Completed practical projects

Selection of completed practical projects of the Institute for Supply Chain Management

Centralization of cross-plant production planning at Bell Schweiz AG

The cross-plant, demand-oriented supply and planning of production along the supply chain represents a major challenge, especially for companies in the food industry. Often, a large part of the planning takes place decentrally in regionally distributed production sites due to grown structures, strategic acquisitions, and special features of the product portfolio, which are dependent on each other due to cross-plant transports. Tight time constraints due to best-before dates and other market-specific features increase the complexity of managing such production networks and require close interdepartmental coordination along the supply chain.

The Institute for Supply Chain Management at the University of St. Gallen (ISCM-HSG) is supporting Bell Schweiz AG in developing a future-oriented planning and control concept within the supply chain in the "Bell OpEx Lab", which coordinates the value creation processes in and between the individual organizational units of the company.

In the course of the project, the current process landscape will be restructured in order to centralize a large number of the previous planning processes. In particular, the aim is to reorganize the value creation processes within the company in such a way that the forecasting quality can be increased and a uniform planning rhythm can be introduced. In line with the realignment of processes, the organization of production planning will also be adapted to meet the new requirements.

In the future, the new processes and organization will be supported by a suitable, cross-departmental IT system solution, which is being developed as part of the Lab. The system solution maps the processes between the different organizational units and uses innovative solutions from the fields of "Operations Research" and "Machine Learning" to optimize production planning.

The optimizations build on a concrete definition of a supply chain strategy with derived objectives for different areas. By redesigning the supply chain management, costs can be reduced, tasks can be processed more efficiently and the evaluation of success can be carried out transparently by introducing suitable KPIs.

Duration: ongoing

Partner & Supporter

Bell Schweiz AG
Elsässerstrasse 174
CH-4056 Basel


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stölzle
Geschäftsführender Direktor
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 81

Tim Brandl, M.Sc.
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Tel.: +41 71 224 7158

Think Tank «Future of Purchasing»

New technologies and tools, digital and hybrid products, new societal, ecological and social requirements as well as a return to security of supply are currently fundamentally changing proven purchasing practices. In order to position purchasing in a future-oriented manner vis-à-vis internal and external stakeholders, it is necessary to identify the concrete potential for company-specific requirements between "digitalization hype" and "buzzwords", to evaluate them scientifically and to develop a suitable, individual roadmap.

For this reason, the Institute for Supply Chain Management at the University of St.Gallen (ISCM) and TALENT-net, have launched the think tank "Future of Purchasing" for purchasing decision makers. In order to be able to use the impulses of digitalization as opportunities in their own companies, the think tank develops concrete and pragmatic solutions for selected topics of future purchasing. They are designed to support participants in identifying and evaluating concrete potential for their specific requirements and developing suitable strategies.

As a hub in the network of science and practice, the think tank also provides important information for the topic map of purchasing in the future (from digitalization to the further development of the procurement organization) and acts as a catalyst for the transfer of practice in purchasing.

Duration: 2020-2021


BuyIn, Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke AG, Hilti Corporation, INEOS Styrolution Group GmbH, Pfeifer & Langen GmbH & Co.Kg, Ringier AG, Siegfried AG, Swisslog AG, Vonovia SE


Prof. Dr. Erik Hofmann
Projektleiter & Titularprofessor
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 95

Tim Brandl
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Tel.: +41 71 224 71 58

Innosuisse - Blockchain and loT-based supply chain transparency and automation

In times of globally distributed value networks, supply chains are becoming increasingly complex and more susceptible to failures and disruptions. Transparency is therefore becoming increasingly important and is a key component of modern supply chain management.

Blockchain technology has been developed to provide the necessary information in a faster, safer and more transparent way. The technology promotes traceability of all upstream and downstream supply chains, ensures compliance with various regulations and creates trust. This makes the technology particularly interesting for the pharmaceutical industry, which is constantly striving to create more transparency and security in the supply chain.

In the food industry, demand stems primarily from increased consumer awareness. Today's customers want to know where their food comes from and what ingredients have been used. To meet the demand for transparency, blockchain technology and its features are of great importance. The blockchain is a decentralized, distributed database system in which transaction data is synchronized in real time across the network. Each participant in the blockchain network thus receives the latest transaction data as well as the entire history of all transactions stored in the blockchain. Due to the decentralized distribution and constant synchronization of the data, it is extremely difficult to manipulate it.

The project consortium is pursuing three innovation goals. One goal is to develop a supporting process for selecting and implementing appropriate supply chain transparency solutions. In addition, the project focuses on continuously securing status information along the entire supply chain using blockchain technology. With this blockchain-based end-to-end status information, individual processes in the supply chain are then automated, for example through the use of smart contracts.

Duration: 2019-2021


Modum i.o, Vifor Pharma, Hilcona, Grieshaber Logistics Group, SAP (Schweiz), GS1 Schweiz




Maximilian Enthoven
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 97

Innosuisse - Supply Chain Management 4.0

In recent years, the importance of flexible supply chain management (SCM) has increased due to unstable transport capacities, uncertain legal and economic situations, and volatile demand. The current COVID-19 crisis also highlights the need to be able to react to changing conditions and reduce dependencies.

