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Social Logistics (Not for Profit Logistics and Green Supply Chains)

Faculty - Alan Malter, Managerial Studies, PI, Joe Cherian, Managerial Studies, Co-PI, Gene Fregetto, Managerial Studies, Co-PI, Houshang Darabi, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Co- PI, Jane Lin, Civil and Materials Engineering, Co-PI, Kazuya Kawamura, Urban Planning, Co-PI, Kouros Mohammadian, Civil and Materials Engineering, Co-PI

This project consists of two main tracks: not for profit logistics and green supply chains. A recent study (Bradley, Jansen and Silverman,2003) projected that the nonprofit sector can save about $100 billion by challenging the operating practices and notions of stewardship that currently govern the sector. The number of nonprofit organizations in Illinois has grown by 22% from 1999 to 2009, to a record number of 67,343. US nonprofit organizations control $2 trillion in assets and they spend three- quarters of a billion dollars annually. Despite the huge operational volume of this sector in Illinois, there has not been a single entity providing logistics decision support to these organizations. Most of these organizations (especially Illinois small nonprofit organizations such as local charities) act alone and therefore have their own independent supply and distribution networks. Moreover, these organizations are usually governed by local volunteers who do not have expertise in supply chain management and performance optimization.

We propose the creation of a research-working group within the Center for Supply Chain Management and Logistics to fill this gap. The group consists of supply chain optimization experts who can make a significant improvement in the performance of Illinois nonprofit organizations. Since this group is the first of its kind in Illinois and the goal is to help organizations that are not for profit, it is expected to raise the COB research profile significantly and to introduce UIC as a pioneer in design and improvement of nonprofit organization logistics systems.

Within the theme of green supply chain and logistics, we focus on one critical research question, that is, the entire energy and material flow and thus costs throughout the supply chain, namely from raw material input to manufacturing to distribution to final consumption. At each stage of the supply chain, one big question constantly asked by the companies involved is "How does energy (material) flow in the supply chain? What are the activities in the supply chain that render room for improvements in efficiency?" By improving the efficiencies of both energy consumption and materials flow throughout the supply chain, companies can in fact become more competitive.

The objective of the proposed research in the second track is to develop a life cycle analysis tool, which will (1) develop a life cycle inventory of energy use and emissions from a selected group of supply chains; (2) identify energy efficiency in each stage of the supply chain, and (3) quantify the environmental impacts on global warming and local air quality. The research applies life cycle assessment (LCA) principles derived from industrial ecology. LCA identify the system boundaries, the material and energy flows through these boundaries, and associated environmental impacts that occur at each stage of a product's lifetime (National Academy of Engineering, 1999). The core of LCA is life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis, environmental impact analysis (EIA), and improvement analysis (Vigon et al., 1993). In recent years LCA applications have been extended to service systems in which capital inputs are particularly significant (Suh et al., 2004). LCA presents a holistic picture of energy use and emissions associated with the entire supply chain.

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