Logistics and Supply Chain Optimisation


Offering research excellence in the dynamic fields of design, management, optimisation, co-ordination and planning, ERIM’s Logistics and Supply Chain Optimisation theme places faculty members right at the very heart of Europe’s most important and advanced logistical hub – the Netherlands.

Operating under the aegis of ERIM’s internationally renowned Business Process, Logistics and Information Systems (LIS) programme, Logistics and Supply Chain Optimisation excels in applying analytical and empirical research methodologies across a full spectrum of real-world logistics challenges including: inventory, production and maintenance planning; scheduling; optimisation of logistics networks and terminals; modelling and analysis of intercompany collaborations in networks.

Excellence in research

Meaningful impact is integral to all our research endeavours and our long-standing excellence in academic study means we not only collaborate hand-in-hand with industry, but also play an integral part in setting national and international research agendas.

Our research in the field of logistics and supply chain optimisation is organised into three fields, each with a substantial number of P* and P publications and PhD theses, as follows:

Sustainability and supply chain optimisation, including service logistics

ERIM is recognised internationally within academia and industry as a world leader in sustainability and supply chain optimisation research. Focusing on developing analytic approaches that improve the economic and environmental performance of supply chains, ERIM has been at the forefront of sustainable supply chain research for nearly two decades and leads the way in the development of cradle-to-cradle solutions and the evolution of the Circular Economy concept.

Terminal optimisation

Being at the heart of Europe’s most important logistics hub means that ERIM’s cutting-edge research into the optimisation of terminals – including warehouses, port terminals, trans-shipment centres, and railway infrastructures with material handling systems – has significant real world impact for practitioner organisations internationally.

Transportation management

The priority of this field is to improve the performance of passenger and cargo transportation systems through the development and implementation of algorithms and mathematical optimisation models. As demands on passenger and cargo transportation systems continue to grow globally, the opportunities for meaningful impact through solutions-based research in this field are many.

Societal relevance and impact

At ERIM we fully understand that relevance and impact is absolutely essential if research is to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to management science and to society.

  • ERIM’s researchers have pioneered the study of reverse logistics, closed-loop supply chains and cradle-to-cradle concepts, and continue to lead with groundbreaking research that is driving the Circular Economy revolution.
  • Active participation in a major research initiative from REVLOG, an EU network devoted to reverse logistics, helps create much new theory in the disciplines of logistics network design, production planning and inventory control, information management, and accounting. 
  • Research is pursued in the direction of co-ordinated innovation in supply chains, where organisations are involved in improving environmental performance, such as emission reduction, and in regulated or voluntary programmes. 
  • Our research has resulted in many valuable insights into the relations between layout, storage strategies, order batching, and picker routing methods. We have developed algorithms for picker routing that are integrated into standard warehouse management software packages. 
  • We have also designed and implemented principles, such as layout and system selection, which are used by numerous warehouse design companies.
  • Our Material Handling Forum provides a valuable platform for academics, industry partners and administrations, and seeks to narrow the gap between material handling (or Intra Logistics) research and practice.
  • The Port of Rotterdam, Deltalinqs, and the City of Rotterdam sponsor ERIM’s Smart Port research group, an interfaculty centre of excellence that conducts theoretical and practical studies into port terminals and which adds considerably to the body of knowledge available to practitioners and the world of management science.
  • Research on passenger transportation is organised through the Erasmus Center for Optimization in Public Transport (ECOPT), which focuses on areas including robust planning and rescheduling of rolling stock and crews, computer aided timetabling, reliability of transportation systems, hub location, fleet composition, city distribution, and revenue management.


ERIM takes great pride in fostering a positive and collaborative work environment where researchers share common goals and strive together to achieve the highest academic standards.