Promoting the University and Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre of Excellence by Afiq Arafat Bin Othman | Innovation | Collaboration

To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011).

Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

PROMOTING THE UNIVERSITY AND INDUSTRY COLLABORATION TOWARDS LOGISTICS RESEARCH CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE
Afiq Arafat Bin Othman1, 2
1

Malaysia Institute of Transport (MITRANS) University Teknologi MARA (UiTM), 40450, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia E-mail: afiq_arafat@yahoo.com Tel: +603-5544 2351

Keywords: Research centre of excellence; university-industry collaboration; logistics Abstract In knowledge based economies, higher education and institution plays a crucial and vital role in sustaining the economic growth and development of a nation. As the economy of a country and its higher education system are closely connected within each other, the development of either one of these party boosts the other, too, in the sense that they are complement with one another. Looking forwards into logistics industry in Malaysia, it can be said as one of the essential areas of business activity to deal with. It is because in the past, the advantages of having an effective distribution system are not sensitive by most of the companies and thus has not given sufficient priority to the development of effective distribution strategies. Consequently, this study is driven by the following objectives that are to examine the issues arise in logistics industries in Malaysia and the importance of promoting the university and industry collaboration towards the logistics research centre of excellence in order to support the growth and development of logistics industries in Malaysia. Just because of several defects occur within the sector, the interaction between industry and university research centre is important to rectify such weaknesses. The method used for this conceptual paper is by reviewing the related literature. The findings of this paper would provide insights for the logistics industry that joint collaboration between the interactions with logistics research centre of excellence can be a key contributor to their growth and development.

1.0

INTRODUCTION

In knowledge based economies, higher education and institution plays a crucial and vital role in sustaining the economic growth and development of a nation. As the economy of a country and its higher education system are closely connected within each other, the development of either one of these party boosts the other, too, in the sense that they are complement with one another. It is found that higher education has become very important and complex as regard to its political, social as well as economic role (Jackel, 2011). In the symptoms where the world have unpredicted economic situation, in the new economy, only complex and multi-color higher education institutions can meet varied prospects, expectations and challenges of the new ever changing atmosphere. ____________________
2

Special thank and acknowledgement to Dr Harlina Suzana Jaafar, The Malaysia Research Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain (MARCELS), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Malaysia for her inspiring comments.

To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011). Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

Thus, most government from all over the world are actively look forward into promoting university-industry interaction in the sense that it could help to effectively encourage the linkages or cooperation between university, industry, and government (Fontana et al ,2006). Dooley and Kirk (2007) demonstrate that the transition of discovery, innovation and knowledge can be passing into the marketplace faster thus offering competitive advantage for the industry. In addition, through the discoveries, more knowledge and innovation can be transforming into policies and procedures in supporting the needs of challenges environment nowadays. Looking forwards into logistics industry in Malaysia, it can be said as one of the essential areas of business activity to deal with. It is because in the past, the advantages of having an effective distribution system are not sensitive by most of the companies and thus has not given sufficient priority to the development of effective distribution strategies. It is strongly believe that within the last decade, the development of international trade as well as the transformation of economy from agriculture based to a trade driven based has stimulated awareness that logistics and transport sector plays a critical role in facilitating the country‟s economy (Ali, Jaafar and Mohamad, 2008). The role and importance of the logistics industry has been officially mentioned and highlighted in the Third Industrial Master Plan when the significance of the logistics sector has been recognized towards the enhancement of Malaysia‟s progress in industrialization and international trade (2006-2020). It‟s stated that the targets‟ that was underlined by the government includes the achievement of overall growth of 8.6% by the year 2020, which is equivalent to approximately 12.1% contribution to the Gross Domestic Product. The rapid development and expansion in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia recently has resulted in an increase demand for better logistics services. Despite of the remarkable expansion of the industry, particularly in Malaysia, there has been very little published research in the area of logistics and supply chain resulting in a very limited dissemination of information for the purpose of coordination, learning, and advancement (Jaafar & Mohamad, 2009). Although both practitioners and academics are increasingly aware of the importance of logistics and supply chain in Malaysia, however the field is still under research. It is importance to priorities research and development so that various weaknesses in the industry could be identified and improved. The research and development center could also become the focal point for advanced research in the field of logistics, supply chain and transportation management. Consequently, this study is driven by the following objectives that are to examine the issues arise in logistics industries in Malaysia and the importance of promoting the university and industry collaboration towards the logistics research centre of excellence in order to support the growth and development of logistics industries in Malaysia. Just because of several defects occur

To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011). Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

within the sector, the interaction between industry and university research centre is important to rectify such weaknesses. 2.0 ISSUES ARISE IN LOGISTICS SECTOR