As part of a long-term study by Innosuisse, a Supply Chain Management 4.0 guide was developed in collaboration with Zellweger Management Consulting AG and five other practice partners. In doing so, the approach of system engineering is specified to characteristics of Industrie 4.0 technologies in order to support companies in the implementation of their SCM 4.0 projects. Scientific methods and application-oriented tools were developed for this purpose, which can be divided into three process phases:

(1) At the beginning of the project, potential technologies have to be collected, systematized and selected. (2) In a next project phase, the concrete application of technologies is evaluated. (3) Finally, the SCM 4.0 guide supports companies in implementing technologies.

The tools and methods developed are seven tools that companies can use in the various project phases:

(1) The Industrie 4.0 technology database contains over 180 application examples from other companies and is used to search for potential project ideas.

(2) 33 technology deployment scenarios are summarized in a catalog, which can be used as a working tool - to derive implications of existing ideas - or as a standardized (workshop) concept for generating innovative solutions.

(3) The SCM 4.0 Quick Check can then be used to assess the feasibility, success potential and maturity of a project. This facilitates a comparison of potential projects at an early stage.

(4) The IoT calculation model maps the ROI of IoT projects by comparing costs and benefits. In addition, a direct comparison can be made with and without an IoT application, to assess whether an investment would be financially worthwhile.

(5) The SCM 4.0 assessment checklist is based on the PESTEL model and provides a macroscopic view to show changes in the business environment. Prerequisites and direct impacts can be assessed and risks, or opportunities, can be weighed based on five different areas.

(6) By highlighting all possible decision dimensions, the implementation checklist supports the transformation of the project. The suitability of the technology is examined on the basis of advantages and disadvantages.

(7) The maturity monitoring tool helps to classify Industrie 4.0 maturity in the various project phases on the basis of eight basic disciplines. Companies should rank themselves in the tool and compare themselves against the requirements of the project.

Further study results from use cases with practice partners have shown that the classic problem-solving steps of systems engineering are often run through unconsciously and with different focus in practice. Furthermore, it has been shown that the neglect of early phases - especially the exact understanding and goals of the project - are often responsible for the discrepancy between expectation and solution. Other success factors for successful implementations include early involvement of all stakeholders, monitoring and testing as early as possible, and IT support in early phases. There is no one-size-fits-all technology selection process. Depending on the initial situation, problem and company-specific factors, different methods and tools are useful.

In a next phase, a creative workbook on the extended systems engineering approach for digitization projects will be developed and is expected to be published in spring 2021.

Link to the project overview: Alexandria.



Prof. Dr. Erik Hofmann
Projektleiter & Titularprofessor
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 95

Stefan Selensky
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter / Projektmanager
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 88

Current Compensation Systems between Logistics Service Providers and their Customers

Towards stable business relationships

With regard to the outsourcing of transport and logistics services, industrial and commercial companies (here: customers) as well as the logistics service providers commissioned by them are basically faced with the task of agreeing suitable remuneration systems for their business relationships. Remuneration systems play a key role in ensuring the stability of business relationships: Remuneration systems not only determine logistics costs from the customer's point of view and revenues from the service provider's point of view, but also have significant implications for incentive orientation and risk distribution.

Based on the overarching question of how appropriate compensation systems should be designed to stabilize business relationships, taking into account specific influencing variables, this study aims to derive practical design recommendations for both customers and logistics service providers. Within the framework of a case study-based research design, different remuneration systems in three transport-centered and five warehouse-centered business relationships are examined systematically and in detail.

Central study results are, on the one hand, the four identified project-specific influencing variables, which were considered in the empirical investigation with regard to their concrete implications for suitable remuneration systems, and, on the other hand, the design recommendations derived in the respective context. It was found that the relationship-stabilizing effect of compensation systems depends on the extent to which the extent of specific investments, fluctuations in service utilization by customers, and the complexity and degree of standardization of outsourced services are reflected in the arrangements made. Based on the objective of stable business relationships, five design recommendations were initially derived which, starting from the project-specific influencing variables, suggest specific regulations within compensation systems:

(1) If significant customer-specific investments are required on the part of the service provider to provide the outsourced services, a remuneration component that is not dependent on volume and a correspondingly longer contract term should be agreed.

(2) In the event that service utilization by the customer is subject to greater fluctuations, a purely transaction-oriented service provider remuneration should be supplemented by predefined quantity-dependent price adjustment mechanisms (e.g., graduated price agreements).

(3) Furthermore, fluctuating service volumes should also be taken into account in the course of agreeing service level agreements and any associated regulations on a bonus-malus system or penalties.

(4) In view of the complexity of outsourced services, detailed and differentiated service prices should be contractually agreed for the various complex but repeatedly performed work steps.

(5) If the outsourced services can hardly or not at all be standardized, a transaction-oriented service provider remuneration via fixed hourly rates for the use of resources (personnel and assets) is a suitable option.

Irrespective of project-specific factors, four more fundamental recommendations for suitable compensation systems were identified:

(1) According to these, regulations that provide for situational price adjustments within the contract term should, if possible, be defined in such a way that the framework and the specific amount of the price adjustments are already fixed at the beginning of the contract.

(2) Furthermore, especially in the case of warehouse-centric business relationships, arrangements should be made for the remuneration of special services which were not yet known and/or defined at the start of the contract.

