Boot Camp 2024: Predictive Logistics

24 participants, 4 practice partners, 3 days - one goal: a deep dive into the world of logistics and supply chain management at KLU's traditional boot camp. Under the motto "Predictive Logistics", Bonprix provided the practical case this year: How can the company reduce the returns rate for online orders and at the same time improve the customer shopping experience? To solve this problem, the students were given real company data from Bonprix. They also received support from practice partners IBM, toern and Baitech Data.

Practice partner Bonprix had a real-life and urgent task for the students: how can the flood of returns in online retail be reduced? Many customers order clothing in several different sizes to choose from, which inevitably leads to returns. A burden for the company, but also for the environment and shipping service providers. The solutions developed ranged from machine learning methods for predicting suitable product sizes to the prediction of logistical costs for returns processing.

Intensive Cooperation

"It's incredibly exciting to see what the students do with the data in the short time available," says Dr. Iurii Konovalenko, Data Scientist at Bonprix and former KLU PhD student. He was happy to return to his old university for the boot camp. He himself also benefited from KLU's close cooperation with industry. "The intensive work in a short space of time really generates a lot of exciting ideas. This is a great inspiration for our own daily work." Following the boot camp, all of the students' ideas were passed on to Bonprix's in-house task force on the subject of returns.

Jonas Zeuner from toern also provided input as an expert for the students. The start-up toern has also specialized in the topic of returns - specifically, they are working on a system in which returns are not sent to the retailer, but are passed on directly to other interested customers. "The exchange with the students is really exciting for us. Getting new ideas here is very valuable," said Zeuner.

Strong community

"I arrived without any great expectations. I just wanted to try it out and see what happens," says Arlene Moreno. She is in her 7th semester studying Shipping and Catering at Bremen University of Applied Sciences. In her opinion, the boot camp is suitable for students of all kinds. "But you have to be keen to get involved. You don't have to be very advanced in your studies. It's most interesting when people with many different professional backgrounds come together."

Tejaswi Armin Manay (BA International Logistics at the TH Würzburg-Schweinfurt) is attending the boot camp for the second time. "The practical experts are incredibly open and helpful. They explain a lot to us and give us insights into their work," he reports. "And of course, Hamburg is simply a very beautiful city. It's fun to spend some time here."

"It's just a great community here," says My Dao, a Bachelor student from HTW Dresden. "The practical task is very interesting. At first, I was a little worried because the topic seemed very technical at first, but that quickly cleared up," she says.

Many perspectives

After three packed days, the groups presented their results to practice partners and boot camp director Prof. André Ludwig. "We had some really fantastic, highly motivated students here again this year," says Ludwig. "The fact that a former doctoral student, Dr. Iurii Konovalenko, an expert in data science at Bonprix, has now even become a case sponsor is of course particularly nice. In a way, we've come full circle." Prabesh Dhakal, also a data scientist at Bonprix, was also impressed by the high standard: "The students were very creative. They grasped the data very well and based their decisions and ideas well on concrete figures. What's more, they didn't just focus on reducing returns, but really looked at the problem from many angles."

Further information:

Impressions of Boot Camp 2024