Kai Furmans is a professor for Logistics and Material Handling Systems at the KIT since 2003 and head of the Institute of Material Handling Systems and Logistics since 2005. He received an offer for a similar position at the University of Dresden in 2008, but decided to stay in Karlsruhe. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and a habilitation with a venia legendi for logistics.
His research interest is the coordination of decentralized activities in logistics systems. On one side, this is reflected in a series of research projects, where mechatronic systems for material handling systems are developed towards true Plug & Work Systems. On the other hand, the research is focused on transportation, warehousing and value-adding services which are decentrally implemented and are geographically spread out. Methods of research are either experimental (for the mechatronic part) or mathematical stochastic and optimisation models.
For his Ph.D. thesis about batch-processing and collecting systems, which play a fundamental role in understanding efficiency and performance of service systems in transportation and logistics one of his first supervised Ph.D. candidates Marc Schleyer received the Science Award in Logistics by the BVL, which is also a prize for the institution where the candidate performed his research.
This research direction was inspired by his professional experience in setting up and running of distribution systems on a continental scale.
He is currently supervising the research projects of 15 Ph.D. candidates and two postdocs (at university and at research centre for information technologies FZI). Since 2003, he has successfully supervised six doctoral candidates. All candidates listed have successfully presented their research work on international conferences. After receiving their degree, three excellent researchers where encouraged and supported to set up their own research groups, which focus on risk management for supply chains, decentralized material handling systems and mechanical material handling systems.More information on the Institute's website