Projects

Current Projects

Sustainable Supply Chain Management Book (Forthcoming), MIT Press 
A collaboration between Dr. Bateman, Professor Sheffi, and Dr. Blanco, this business directed book presents a balanced view of integrating sustainable practices into the supply chain while maintaining efficiency and profitability. The book presents a broad review of challenges, methods for assessment, best practices, and existing gaps. Looking across all industries, up and down the supply chain, over 100 companies and organizations have contributed through field visits, interviews, conferences and roundtables. Combining both academic and business perspectives, the book offers deep insight into the opportunities and challenges of reducing environmental impact while maintaining or improving profit in the supply chain. 
With Professor Yossi Sheffi, Dr. Edgar Blanco

Responsibility in Commodity Supply Chains
Stemming from the increasing risks and unsustainable practices deep in opaque commodity supply chains, the lab is conducting an in depth examination of the challenges, opportunities, and best practices across multiple commodities to reduce risk, ensure responsible practices, while maintaining or improving profit including traceability and transparency. Ongoing focused projects include palm oil, coffee & cocoa, conflict minerals, and a cross-commodity analysis.
With Bruna Mota, Veronica Leon Bravo, Kemal Armada

Palm Oil
Together with Procter & Gamble and the Malaysian Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI), the project is examining the highly complex supply chain of palm oil from a major buyer like P&G down to the hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers in Malaysia. Analysing data drawn from site visits, evaluating key pinch points in the chain, targeting small holder farmers, and employing best practices in the industry, the project seeks to ensure sustainable sources of palm oil for a major buyer like P&G while maintaining the livelihoods of the the most vulnerable population of small holders dependent on palm oil production.
With Professor Asad Ata

Evaluating Social Transparency in Global Apparel Supply Chains
The apparel industry has fallen under publicized scrutiny in recent years for not ensuring safe and healthy conditions for its workers. With consumers becoming more aware of these issues and creating public pressure on the industry, many companies are increasingly trying to institute transparency within their supply chains in order to rectify these problems. At the same time, transparency itself is not clearly defined in the realm of supply chain responsibility, which makes the process of quantifying transparency within companies rather difficult. The main goal of this project is to establish a framework and methodology that can be used to define and quantify social transparency across different companies with the apparel industry as a case study. We are developing these methods by understanding how different but equally important factors - business, technology, and policy-making - can be employed to analyze transparency and ultimately provide suggestions for correcting issues of compromised working conditions in apparel supply chains.
With Denis Bozic

Biodiesel in Mexico City
Together with National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), this project is an examination of the lifecycle impact, capacity, opportunity, and design of a biodiesel collection system in Mexico City. Given the available supply and growing demand for renewable fuels in Mexico City and other urban areas, the review will provide insight for increasing the capabilities for urban biodiesel collection. A workshop between UNAM and MIT will be held at MIT on September 1 & 2. 
With Daniel Camacho

Evaluating the True Cost of Water
A large multi-national Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company, uses water as an essential ingredient in its products and as a critical component in the manufacturing processes in its operations worldwide. In many instances, the price of water does not reflect market dynamics insofar as water is cheaper where there is low availability and vice versa. Business continuity costs due to poor water quality or water shortages may far outweigh the direct costs CPG company incurs in purchasing water. Taking such costs into account, in order to optimize water use and build resilience within its manufacturing operations, this project created a framework that calculates a comprehensive value of water that incorporates CPG company's business disruption costs at any of the 250+ manufacturing sites around the world. 
Rishi Gohil, Maria Mendez Vivez

Driving the New York State Hop Industry to Meet Demand 
The craft brewing industry in New York State has grown rapidly over the past five years helped in part by New York State legislation called the Farm Brewery Act of 2012.  The act imposes agricultural stipulations for breweries desiring to file for a Farm Brewing license.  The hop industry will have to grow in kind to meet the Farm Brewery Act requirements.  The level of growth that needs to be achieved was determined through the use of system dynamics modeling.  Production volumes were calculated based on survey results from brewers and farmers.  Currently, the state’s hop industry is producing a surplus of hops and will be able to supply short-term brewery growth over the horizon of the next three years.  It was discovered, however, that the industry is vulnerable to demand shifts and prudent action should be taken to become resilient to changes in buyer regulations and preferences: increasing the economy of scale and building collaborative relationships through farm clustering will improve the longevity of New York’s hop industry.
Nate Stempel

Past Projects

Food Waste Startup: Spoiler Alert 
A startup founded by Ricky Ashenfelter & Emily Malina, Spoiler Alert is a B2B foodtech solution to help businesses manage surplus food and organic waste. Reduce wasted food leads to improved margin and & fights food insecurity.

Designing a Biodiesel Supply Chain in Mexico City
A System Design and Management Thesis focusing on the preliminary design and routing of a biodiesel supply chain in Mexico City.

Smart Way & Transporte Limpio
A comparison of the U.S. SmartWay program, an EPA public private initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by freight transportation of corporate supply chains, with the Mexican spinoff, Transporte Limpio. While the EPA SmartWay program has grown rapidly in the last ten years since its founding, Transporte Limpio has failed to take off in Mexico. The project focuses on the barriers preventing successful implementation of a program of this type in Mexico.

Truck Drivers Quality of Life
There is a growing challenge in the retention of drivers due to the low quality of life of long haul trucking. This project examined current and best practices to improve the quality of life for truckers to increase driver retention for D4U, a trucking company based in Florida.  

Ethanol Supply Chain & Industry Overview: More Harm than Good?
This research project examined key aspects of ethanol including its material characteristics, supply chain, and government legislation that affects its market demand and availability. In addition, it discusses the social and environmental impacts of the growing biofuel industry stemming from government mandates. The goal of the project was to investigate existing studies and evaluate the aggregated findings to determine if ethanol provides a net benefit to society.