to shop consistently online including groceries. The online stores provide different options for the shipment of goods such as pick up from a local store, pick up from a general point, and home delivery. During a purchase, many people post their opinions online in social media while companies also post different offers for online purchasing. This provides a lot of unexplored information which, when converted to knowledge will help to shape the logistical movement of the future. In short, the thesis is designed with the use of text mining concept to understand and predict the future of logistics movement in online grocery shopping.

E-groceries, purhcasing behaviour and sentiment analysis

2018_020

Urban freight transportation

Edoardo Marcucci

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Payable user costs of passenger air transport come in multiple forms. Traveller are typically most concerned with airfares and their sub-components such as fees and taxes. In a ‘door-to-door perspective’, however, other cost elements - such as airport parking fees - might substantially impact generalized travel costs and hence might affect individuals’ travel decisions.

 

A brief internet search reveals that airport parking fees vary considerably among different airports. For example, the lowest rates for a one-day ticket at the nearby airports of Kristiansund, Molde and Ælesund (all Avinor) range between 100 and 195 NOK. Multiple factors such as airport location relative to settlement structures, the (non-) existence of public transport services or competition among airport parking providers might explain the differences.

 

The interested student(s) could analyze different pricing policies and/or compare the policies of different airports/in different countries (e.g. price level; price discrimination; dynamic pricing) and/or derive recommendations (when and where [which channel] to ‘best’ book parking [price-conscious traveller]) and/or model the underlying causal relationships (econometric model, what drives parking fees?).

 

The interested student(s) is/are required to contact me before completing the ‘Thesis topic selection form’.

Airport parking charges: policies, pricing mechanisms and key drivers

2019_001

Transportation

Falko Müller

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RamBase Cloud ERP is a Norwegian software as a service for manufacturing and wholesale organizations. It's in the cloud, everything integrates, and all processes connect. RamBase has been created for businesses with rigorous requirements for profitability, quality, traceability and documentation.

 

We invite students for discussions about different possibilities. We envision studies that may be linked to identifying best practices as they appear in the literature, as well as gathering information from companies that use RamBase or organizations in our target segments. Information can be gathered by studying work processes in a company, conducting structured interviews, or conducting surveys.

 

Subjects of interest can be:

• Sales and operations planning processes

• Forecasting

• Inventory management

• Distribution planning for multi warehouse operations

• Distribution planning for multi facility manufacturing and warehousing

• Customer integration practices

• Supplier integration practices

• Service delivery in manufacturing organizations

• Project planning and execution in manufacturing organizations

• Benefit realization – ERP-system implementation

• System implementation practices

 

We are open for suggestions based on students’ areas of interests, and we are looking for resourceful students to expand our horizons. Check out rambase.com for additional information or contact us for further discussions.

Thorvald Gundersen

thorvald.gundersen@hatteland.com

Jakab Hatteland Computer AS - RamBase

2019_002

Supply Chain Management/Optimization

Berit Irene Helgheim

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Contact Details:

Alego Development AS (Ltd) designs and develops modular ships and will be running a shipping company in Nigeria, for distribution of goods using the inland waterways, in the Niger delta and into the hinterland in Nigeria.

 

https://www.alego.no/modular-ships

Production of the modules will be done in Asia (Vietnam and/ or India) so this includes the project logistics on-site and the transportation preparation and packing of ready modules to Nigeria.

Packing problem

2019_008

Operations Research

Berit Irene Helgheim

Field of Study:

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Alego Development AS (Ltd) designs and develops modular ships and will be running a shipping company in Nigeria, for distribution of goods using the inland waterways, in the Niger delta and into the hinterland in Nigeria.

 

https://www.alego.no/modular-ships

There are many logistical challenges connected to this, and they are as follows:

  • Assembly of modules will be done in Nigeria, with accompanying logistical problems, as one will find in shipyards, with some new and unexplored problems, as the assembly is partly done after the LEGO principle (Hence the modular vessel approach).