Regardless of the potential development of the logistics industry, several various issues have been recognized by the Malaysian industry players resulting from the fragmented development of the industry as well as the uncoordinated implementation of its regulation. Most of them urged the government to find the best possible solution to resolve these issues before the country can fully realize its aspiration to become one of the logistics hubs in the region (Thong, 2007). With regard to the development and expansion of the logistics industry, there is also a lack of dissemination of information (Jaafar & Mohamad, 2009). For example, the activities of various sectors have not been made known to all sectors and thus hindered the possibilities of joint- ventures and working together towards the same direction in the sense that as to how their services and facilities can be channeled towards the success of the proposed development and contribute towards positive participation (Ali et al, 2008). Thong (2007) stated that is was very important just because through the information obtained, the practitioners can suggest on how they can participate in the new business opportunities. The problem faced by the logistics industry in Malaysia is that there were no single establish sources of logistics data and information. It is strongly believed that presently, there seems no single establish source of logistics information and data available in the sense that each sector has its own limited data (Ali et al, 2008; Jaafar & Mohamad, 2009) The issue here is that there is no one stop centre which can provides valuable information to the logistics operators and there are so many places or office to refer in managing the logistics itself. Thus, by having a research centre of excellence that focuses into the area of transportation and logistics, the problem can be managed by strong collaboration between the interaction by industry and research centre. Another issues arise within the sector is that there is also lack of information of the industry players, facilities, services and capabilities of the sectors. The database of such useful information is very crucial so that the coordinating body could analyze the shortcomings of each sector and suggestion to rectify such weakness (Ali et al, 2008). The new internet technology enhancement, expansion of activities expansion plans of logistics providers, both local and international should be more transparent to the industry players so that they are updated to the latest news of the industry (Thong, 2007). At the same time it is strongly believe that the logistics industry database is also crucial for accurate assessment of the industry, better monitoring, assisting company in investment decision, and also improve decision making.

To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011). Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

3.0

DEFINING A RESEARCH CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

What is the definition of centre of excellence? Mostly previous researchers have their own definition but it still stand by one objective, which is research and development. Centre vary in scales from a single individual, to segments of a department, entire departments, individuals from several departments, and from various universities and companies (Kemelgor & Etzkowitz, 1998). Friedman, Robert and Renee (1987) agree that centres have thus become taken for granted as part of the academic scene, which is to shifting the balance of activity from teaching to research. To uphold the status of academic institutions, achieving the critical mass of research is vital so that it can be a path to local economic growth, initially through the research itself and later through the economic development that can be generated from that research (Kemelgor & Etzkowitz, 1998). On the other hand, Lawrence and Bodger (2006), defines centres of excellences as a physical or virtual centres of research which concentrates existing capacity and resources in order to enhance the pursuit of excellence, specifically on research and development that at the same time enable personnel to collaborate between across disciplines and institutions on projects or programme that are locally relevant and internationally significant. Using a very simple definition, centres of excellence are institutional structures where research and development is performed at a world standard in terms measurable scientific production that include training and innovativeness (Mali, 2007). From the researcher point of view, under this context, research centre of excellence is a centre that promotes collaboration between university- industry, and at the same time making new discovery and knowledge through research. So, any research centre from the universities can be said that as centre of excellence is the sense that it acts as a unique entity in higher institution nowadays. In the context of Malaysia, In support to the 3rd thrust of National Higher Education Strategic Plan (NHESP), and moving towards gearing up the stage of the country‟s research and development (R&D) and innovation, the Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia (MOHE) finds that there is a need to recognize the potential centres of excellence (CoE) in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in order to further leap them towards moving internationalization. The government attention was that the research centre of excellence would promote world-class research excellence towards the country social and economic development (MOHE, 2011). The term of reference released by the MOHE list down the following indicative characteristics for a research centre of excellence based on:   Teaching and learning thrust and Service thrust

To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011). Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

In the meanwhile, during 2009, the MOHE has taken the initiative to give recognition towards centre of excellence in the Higher Education Institution to be upgraded to Higher Institutions‟ Centres of Excellence (HICoE) based from the mechanism and standard rating criteria. These HICoE serve two trusts that are:   Research and Innovation Thrust Service Thrust

The recognition of HICoE by MOHE is to identify „best of the best CoE in Higher Education Institution at national level. It is strongly believe that the efforts taken from the government of acknowledging and identifying the achievement of CoEs in HEIs would encouraged them to work towards becoming a global leader in their research niche area. Thus, these HICoE will be supported and facilitated by MOHE so that they will become the „focused vehicles‟ that will drive research and development and innovation agenda particularly in the fundamental research, as well as contributing to human capital development. The formation of such centre has enabled researchers to gain access to sophisticated research foundation and equipment. A good research infrastructure means the ability to generate increases support from the industry and the further strengthening of joint research encompassing basic, applied and development projects. Further development of research capabilities can enables the centre to compete for additional national and international financial support, resulting in more research work and the ability to attract young researchers to this promising research area and, in the future, to become a self-sustaining organizational unit. 4.0 DISCUSSION

Taking together all the literature and problems pertaining about logistics industry, a unique solution needs to be done in order to enhance the growth and development of these industries in developing countries, particularly in Malaysia. Thus, the creation of logistics research centre of excellence can be a focal point as one stop centre for logistics industry in order to making a niche research form the collaboration with the industry. As suggested by Fontana et al (2006), most government from all over the world are actively looking forward to promoting university-industry interaction that can effectively encourage the linkages or cooperation between the university, industry and government. This study, suggested that the development of such centre should be supported and facilitated just because in order to produce innovation of new research, government first must act as a regulator and promoter of such centre. Even though these centres has been facilitated and supported by Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), this study discovers that the strong

