Louise Bildsten – Programme Director of the Master's in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
What is your academic background?
"I have a PhD in Purchasing management from Lund University and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management from Linköping University."
What course/s are you teaching?
"I am responsible for MTTF25 Fundamentals of Logistics and Operations Management and MTTN75 Industrial Purchasing."
Do you have experience in the industry?
"I have worked with lean process improvement in the automobile industry at Faurecia in France. The work included auditing the flow of kanban for products in the factory, time study of factory workers, making work descriptions for operations in the factory and finding ways of optimising changeovers. Moreover, I have worked in the aviation industry at Saab AB to investigate market potentials for a new innovative type of memory architecture where I also wrote the business plan for the new memory architecture to create a spin-off corporation. As part of my PhD, I have also carried out workshops at Moelven, an inner wall manufacturer to optimise the flow through the factory with value stream mapping. Moreover, I always collaborate with industry in research projects and teaching."
How would you describe the Master's programme to a potential student?
"The programme is about the design, planning and management of sustainable supply chains and logistics strategies, networks, processes and systems and each course brings in aspects of sustainability and circular economy. Many of our teachers are internationally acclaimed researchers who provide students with comprehensive knowledge and pragmatic skills and abilities. Students learn both quantitative and qualitative problem-solving techniques, applied through case studies, project work, business games and simulations."
Are there any key courses in the programme?
"The first course, MTTF25 Fundamentals of Logistics & Operations Management, creates an overview and gives a taste of the contents of upcoming courses and can be regarded as a key course. Overall, the non-elective mandatory courses can be seen as the key courses of the programme. These compulsory non-elective courses are MTTF25 Fundamentals of Logistics & Operations Management, MTTN25 Warehousing & Materials Handling, MTTN75 Industrial Purchasing, MTTN70 International Physical Distribution, MTTN80 Supply Chain Management, MION01 Management of Production and Inventory Systems, MIOF10 Production and Inventory Control, MTTN85 Project and Research Methodologies in SCM and finally the Master Thesis Project. Apart from the key courses, there are also elective courses that need to be taken for a complete degree."
Is there any cutting-edge research going on in the department that the students benefit from? If yes, how?
"The faculty staff work on various projects in supply chain management. Sometimes students can be involved in projects as research assistants or take part in research work with their Master's thesis project. The courses of the Master's programme are all connected to the research and experiences of each lecturer. Many teachers are leading researchers in their area and get a substantial amount of funding and frequently publish academic papers."
Can you give examples of student-industry interaction during the programme?
"In the purchasing course, a project is about interviewing a purchasing manager and describing and analysing the purchasing function at a company. Students appreciate this opportunity to learn about how purchasing differs in different industries when we discuss the projects at the final seminars. Examples of companies involved in the course are Alfa Laval, Scania, Assa Abloy, EON, Berendsen and Duni.
Moreover, during the Master's thesis project, the students work independently applying their skills and solving problems related to logistics and supply chain management, often in collaboration with a company. The thesis project gives experience and valuable contacts that facilitate to enter the job market."
What do students need to be successful in this programme?
"The student should enjoy working in teams and should also have an analytical mindset and capability to make calculations needed to develop fact-based recommendations."
Any other thoughts/facts you have, that could be interesting to people applying for this programme?
"The profession is growing, and graduates have a very interesting and broad job market. A recent survey showed that alumni of this Master's programme felt they had learned valuable skills and found employment quickly after graduation. After graduation, students can find employment in diverse areas such as strategic sourcing, packaging development, warehouse management, inventory management, international distribution, and sustainable supply chain management. A career can be pursued in manufacturing companies, trade and retail companies, logistics service providers, management consultancy firms, providers of logistics IS/IT, and humanitarian organisations all around the world. Many students have been especially wanted by IKEA, Sandvik, Tetra Pak, Alfa Laval, and Axis."