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Georgos Makris

2016 Diploma Thesis Title:

Πρόβλεψη Ζήτησης και Εμπορευματικές Μεταφορές: Δύο Σημαντικοί Τομείς της Εφοδιαστικής Αλυσίδας


This thesis focuses on the development of innovative training material in supply chain management in the areas of freight transportation and demand forecasting. This material has been used to develop pilot MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for the first time in a Greek university.
Supply chain management is critical for any business. It integrates important processes relating to the supply of raw materials, their processing into finished products and the distribution of the products to the end customers.
For effective supply chain performance, capable, well trained managers are required, including (a) supply chain manager, (b) logistics manager, (c) logistics engineer, (d) procurement manager, (e) production planner etc.
 In today’s highly competitive business environment, these managers should continuously refresh and sharpen their knowledge. An important lever in responding to this imperative is offered by the educational innovation of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). MOOCs offer free access to a multitude of educational topics offered by world famous educational institutions over the internet. This is proving to be an excellent choice for acquiring knowledge, skills and experience on various subjects of interest in both the academic community as well as the modern world of businesses.
The MOOCs of this thesis focus on the areas of demand forecasting and freight transportation. The first area concerns methods and techniques used by companies to assess the level of future demand for their products and services. Initially the importance of demand forecasting in business profitability and operations is highlighted, and the characteristics, time horizons and general methodologies are discussed. Subsequently, significant quantitative demand forecasting methods are presented based on the pattern of demand pattern. The forecasting methods discussed are have been implemented in an Excel-based forecasting tool developed as part of this thesis. The forecasting review concludes by discussing two of the most widely used qualitative forecasting methods. 
The second area concerns the criteria, methods and modes employed to transport products or freight. Initially the importance and role of freight transport is discussed, together with related statistics, the various involved stakeholders, and various unit loads. Subsequently, we present the characteristics of the five main modes of transport (unimodal and combined). The discussion concludes with an analysis of the criteria to select transport modes, and the presentation of two quantitative methods used to support this selection.
Keywords: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), supply chain, demand forecasting, freight transportation, Big Data, Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP).