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Closing the Loop: Next Generation Solutions in Fully Traceable Re-usable Packaging for the Automotive Industry


About the Project


START DATE: The successful applicant needs to be able to start their doctoral studies by 19th October 2020.

The project aims to design a solution for fully-traceable and re-usable packaging to support GEFCO UK’s logistics services to their automotive clients. Key stages of the project are:-

- the mapping of current state flows and identification of value losses
- the quantification of issues and associated environmental impact with current packaging and labelling solutions
- researching available tracking, identification and verification technologies and identifying potential solutions
- evaluating potential solutions from economic, social and environmental perspectives
- implementing a pilot of the preferred solution
- developing a roll-out plan for the chosen solution


A core part of GEFCO’s offering is the provision of warehousing and logistics services to supply third party components to a number of UK automotive manufacturers. The packaging solution is currently a ‘GEFBOX’, a plastic stillage which can accommodate different types of component, using a sticky label each time to identify the supplier, the parts and the customer. While the intention is that the GEFBOX is returned after each usage, in reality they are often lost on customer sites and not returned. GEFCO have no way to track and recover these boxes. In addition, the labelling system causes issues as each customer has specific requirements and the current label is not re-useable and each stillage has to be re-labelled multiple times. There is a significant financial cost to GEFCO in the amount of new boxes that have to be introduced into the system, this negates the original intention of re-useable packaging to reduce the environmental impact. There is also an opportunity to reduce the costs and resources associated with the current labelling system.


A minimum 2.1 undergraduate (BEng, MEng, BSc, MSci) and/or postgraduate masters’ qualification (MSc) in a STEM subject.
Desirable attributes:
• Excellent analytical and reporting skills
• Excellent communication skills
• Strong computer skills
• Self-motivated

Funding Notes

Standard Research Council Maintenance Award is available for 4 years: £15,285 + £3,000 industrial top up (top up is subject to funding.)
This PhD is available for a UK/EU applicant only. To be eligible for this project the successful applicant should have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and have been ordinarily resident here for 3 years prior to the project start-date, apart from occasional or temporary absences. Additional details of these criteria are available on the EPSRC website.
The successful applicant needs to be able to start their doctoral studies by 19th October 2020.

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