Panel Summary: Network Resilience

The Transportation Center’s Business Advisory Committee discussed transportation network resilience from both research and practical perspectives. Resilience means the ability to resist and rebound from disruptions, accidental, natural or man-made. This feature of network services is important to users and carriers. The reliability of network services is a primary factor in choice of mode for shippers and travelers. We pay some price for unreliability every day.

The resilience of network services affects the ability to participate in activities, to function in the market place, safety and security, and sometimes life itself. Transportation systems in the U.S. are at once impressively resilient and significantly vulnerable to disruptions. This panel discussion began with a conceptual framework presented by Mark S. Daskin, Harris Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, in which he describes sources of network disruptions and general responses to them.

This was followed by presentation of shipper objectives and strategies by Carl Curry, Vice President, Integrated Purchasing & Logistics, PepsiCo Beverages and Foods, and John R. Meyers, Vice President, Arkansas Best Corporation, who discussed the actions and policies used by his trucking company.

Wally Hopp, Breed Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences and co-Director of the Master of Management in Manufacturing program, described research using network analyses to understand supply chain vulnerabilities and identify defensive strategies. Les Passa, Vice President, Strategic Planning, of the CSX Corporation discussed policies of his railroad, emphasizing the importance of continued capital reinvestment to ensure that infrastructure is robust.

Prof. Daskin wrapped up the session with a description of his own studies of the organization of distribution centers to provide resilience to disruption, after which he described a variety of ways in which Transportation Center faculty and BAC companies might collaborate on resilience research.