 

  • The company also wants to build light port infrastructure throughout the delta, and river system, and here the problem is to identify optimal locations for establishing piers and mooring stations. An accompanying challenge here is that the vessels will be driven by LNG and they will also be transporting LNG, utilizing the same type of container for both needs. These are shipping container type tanks (20 foot) and will be distributed according to vessel fuel needs, as well as customer gas purchase (regular shipping task).
    the LNG utilization is partly from the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR), where Nigeria collects LNG onshore from offshore installations, and, instead of flaring it will utilize the gas.

 

  • When shipping starts, the logistical challenge will be within routing, vessel utilization, port calls etc. basic logistics problems but within Nigeria’s river delta and into the hinterland by riverways.

 A more specific problem definition will be done in cooperation with the company and the supervisor.​

Optimizing Shipyard problems

2019_009

Operations Research / Optimization

Berit Irene Helgheim

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Contact Details:

Production logistics is a scientific branch studying networks and flows of various nature (goods, people, information, money, etc.) in value-adding systems with the purpose of developing recommendations for the design, implementation, and mobilization of such systems.  In oil and gas, production processes are organized as physical networks of production, gathering, processing, and transportations of goods. Examples of such networks are oil and gas field gathering infrastructures (upstream sector), long-distance transmission pipeline design (midstream sector), and others. In the context of the manufacturing branch, the issue of the production process organization moves into the area of production floor planning, including such problems as cellular manufacturing layout planning (commonly used in modern-day smart factory solutions), as well as machine placement on the production floor within the cells.  Despite the specifics of a particular production process, the design decisions related to the production infrastructure should be made together with planning the productions operations. Such integrated planning of the infrastructures and the operations ensures that the processes are carried out with the best possible efficiency that they are beneficial in the long run. The students who are willing to choose this research direction for their master thesis should narrow down their choice to a particular industrial sector, which they will have to study in detail, examine the relevant research, identify research gaps and develop a mathematical model integrating design and operations planning decisions within one decision-making framework. It is beneficial that the students find a company in their chosen sector to gather the data about the company’s projects to evaluate their long-term planning.

Network design and operations planning for production problems

2019_011

LA/OPT

Yuri Redutskiy

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 The specifics of some industrial branches are associated with conducting operations in remote and unpopulated areas poorly accessible by transportation. In such areas, employees have to work shifts, i.e., travel from the bigger cities / industrial centers to the facility location and back. It leads to travel costs being a sizable share of the operational expenditures the companies are facing.  In some cases, a local subsidiary of the main company may be established, and local workforce may be hired and trained to operate the processes.  Operations run in such remote locations bring up a lot of workforce-related logistic challenges: staffing size required for running the operations, the necessary qualifications of the crews, shift work and vacations, a system of bonuses to reward the employees, challenges of establishing a subsidiary, and so on.  The students who are willing to choose this research direction for their master thesis should narrow down their choice to a particular industrial sector and establish a cooperation with a company operating in a remote area. They will have to study the context of the company’s operations in detail. They will have to examine the relevant research in the area of employee scheduling to identify the workforce organization issues pertinent to the chosen context. Ultimately, the students will develop a mathematical model for employee scheduling covering all these crucial aspects.

Workforce planning and employee scheduling for processes run in remote locations

2019_012

LA/OPT

Yuri Redutskiy

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This is a case study of the small firm, Bygartner 1 located in Molde. The entrepreneur driving forth this work comes originally from Turkey and is proficient in both Norwegian and English. This firm has recently started production of horticulture in a closed environment applying hydroponics. Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, which is a method of growing plants without soil by instead using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Terrestrial plants may thus be grown with only their roots exposed to the nutritious liquid, or the roots may be physically supported by an inert medium such as perlite or gravel. Intuitively, hydroponics should allow economic food production close to the market regardless of climate outdoors. In Norway, this may mean that such production is an alternative to producing e.g. herbs and salads from large-scale farming including imports. Supply chain management theory is applied as basis to analyse network structure and networking in this structure. The study aims at describing the “as is” network of this firm focusing on logistical flows, (1) from suppliers, (2) within the firm, and (3) to customers. The study should also consider the marketplace, i.e. analysing competition in the form of other alternative suppliers using same, similar or other forms of technology. The study will follow an emergent design. This means that as issues become clearer through inquiry. The student there chooses potentially at an early stage of investigation a closer focus on a certain topic or topics. The basic set up of this thesis may resemble a previous thesis on the local food network of the seafood supplier Horsgaard

Networked hydroponics production of horticulture in Molde.

2019_016

SCM

Per Engelseth

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From year to year, the traffic of goods between Europe and Asia rises, the need for a new route for transportation becomes more and more obvious. The new route should be competitive to the others and has its own competitive advantage. Nowadays an extra day of transportation can increase costs dramatically for trade companies, so it is necessary to develop a route, which has a short transportation period as the main advantage. The Northern Sea Route (NSR) is a challenging alternative. The thesis suggests estimating the costs of establishing a permanent transportation line along the NSR between East and West; calculating the operational costs for the line and comparing it to the route through the Suez Canal. The students who are interested in this field of knowledge should provide deeper insights into the economic feasibility of using the NSR by shippers for transit container shipping. A more specific problem definition will be done in cooperation with the company and the supervisor. It is also beneficial if the candidate(s) find a company in their chosen

Economic feasibility of the Northern Sea Route container shipping development

2019_24

SCM

Antonina Tsvetkova

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I det siste er det mye fokus på overgangen fra lineær økonomi til sirkulær økonomi. I en slik økonomi vil hvert enkelt produkt vil ha et unikt livsløp siden et produkt i prinsippet aldri skal kastes. Isteden skal de vedlikeholdes, gjenbrukes, oppusses eller resirkuleres i en evig sirkel. Til dette kreves utvikling av nye tjenester i hele verdikjeden. For produsenter, som Ekornes, er det viktig å tilpasse seg, samtidig som en ivaretar vekst og inntjening. Vi er interesser i masterstudenter som er interessert i å studere konkrete utfordringer bedrifter har når det gjelder digitalisering og uttesting av nye forretningskonsepter. F.eks.

- Unike livsløp krever unik identitet, hvordan kan det gjøres?

- Hvordan koble en (potensiell) kunde til et unikt produkt?

- Hvordan gi kundeopplevelser som øker konverteringsraten (lede til salg)?

- Hvilke systemer støtter vedlikeholde, gjenbruk osv. nedstrøms etter salg?

- Hvordan kan Ekornes bli en del av «cash flow’en» nedstrøms?

- Utforsking av forretningsmuligheter for Ekornes basert på services gjennom produktenes livsløp.

- Hvordan forsterke «Ekornes-brand» informasjon?


Digitalisering kan bidra til nye løsninger. Portalløsninger er bra, men vil ha utfordringer i en livsløpssammenheng siden f.eks. transportører, distributører og kunder må forhold seg til mange produsenter som hver har en portal. Det blir lite kundevennlig med så mange portaler. En kan tenke seg andre løsninger i et samspill med mange aktører/portaler hvor kunder og andre aktører forholder seg til en tjeneste levert av mange (lignende løsninger som benyttes av Uber og DiDi). I dette inngår også blokkjeder. En blokkjede er en felles, gratis infrastruktur hvor en kan lagre en produktidentitet for alltid. Ved oppslag i blokkjeden via f.eks. en QR-kode og en smarttelefon kan en bli linket til ulike aktører. Teknologien åpner for mange forretningsmuligheter.

Mulighetsstudie av digitalisering og forretningsmodeller hos Ekornes / Feasibility study of digitalisation and business models at Ekornes

2019_25

Information Systems / Digital logistics

Bjørn Jæger

Field of Study:

Contact Details:

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