(3) The study also showed that, particularly when combining a service level agreement with a bonus-malus system or penalties, it should be checked whether the relevant data can be recorded in day-to-day business with a reasonable amount of effort, clearly evaluated and the defined targets actually achieved by a logistics service provider.

(4) Furthermore, regulations on lump-sum price reduction agreements in the course of continuous improvement processes demanded by the customer should only be agreed if a logistics service provider can actually exploit the optimization potential when viewed realistically. In this context, it has also been shown that improvements in cost efficiency jointly pursued by customers and logistics service providers in conjunction with gain-share arrangements are often more effective.

Further study results relate to cross-case study findings in connection with the design of compensation systems: Across all case studies, it has been shown that compensation systems are an essential building block, but not the sole basis for stable business relationships. It should also be noted that the design of compensation systems is strongly customer-driven. It also became clear across all cases that transport-centric business relationships are based on largely standardized compensation systems, while warehouse-centric business relationships are based on individually designed compensation systems.

Full version of the study as an e-book: Aktuelle Vergütungssysteme_e-Book2020

Development of transport prices in road freight transport

Influential factors, trends and challenges for the development of a transport price index in road freight transport

In recent years, transport prices in European road freight transport have been subject to sometimes enormous dynamics. In addition to the observed sustained upward trend in freight rates, their sometimes unpredictable fluctuations during the year in particular have presented logistics service providers and shippers with major challenges. On the market side, this development is primarily due to the record high in freight volumes and the worsening shortage of professional drivers and loading space capacities: Volatile transport prices as a result of a fluctuating imbalance of supply and demand. However, it remains questionable to what extent other factors have also contributed to the trajectories of transport prices in recent years. Actual clarity with regard to potential factors influencing transport prices and the relationship between the effects of the influencing factors is still only available to a very limited extent. However, such transparency is indispensable for well-founded and sustainable market-oriented pricing. Only a clear understanding of the factors influencing transport prices makes it possible to track and forecast their development and thus reduce the uncertainties associated with fluctuations. Despite the obvious importance of this aspect of transport prices, the investigation of potential influencing factors and their interrelationships with respect to freight rates has been neglected in science so far.

In addition to this scientific research gap, practical solutions in the form of established transport price indices only fulfill the imperative need for transparency in the transport market to a very limited extent. This is because many of these indices, due to low-frequency, purely retrospective data publications and their methodological conception, only provide an inadequate and undifferentiated representation of actual market events. As a decision-supporting instrument in the process of price planning, management and control, most of the indicators are therefore of limited use. Therefore, in addition to the scientific need for the investigation of transport prices, there is also a practical need for the construction of an objective, meaningful, reliable and, above all, predictive transport price index.

The aim of this study is to close these existing scientific and practical gaps. In particular, it should be worked out which possible factors influence transport prices and with which intensity and direction they affect freight rates. Thus, the basis for the construction of a transport price index is to be created, which, in addition to market-oriented statements on past transport prices, should above all allow a reliable forecast of future developments.


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stölzle
Geschäftsführender Direktor ISCM-HSG
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 81

Megatrends in automotive logistics

Insights from top decision-makers

The summary study focuses on trends in automotive logistics and the resulting requirements for future logistics concepts. The results of the short study are intended to support decisions of automotive (logistics) companies in connection with the future design of automotive logistics on a strategic level.

Based on social and technological megatrends, trends in the automotive industry are analyzed. For this purpose, top decision-makers from OEMs and 1st tier suppliers were surveyed.

The evaluations show that

  • Vehicle innovations are triggering changes in goods and value structures as well as shipment sizes and frequencies.
  • Intralogistics is considered advanced and a beacon of digitalization due to its proximity to vehicle innovations.
  • Inter-company logistics must be better coordinated between the players in order to contribute to the performance of automotive logistics.
  • Information and communication technologies (ICT) perform a cross-sectional function by linking vehicle and process data, thus opening up new optimization potential for many automotive logistics processes

The opinions of the experts vary widely. The assessments range from a far-reaching constancy of today's established concepts to disruptive changes that cannot yet be grasped in the form of new concepts.

Duration: 2019




Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stölzle
Geschäftsführender Direktor 
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 81

Victor Wildhaber, M.A. HSG
Wissen. Mitarbeiter & Projektmanager
Tel.: +41 71 224 71 34

Logistics Radar Basel

A logistics data series of the Basel region from 2000 to 2018 to monitor the development of the location and its trends.

The Basel region is one of the most important multimodal transport hubs in Switzerland. On the one hand, this has the only connection of a waterway to the sea via the Rhine ports. On the other hand, with its rail and road connections to France and Germany, Basel is highly relevant for the transport and transshipment of goods to and from Switzerland. The logistics radar Basel evaluates the logistics hotspot and compares infrastructure, economic as well as structural data with relevant regions and industries. The study shows that the above-average added value, the high level of logistics know-how and the good transport connections in the border triangle of Switzerland, Germany and France lead to the central position in Swiss foreign trade. The Basel Logistics Radar is conducted annually for our partner, the Beider Basel Chamber of Commerce.

Durationt: 2007-2019


Logistikcluster Region Basel


Handelskammer Beider Basel


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stölzle
Geschäftsführender Direktor 
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 81

Victor Wildhaber, M.A. HSG
Wissen. Mitarbeiter & Projektmanager
Tel.: +41 71 224 71 34

Cross-European SCF Research with Logistics Service Providers

The Institute for Supply Chain Management is participating in a European research project on "Cross-European SCF Research with Logistics Service Providers" from June 2016. The project is taking place in cooperation with the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences as the umbrella organization, the Universities of Warwick and Milan Polytechnic, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics at the TU Dortmund University. The joint, two-year research project will examine possible approaches to establishing financial services among logistics service providers and the associated challenges. Each of the cooperation partners from research involves a logistics service provider as a practical partner.The Chair of Logistics Management was able to attract the Swiss Post for this purpose.


Prof. Dr. Erik Hofmann
Projektleiter & Direktor ISCM-HSG
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 95

Digitalization tools in logistics: application potentials, level of maturity and value contribution

Impulses for investment decisions

The study "Digitalization tools in logistics: application potentials, level of maturity and value contribution" contains detailed analyses and assessments as well as detailed profiles of 22 digitization tools.

It can be downloaded here for free:

The study was written by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stölzle (Institute for Supply Chain Management at the University of St.Gallen), Prof. Dr. Thorsten Schmidt (Institute for Technical Logistics and Work Systems at the Technical University of Dresden), Prof. Dr. Christian Kille (Institute for Applied Logistics at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt), Dr. Frank Schulze (also University of Dresden) and Victor Wildhaber (also University of St.Gallen).

For further questions please contact Victor Wildhaber.


Victor Wildhaber M.A.
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Tel.: +41 71 224 71 34


KTI-AVBD: Purchasing and management of complex services

The Advanced Value Break Down Approach

Services are a decisive factor in the value creation of companies. Already in 2008, more than 70 percent of the Swiss workforce was employed in the service sector. On the part of manufacturing companies, this importance is reflected by a high proportion of externally purchased services. Depending on the sector, these services account for up to 40 percent of the total purchasing volume. This development is significantly reinforced by two dominant economic trends. On the one hand, companies are concentrating on their core capabilities and outsourcing many services previously provided in-house to specialized partner companies. Secondly, complex service contracts are increasingly being linked to the procurement of capital goods and their provision is being fixed within the framework of long-term contracts. As these services are increasingly procured internationally, the place where they are provided and the comparability of service quality and service costs can sometimes vary greatly. In this context, services which are specifically tailored when purchasing in-kind services have a particularly complexity-driving effect.

Although the importance of the procurement of services for the economic success of the enterprises was recognized, the majority of the purchase leaders states that the service purchase is to be realized clearly more fastidiously than the procurement of material goods. Special challenges are seen thereby in the creation of a market transparency for the service comparison, the identification of cost saving potentials as well as the guarantee of a qualitatively high-quality and reliable service.

Against this background, the research project "Advanced Value Break Down in Service Purchasing and Management", funded by the CTI, the Swiss Federal Commission for Technology and Innovation, is developing, together with several practical partners, a systematic and customer benefit-related method for identifying potential cost savings and quality improvements in the procurement and use of external services. In concrete terms, the approach consists of the following elements:

(1) Determination of conceptual basics and analysis of the status quo in the area of service purchasing.

(2) Concept development of an evaluation logic as well as its generic design

(3) Development of generalized guidelines in the purchasing and management of services

(4) Implementation of a generalized methodology for practice as well as an accompanying assurance of the multiplicability of the results


Duration: 2015 - 2017


Schweizerische Post AG, Novartis AG, Schindler Management AG, Geberit Internatinal AG, Oettinger Davidoff Group

Implementation Partners

Innovative Management Partner (IMP), SWISSMEM,


Kommission für Technologie und Innovation (KTI)


Prof. Dr. Erik Hofmann
Projektleiter & Titularpofessor
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 95

The "Last Mile" in the Swiss Retail Trade - CO2 Emissions in Distribution Channels in Comparison

Main study

Online retailing in Switzerland has been growing steadily for years, accompanied by significantly higher parcel volumes as well as the increasing intensity of "last mile" delivery traffic to end consumers. Due to its growing political and economic relevance, this development is increasingly questioned and discussed by the public.

Against this background, the study investigated the climate-relevant environmental impacts of transport and transport packaging when purchasing consumer goods (e.g. clothing, food, home electronics) on the "last mile" to the end consumer in different distribution channels (online retail, stationary retail, omni-channel) in Switzerland. CO2 emissions were used as an established parameter to quantify the climate-relevant environmental impact.

The data analysis included Switzerland-specific secondary data as well as company data from various CEP service providers and retail companies. The study was supported by a neutral sponsorship with partners from all relevant stakeholder areas. On the one hand, the results of the study should contribute to objectifying the subjective discussion about the ecological advantages of individual distribution channels in retailing. On the other hand, the results are intended to provide guidance for consumers on the CO2 emissions that various forms of their purchasing behavior can cause.

