Clarkson professor working with high-end auto manufacturers, Indian garment-makers to improve logistics and supplier relations
Monday, May 19, 2014 - 2:44 pm

A Clarkson University associate professor of operations and information systems is working with two Italian high-end auto manufacturers and Indian garment-makers to improve logistics and supplier relations.

Teamed up with faculty at the University of Bologna’s School of Business, Santosh Mahapatra worked with luxury automotive company Lamborghini and high-end motorcycle manufacturer Ducati to improve supply chain operations.

He aids the companies, which sell a car for upwards of $500,000 and a motorcycle for more than $40,000, in managing data on suppliers of various custom parts and facilities.

The parts are expensive and there are few suppliers.

“The manufacturers cannot afford to hold too much inventory so they rely on their suppliers to have the materials ready to ship as they need them,” Mahapatra said in a news release from Clarkson. “The goal is to improve information-based decision making to guarantee a smoother flow of materials to meet the highly unpredictable demand.”

At the Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar, India, Mahapatra investigated the complex supply chain of the handloom sector. The handloom industry plays big role in the country’s economy, employing hundreds of thousands of weavers who handloom fabrics and apparel for India’s domestic and international textile markets.

The weavers work with contract manufacturers who supply the materials they weave into saris and other apparel. An exclusive group of retailers sell the products at a good price to earn a profit and keep the industry financially viable.

“To preserve the artistry, the manufacturing is still household-based," Mahapatra says in the release. “The weavers are skilled artists, so supplier relationships are idiosyncratic. The retailers must motivate the weavers to turn out products to keep the supply up without adversely affecting their creativity. So it is not a typical supply chain problem.”