Rock Your PhD with a Scholarship in the Graduate School of Logistics:

Doing a doctorate in three years, working on issues from industrial practice and in a comprehensive scientific network? That’s possible – with a scholarship from thyssenkrupp Materials Services GmbH at the Graduate School of Logistics (GSofLog) in Dortmund.

You can expect an innovative, interdisciplinary team, comprehensive scientific supervision by top-class professors of logistics as well as an exciting question from practice – packaged in a structured doctoral program of the nationwide unique, purely industry-funded model of the Graduate School of Logistics.

Your Research Project

Procedure model for availability-oriented inventory control with fluctuating sales in wholesale trade

In Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP), sales expectations are linked to operations planning in a company-wide plan. While the forecasting of goods that are frequently demanded by customers is possible with a high degree of quality and little effort, the situation is different for goods that are only ordered sporadically. Due to the different demand patterns in terms of demand timing and quantity, there are currently no forecasting methods that allow an accurate demand prediction.

As a consequence, these goods either have to be stored in a high quantity, with the associated costs, or customer requirements are not satisfied and thus potential sales are missed. The uncertainties from the planning lead to downstream deviations from the plan in operational execution. This results in complex challenges that must be solved in detailed planning, e.g., within the Sales and Operations Execution (S&OE).

With the artificial intelligence methods that are now frequently used, some approaches can be found to increase the quality of forecasts. However, it has been shown that using a single method depends very much on the specific problem and thus results in only minor advantages. The combination of different methods in the sense of ensemble or meta-learning represents current approaches to circumvent this weak point. In addition, new research work is showing how human expert knowledge can be integrated to achieve an improvement in prediction quality. However, more accurate forecasting of demand alone is not sufficient to achieve improved inventory levels in S&OP for these sporadically demanded products. Instead, the forecast must be integrated into a holistic control concept and also into an adapted and optimized inventory control.

Questions to be considered within the scope of this research project:

  • How can fluctuations in demand be proactively identified at an early stage and quantified?
  • How should AI-based forecasting methods be designed and combined with expert knowledge to improve forecasting quality?
  • How must an inventory control process be designed to take advantage of improved forecast quality for lower inventories while maintaining service levels?
  • How to identify planning impacts and use data-driven methods to add economic value?
  • How to effectively connect S&OP and S&OE?
  • How can a control concept be implemented operationally, considering the uncertainties of tactical planning?
  • How can such a solution be integrated into a company’s processes?

The model developed is to be tested as a prototype at thyssenkrupp Materials Services GmbH in Essen/Germany and integrated into the existing tool landscape.

The supervisor of the PhD thesis is Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd Hellingrath, Chair of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, University of  Münster.

Your Topic?

Do you want to make this topic your research project? This is what you should bring with you:

  • A very good master’s degree in information systems, business administration, logistics or related disciplines
  • Communication skills, reliability and willingness to travel
  • Complete application documents including cover letter, curriculum vitae, references, a letter of recommendation from a university professor
  • Very good knowledge of German and English
  • Organizational skills as well as an independent and efficient way of working
  • Spirit of research and ability to work in a team

The scholarship rate is initially 1,400 euros per month (tax-free). You will receive a workplace at the research group at the University of Münster as well as at the Logistics Campus of the TU Dortmund University. You are embedded in the structured doctoral program of GSofLog. Your supervisor, your day-to-day supervisor and the coordinator will accompany you during the process of the three-year doctorate.

If you are interested, send your application documents in a PDF document by e- mail to:

Deadline is 03. November 2023.

Further Questions?

If you have any questions about the call for applications or the application process, you can find more information on our website Our team will also be happy to talk to you in person.


TU Dortmund | Graduate School of Logistics | Britta Scherer | Leonhard-Euler-Straße 5 | 44227 Dortmund | Email: | Telefon: 0231 9743 413