The study was completed in April 2017 with the publication of a comprehensive study report:

Duration: June 2016 – April 2017


espace.mobilité, GS1 Switzerland, KEP&Mail, Schweizerische Post, Schweizerisches Konsumentenforum kf, Verband des Schweizerischen Versandhandels ( VSV), Verband Schweizerischer Filialunternehmungen

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Management concept for implementing sustainability standards in operational procurement processes (Sustainability Standards in Operative Procurement)

The increasing number of procurement regions, the growing value-added share of suppliers and upstream suppliers, and the rising pressure to assume social and environmental responsibility along the entire supply chain represent key trends in supply chain management. However, purchasing as a corporate function has not kept pace sufficiently with these changing challenges, so organizational adjustments are urgently needed. In particular, the integration of sustainability standards into operational purchasing processes has so far been poorly anchored in small and medium-sized enterprises, which form the backbone of developed economies.

The research project "Sustainability Standards in Operative Procurement (SOP)" aims to develop a practice-oriented management concept for the implementation of social and environmental standards in the operational purchasing processes of small and medium-sized enterprises. The traditional purchasing processes, which often have a strong cost focus, as well as the associated target and incentive systems of buyers require a substantial adaptation in order to select, evaluate and further develop suppliers and sub-suppliers with regard to social and ecological standards. Very specifically, the solution approach developed in SOP consists of the following elements:

(1) Operationalization of sustainability standards for purchasing requirements.

(2) Alignment of target and incentive systems of the purchasing organization and the buyers

(3) Alignment of criteria and practices for supplier selection, evaluation and development

(4) Qualification of purchasers for the changed operational purchasing processes

With the help of the commercialization partner Detecon (Switzerland) AG, the aim is to make the results of the research project accessible across all industries by means of a practice-oriented guide. In addition, resource-based management concepts as well as organization-theoretical approaches, in particular incentive theories, will be used to scientifically underpin the management concept for implementing social and ecological standards in the operational purchasing processes of small and medium-sized companies.

Corporate Supply Chain Management Excellence

This LOG-HSG project supports the development of the corporate supply chain management of a globally operating technology group. The relatively independently operating supply chain management units in the individual national companies and business units are to be brought to a uniformly high level of excellence in their performance and practices and coordinated more centrally. To this end, the main supply chain management processes will be homogenized across the individual SCM units and a uniform Group-wide performance measurement system will be established. The establishment of a training and knowledge system will support the transfer of competencies and best practices between the individual SCM units.

Duration: January 2014 - October 2016
Partner and Supporter: Global operierender Technologiekonzern

Green Supply Chain Monitor

From ecological to sustainable supply chain management

Due to increasing eco-sensitivity and new environmental policy measures, the stronger integration of environmentally friendly measures will remain one of the most important challenges for supply chain management (SCM) in the future. The environmental factor is increasingly influencing the strategic orientation and planning of logistics and production networks. This development was already evident among many of the 600 participating companies in the fourth Supply Chain Monitor "From Awareness to Action" from 2011.

Since then, it has become apparent that the third pillar of sustainability - social - is also becoming increasingly important and is demanding further supply chain measures from many companies. The reconciliation of ecological, social and economic goals represents a very big challenge for many companies.

In view of this, it was time to update the 2011 study with its focus on "green" and expand it to include the "social sustainability" component. The fifth Supply Chain Monitor was thus dedicated to the topic of sustainability in SCM in a comprehensive sense. The Chair of Logistics Management supported the consultancy BearingPoint in designing and conducting the study.

As part of the collaboration, an update of the "Supply Chain Monitor" will be carried out on the basis of a telephone survey of experts as well as a company survey. The objective was to update the previous topics, supplemented by new relevant topics from the area of social sustainability.

In total, more than 250 companies from Europe and the USA took part in the online survey. The results of the survey were presented at the German Logistics Congress in Berlin at the end of October. A publication will conclude the collaboration for the new edition of the "Green Supply Chain Monitor".

Duration: 2014 - 2016
Partner: BearingPoint


5th Supply Chain Monitor – from green to sustainable supply chain management:

KTI-Pre-supplier management

Manufacturers and trading companies are increasingly confronted with problems caused by upstream suppliers in the preliminary stages of the supply chain. Pre-suppliers are the suppliers of the own suppliers up to the raw materials. Since there are no direct contractual relationships with upstream suppliers, a company usually has little information about the upstream suppliers in its supply chain. Examples of quality problems (e.g. horsemeat scandal), supply problems (e.g. export restrictions on rare earths), price fluctuations, disregard for intellectual property (e.g. counterfeiting of construction materials), environmental pollution (e.g. cotton production) or social grievances (e.g. textile production) are well known to the public. In all cases, problem solving was very costly and hardly professionalized, but the problem threatened the existence of many of the affected companies.

The project takes existing practices and develops strategies, structures and processes for efficient management of upstream suppliers that can be directly applied in practice. Supplier management and bottleneck management serve as important starting points. In addition to systematic knowledge of upstream suppliers, the focus is on approaches that enable active influence to be exerted on upstream suppliers. However, it is crucial to take into account the respective constellations between the company and the respective upstream supplier, which are characterized by distance, power, or dependency, for example.


Duration: 2016 - 2017
Partner: Coop Schweiz, Rieter Management, SBB AG, Weleda AG, IPM
Supporter: Eidgenössische Kommission für Technologie und Innovation (KTI)

Customer centricity in the logistics industry


Customer orientation is the prerequisite for customer satisfaction and is thus considered a weighty factor of competitiveness in the Swiss logistics market. Customer orientation has become a central element of entrepreneurial activity. Companies from a wide variety of industries have implemented customer orientation according to their respective understanding. In the logistics industry, the heterogeneity of logistics services and the associated different customer expectations make a uniform understanding of the term difficult.

