Two Södertälje projects on IVA’s 100 list
When IVA presents its annual 100-list, two research projects from KTH Södertälje are included. This year, the theme is crisis preparedness and Magnus Wiktorsson's work with production logistics presents solutions for Swedish industry to be more stable during future external crises.
This year, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (Ingenjörsvetenskapsakademin, IVA) is influenced by the pandemic when searching for Sweden's most important research projects. With the ambition to highlight projects that can contribute to societal benefits, the focus for 2021 has been “sustainable preparedness for future crises”, in short: research that increases our resilience in tough times.
Someone who’s been devoted to making the industry more resilient and sustainable for long, is Magnus Wiktorsson , Professor of production logistics at the Department of Sustainable Production Development at KTH Södertälje. He has two of his projects selected for IVA's 100 list.
Both of your projects are about improving production logistics. How is it linked to crisis preparedness?
“This pandemic has really shed light on our sensitivity to deliveries and how dependent we are on a well-functioning production. We have seen how global supply chains become sensitive in crises, where component shortages, for example, can shut down entire industries. This is because production is becoming increasingly complex. Customers and companies have the whole world as their market - both for purchasing and for sales. At the same time, materials must be increasingly recycled and products remanufactured. Digitization makes information available in a whole new way. So expectations increase while we are more intertwined. When a real crisis comes, as a pandemic, it becomes obvious what we are used to, and expect, from production and logistics.”
You started the projects before the pandemic, why is this hot among your well-knows partners?
“Both projects are really founded in industrial needs. Being able to keep track of external and internal material flows has become crucial, not least to be able to answer questions about what capacity we have at all levels. Consumers want to know if a product is available, what delivery times it has, but also origin and how things are being produced. Companies must offer services providing a products' production and delivery status. But even within and between companies, expectations of information and traceability are increasing. It’s important to be efficient and flexible with resources. Add to this the requirements for cyber security, which is also a hot topic in today's global supply chains.”
In what way do the LOVIS and C-PALS projects contribute to better logistics?
“Both projects are about real-time information in internal and external logistics. C-PALS develops and tests technical solutions for data collection, analysis and decision support for internal production logistics. This area is often forgotten in the digitalisation of factories, but is becoming increasingly critical for achieving sustainable production. LOVIS focuses on how we can create visibility of supply chains, and how it can be linked to internal visibility.
The project explores what hinders and enables technical solutions for increased dynamics and sustainability. ”
The IVA list is also based on business potential, when do you see that your projects are part of the production methods of the future?
“We work with extremely knowledge-intensive companies that have significantly bigger R&D capacity than my research group has. Both projects are based on existing commercial collaborations. We already see today how the participating companies invest and test new technology for real-time information in production and logistics, and how they use it for decision-making internally.”
What does it mean for the Södertälje campus to be included in the list?
“We have established strong and nationally leading research in Södertälje in a very short time. The model with strong industrial and academic cooperation works, and we see both academic and industrial results. This shows that we are on the right track with our research.”
Andhow will you celebrate?
“I am of course very happy that two projects from our small department are on this prestigious list. I look forward to working with researchers and teachers at KTH Södertälje to celebrate many great efforts and successes from the past year - when we can see each other again physically.”
Text: Anna Gullers