In many places, logistics service providers lack a reliable basis for comparatively measuring their customer orientation and for aligning their own corporate activities in order to promote customer-oriented working. To actively manage customer orientation, companies need reliable methods for collecting, analyzing and interpreting performance data. The widespread approach of customer surveys on satisfaction with the services received and the cooperation is costly, not very dynamic and usually only comparable to a limited extent.

As part of the project, a robust, broadly applicable index for measuring company-specific customer orientation was developed. The result is a new tool for logistics service providers to regularly and systematically measure, evaluate, benchmark and improve their customer orientation. By primarily using internal ERP data, the current performance can be shown with the desired frequency without generating significant effort. Companies can thus immediately check the effect of certain tactics by comparing performance with previous periods. The tool also allows benchmarking with other logistics service providers.

LOG-HSG collaborated with the Institute for Transport Planning and Systems at ETH Zurich in this project, which was funded by the "SBB-Fonds für Forschung zum Management im Verkehrsbereich".


Duration: 2014 - 2016
Supporter: SBB-Fonds für Forschung zum Management im Verkehrsbereich
Partner: Institut für Verkehrsplanung und Transportsysteme, ETH Zürich

Study "Simulation-based driver training"


Fuel consumption is an important lever for reducing transport costs. Driver training courses are increasingly being held to raise drivers' awareness of the need to drive economically and with foresight, thereby reducing fuel consumption. However, practical experience shows that classic training concepts with theory training and trips with driving instructors do not have a lasting effect, as many drivers revert to their usual behavior patterns after a relatively short time. This is due in particular to the fact that such training courses are seldom repeated due to the high time and administrative effort required per driver.

Simulation-based driver training, such as that offered by SiFaT Road Safety GmbH, is an innovative alternative. Training sessions in simulators, which are installed as real truck cabs in ISO containers, allow realistic, flexible and time-compact training units. The possibility of repeating the units with comparatively little effort is expected to have a positive effect in the medium term with regard to fuel consumption in practice.

LOG-HSG accompanies the company SiFaT during the market launch and scientifically analyzes the effect of the driver trainings. In 2015, the training concept could be tested in pilot projects. In addition, initial data consumption data from a total of 134 drivers from four companies, in each case from before and after the first training, was already collected and evaluated as part of a short study.

The results from the case studies showed that improvements can be observed both in real fuel consumption and in the assessment of driving behavior after the simulation-based training courses:

  • The savings potentials of 15%-23% achieved in the simulator could not be fully realized in everyday practice. Nevertheless, savings of between 3%-12% are measurable in real terms in the first 4-5 months.
  • The efficiency gains measurable in all cases are also reflected in measurably improved driving behavior in all cases.
  • It has been shown that management support and commitment are elementary for the acceptance of simulation-based driver training.
  • In order to secure the efficiency gains of simulation-based training in the long term, driver training must be embedded in a coaching, monitoring and incentive concept.

Duration: 2014 - 2016
Partner: SiFaT Road Safety GmbH


The results of the short study can be found here or you are welcome to contact the chair directly for more information.


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stölzle
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 80

Transport demand effects of long trucks

Accompanying scientific study by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt)

The use of long trucks has been tested in Germany since January 1, 2012 as part of a 5-year field trial. The participants in the field trial used long trucks with a total permissible length of 25.25 m and a total permissible mass of 40 t (or 44 t in combined transport) on a defined route network. The field test was scientifically accompanied by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt). One of the subprojects of the scientific support was the determination of the traffic demand effects of long trucks.

From the end of 2012 to mid-2013, the sub-study FE 89.0273/2012 "Verkehrsnachfragewirkungen von Lang-Lkw - Grundlagenermittlung" was carried out by TCI Röhling - Transport Consulting International in cooperation with LOG-HSG. The partial investigation FE 89.0315/2015 "Traffic demand effects of long trucks - structure investigation" represents the follow-up investigation and ties in with the results of the basic investigation. The overall objective was the analysis of the influences of the use of long trucks on the traffic demand. The main component of the analysis was the investigation of the market potential of long trucks by means of an empirical evaluation and the observation of demand reactions in field tests.

The data collection of the structural investigation was essentially based on the preceding basic investigation. The specific purpose of the study was to verify the results of the baseline study. Within the scope of the survey, areas of application of long trucks and logistical framework conditions (e.g. types of goods transported, types of containers, use in port-hinterland traffic) as well as cost differences that can be realized by long trucks were evaluated on the basis of trip-related and company-related surveys of the participants in the field test. In addition, shift aspects of the long truck in relation to combined transport were investigated, among other things.

The empirical basis of the study was, in addition to the quantitative survey of the daily trips of the participants, a qualitative survey of selected participants of the field trial. Data collection started at the beginning of November 2015 and ran over a planned period of three months until February 2016. The project was completed on schedule with the completion of the study report in August 2016. The study report is available on the BASt website.


Duration: 2015 - 2016
Supporter: Bundesanstalt für Strassenwesen (BASt)
Partner: TCI Röhling – Transport Consulting International

Global Supply Chain Management

Business Process Integration Along Global Supply Chains

Business processes in supply chain management integrate activities both within a company across business functions and subsidiaries as well as externally with downstream customers and upstream suppliers, forming global supply chains. Multinational companies frequently report that business processes following the same objectives vary substantially across subsidiaries. They follow the strategy of globally integrating these heterogeneous business processes to increase efficiency. This research project investigates the factors driving or retarding global integration of supply chain management business processes and analyzes how these business processes are globally integrated. While integration of direct customers and suppliers has a long tradition in supply chain management research, this research project extends its reach, looking at how multinational companies integrate distant supply chain partners that are not in a direct relationships with the company (e.g., sub-suppliers)?

Integration is “the degree to which a firm can strategically collaborate with its supply chain partners and collaboratively manage the intra- and inter-organizational processes [...]” (Zhao et al., 2008:374). Research on global integration of headquarters with subsidiaries has a long tradition in international business literature but theory and business practice report little knowledge on globally integrating supply chain management business processes. The extensive literature on supplier integration has only recently started to include upstream sub-suppliers.

This research project comprises of two studies:

Study 1 investigates global integration of subsidiaries' individual supply chain management business processes in multinational companies (i.e., intra-company perspective). We contribute to theory as well as business practice by identifying factors drawing toward global integration of business processes. We also recommend mechanisms for effective global integration of specific business processes. This quantitative research is done in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Anthony Goerzen, Queen's University.
Study 2 examines integration of sub-suppliers along global supply chains (i.e., inter-company perspective). Based on exploratory case study research we describe practices to integrate sub-suppliers dependent on diverse relationship constellations and test the feasibility of contractual agreements with direct suppliers as a tool to integrate sub-suppliers. This qualitative research is run in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Joseph Sarkis, Worcester Polytechnical Institute.

Duration: January - September 2015
Partner and Supporter: Projektförderung des HSG-Grundlagenforschungsfonds (GFF)

Benchmarking study „The Optimal Organization of Corporate Supply Chain Management“ (A Governance Approach)

The organization of supply chain management (SCM) in a global group of companies has a substantial influence on company profits and customer satisfaction. Are you using your potentials?

The aim of this benchmarking study is to derive recommendations for the optimal organization of supply chain management in a global group of companies. The focus is on the various organizational structures in which internal supply chain decisions are made. The governance approach we use relates to creating transparency, setting standards and ensuring compliance.

We analyze various corporate practices in SCM and derive directly applicable recommendations for action on the aspects:

  • For which supply chain management responsibilities is global centralization worthwhile?
  • For which supply chain business processes is homogenization worthwhile?
  • Which methods are most effective for centrally managing local supply chain practices?
  • What improvements in business results can be achieved by optimally organizing supply chain management in a global group?

    This is the first time that the understanding of governance in supply chain management has been sharpened in a conceptually sound study with reliable empirical statements. The aim is to use a suitable governance structure to increase the effectiveness of the supply chain management organization in the global group.

    We follow a "two-step approach":

  1. In a first step, qualitative benchmarking among the seven participating project partners takes into account the various boundary conditions for the organization of Group-wide supply chain management.
  2. In a second step, we conduct a global survey to ensure the comparability of the results. In return, all participants benefit from a free global benchmark of their status quo.

    The study is accompanied by two implementation partners, the business and management consultancy Deloitte Consulting and the HR and management consultancy Mercuri Urval Germany.

    The benchmarking results will be made available exclusively to all companies participating in the survey. In addition, a general publication will be made available to the general public.

Duration: 2012 - 2015
Partners and Supporters: Seven partners as well as Deloitte Consulting and Mercuri Urval as an implementation partner


Survey on "The Optimal Organization of Corporate Supply Chain Management"

Staff training for a leading logistics service provider in Switzerland

The rapidly increasing demand on the part of many shippers for individual logistics services instead of traditionally standardized transport and warehousing services, coupled with increasing cost pressure, requires new perspectives and approaches in the management of logistics service providers. The management of the various functional areas of a large Swiss logistics service provider are under increasing pressure to establish new processes and appropriate behavioral changes among employees in close coordination within the company. In addition, shippers demand from logistics service providers a comprehensive understanding of their business processes and practices as well as end-to-end processes across company boundaries.

LOG-HSG trains the company's management staff on current supply chain management and logistics concepts in a practical and comprehensive manner in several cohorts. The individual modules address the following key areas: Evaluation of logistics markets, approaches to customer-specific alignment of the service offering, management of logistics capacities, networking with suppliers, as well as cost calculation and supply chain controlling. Based on what they have learned, the managers develop concrete implementation proposals for current challenges from business practice.


Duration: 2012 - 2015
Supporter: Logistics service provider

Focus Group Pre-Supplier Management

Focus group for effective management of upstream suppliers of relevant supply chains

Manufacturers and trading companies have an obligation to their customers, the state and other stakeholders to ensure that their own promises, specifications or rules, as well as legal requirements, are met in their supply chains. This applies not only to their own value creation, but also to that of their suppliers and sub-suppliers, right down to the raw materials. At the same time, the number of disruptions and other challenges in current supply chains, which are caused in particular at upstream stages of the value chain, is increasing sharply and relate, for example, to supply bottlenecks, cost fluctuations, quality problems, legal non-compliance, and socially or environmentally controversial practices.

Since there are no direct business relationships with upstream suppliers, the management of these upstream suppliers has so far been regarded as little controlled or practiced. This raises the key question, "How can upstream suppliers with whom a company does not have a direct business relationship be "managed"?" The change in supplier structure requires the expansion of classic supplier management to include components of pre-supplier management.

The focus group Pre-Supplier Management serves to develop concrete practices, methods and structures for the efficient management of upstream suppliers in critical supply chains - directly or via intermediary suppliers. In this way, pre-supplier management extends the established approaches of supplier management to upstream stages right through to raw materials in the sense of integrated supply chain management.

Duration: 2013 - 2014
Partners: 5 partner

International Value Stream Management

A Supply Chain Optimization Approach from the Perspective of the Swiss Economy ("WertstromCH")

In many cases, supply chains of international Swiss companies have grown historically and are designed to reduce manufacturing costs. In recent years, the focus has increasingly shifted to the consideration of customs duties (including the declaration of origin) and value-added taxes (VAT), as well as the allocation of transport costs according to the originator of the goods and value flows. A solution to the transport costs, customs and VAT problems in supply chains has yet to be found for many internationally active Swiss SMEs. The central problem is the design of international flows of goods taking into account transport costs, customs duties and VAT in order to leverage potentials in international supply chains of Swiss companies.

For this purpose, various methods are used that simplify the problem and can be used by companies without much effort.

  • (1) Supply chain mapping: The basic idea of the approach of a process mapping lies in the simplification of the supply chain structures for the creation of more transparency. By identifying the most important trade relationships, the weak points in procurement and sales can be determined and thus form a basis for further optimization.
  • (2) Identification of possible value levers: Based on the realizations from the Supply chain Mapping the selection of suitable value levers takes place. In this process, the weaknesses identified are to be
    and measures to leverage potential in international supply chains. These can be, for example, the centralization or decentralization of a location in the network.
  • (3) Scenario analysis: The strategies identified are simulated quantitatively using the example of the participating Swiss SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). In this final test, the actual impact on the company's results is to be determined and risks and potentials are to be worked out. Company-specific recommendations for action will help the cooperation partners to implement the research results.

Duration: 2013 - 2015
Partners: 4 companies and 1 association
Supporter: Kommission für Technologie und Innovation (KTI) 

Team selling for logistics service providers

The increasing demand for customer-specific logistics solutions and the associated substitution of standardized general cargo business requires new competencies and structures when selling logistics services. Such logistics solutions must be tailored to the customer's business and usually include a variety of services from various departments of the logistics service provider. Salespeople themselves rarely have sufficient skills and decision-making authority to design a customer solution. Instead, teams of specialists and delegates from the respective departments involved are required to develop a holistic solution tailored to the company based on efficient sales processes.

LOG-HSG was commissioned by an international logistics services company to develop concrete structures and processes for such team selling for the sale of customer-specific logistics solutions and to support the company in the subsequent implementation.

Duration: 2012-2013
Partner and Supporter: International logistics service provider

Vision "Mobility Switzerland 2050"

Until now, the challenges in passenger and freight transport in and through Switzerland have been addressed in a strongly modal-based manner. However, such an approach prevents the achievement of an overall optimization in the dimensioning of transport capacities and their efficient utilization to sustainably secure the mobility needs of passenger and freight transport. In view of the long-term nature and the great economic importance of transport infrastructure investments, an integrated planning approach is urgently needed. The Vision Mobility Switzerland 2050 is intended to provide an impulse for this. The aim of this study is to reduce the existing inefficiencies in transport planning via the common vision and thus to achieve benefits for all stakeholder groups.

The Institute of Transport Planning and Systems at ETH Zurich and the Chair of Logistics Management at the University of St. Gallen as a scientific team would like to jointly develop a vision for mobility in Switzerland for the year 2050. By involving all stakeholder groups of mobility in Switzerland, a coordinated perspective on the future development of transport demand, transport supply and transport infrastructure across all transport modes (road, rail, shipping and aviation) for passenger and freight transport will be developed. The 2-year work of the scientific team is supported by a group of 20 institutions from the economy (companies and associations), in which all important groups of mobility stakeholders in Switzerland are represented. These sponsors perform the function of a sounding board and "thematic funnel".

The result of the work is a formulated vision of mobility in Switzerland in 2050, which will make an important contribution to answering the following pressing questions:

  • Development of the boundary conditions for mobility?
  • Financing of transport?
  • Technological development of transport?
  • Development of infrastructure needs?
  • Configuration of the operation?

The vision will set out specific theses that must be checked for plausibility and consistency of content. Due to the intended scope of the content of the vision, detailed, quantified proof of the theses is reserved for subsequent research projects. In order to enable impulses from expert representatives outside the science team and the sponsoring group, a first draft of the vision is to be discussed within the framework of a broadly supported expert event.

Duration: 2013 - 2015
Supporter: Consortium of 20 institutions from the corporate and association landscape
Partner: Institut für Verkehrsplanung und Transportsysteme (IVT), ETH Zürich


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stölzle
Geschäftsführender Direktor
Tel.: +41 71 224 72 81