To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011). Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

collaboration that connects the industry and university is equally important criteria in the sense that they can sit, discuss, and learn together. In today competitive world, many firms have transformed their current competitive environment for the reasons of challenging global competition, shorter product life cycles and rapid technological development (Bettis and Hitt, 1995). This can be proving as during temporary, many big and smalls firms are having collaboration between the universities in order to enhance their innovation market. Just because of this factors, many organizations has move forwards to actively gaining more knowledge since in this new era, most of them is now more dependent on continuous knowledge development and enhancement. One of the researcher suggest that a better firm can absorb knowledge from external sources (Leonard-Barton, 1995) and institutionalize the knowledge acquisition process whereas involves routinizing knowledge acquisition activities thus allowing for the continued acquisition of knowledge over time (Meyer and Rowan, 1977). It shows that there must be a need to discover new innovation and knowledge in order to solve or to bring solutions that arise within the sector. In addition, this study proposes that a logistics research centre of excellence as a point for knowledge transfer that allowing the dissemination of information whereas the industrial sector can absorbs the new innovation knowledge over time. Large literature clarifies that university research centres and individual organizations have complementary skills and resources (Bower, 1993; Betz, 1996; NSB, 1996: SRI International, 1997). The word “complementary” means that is the key to university-industry collaboration (Teece, 1987). It answers the question of how far the importance of industry to the university itself. For example, what we have known today is that most of the centre of excellence based from university has full access to intellectual resources and some of them have a world class basic research infrastructure, whereas industrial firms usually have financial resources, practical expertise, and workforce experience. This study discovers that relationship between industrial firms and university research centre is vital just because it is strongly believe that the industry sector is relying more heavily on these types of relationships in order to broaden and enhance their existing knowledge base. The complementarities can be shown whereas university, as the producers of the scientific and technological knowledge, industries, as promoters of the development and innovation of new technologies; and the government acting as a regulator and promoter of such relation (Etzkowitz, 1996). The benefits that can be gained to industrial firms are access to new technologies, enhancement to firm‟s image and reputation, access to university facilities, and proximity to economical resources (NSB, 1996; NSF, 1982). In contrast, the interactions between the universities and industry make the university to obtain additional funding, gain access to industrial technical expertise, expose students and practical problems, and provide employment

To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011). Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

opportunities for new graduates (NSB, 1996; NSF, 1982). At the same time, it is found that the knowledge transfer from the interaction between industrial firms and university research centres can be gather from knowledge advancement, joint curriculum development, personnel exchanges, joint participation in research consortia, resource sharing, and collaboration on joint research projects (NSF, 1982). These activities can positively relate to better levels of outcomes from firms performance and sustained competitive advantage (Frye, 1993; Santoro and Chakrabati, 1999). Tijssen (2003) expresses that the three most important drivers of research excellence nowadays are the creation of new and high-quality scientific and technical knowledge, its transmission communities and the commercial exploitation of that knowledge. However, this study argues that the transmission communities may result in uncertainties just because of the new global competitive environment nowadays. Centres of excellence are increasingly seen as an important mechanism, for boosting co-operation between the academic research sector and the business sector. This study suggests that in order to tackle the issues arise for logistics industry, the approach to tackle the issue should be reviewed form a holistic approach across industrial sectors rather than in isolation by adapting the application of information technology for example. Flexibility and permeable boundaries between the university, other research sectors, and economy; the commercialization of scientific inquiry; and border crossings of researchers between various sectors are supposed to become major sources and strategies for knowledge dissemination and innovation. Certainly, various attempts are made to install incentives for such a new regime of knowledge production and dissemination (Enders, 2005). Academics are increasingly expected to work across disciplinary and institutional divides and to work with practitioners from industry and other public and private organizations, generating external income and producing relevant knowledge. Several examples can be given how „centers of excellence and relevance‟ gain in importance in European universities that try to contribute to the advancement of knowledge through cutting edge research and are, at the same time, busy with the commercialization of research outcomes, knowledge and technology transfer, and other spin-off activities beyond the home turf of traditional academic work (Rip, 2002). Finally, learning and research collaborations among the industry, university and government are strongly encouraged for logistics sector in Malaysia just because it is dealing with the human resource, operational and policy issues. It is discovers that within that interaction among them, all the issues and problems can be diagnoses and solved during the process of research and development thus at the same time explores new innovation in human resource, operational and policy matters in logistics industry. The creation of logistics research centre of excellence should become a tool or mechanism that will drive research and development for

To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011). Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

innovation agenda particularly in supporting the growth of logistics industry as well as contributing to human capital development. 5.0 CONCLUSION

This paper highlights the importance of promoting the university and industry collaboration in logistics industry in Malaysia. Even though the importance seems to be too general, that means for any sector like accounts or economy, this study considers about the issues that arise in the logistics sector. It is wonders that whether the industrial firms are aware towards the creation of logistics research centre of excellence in Malaysia. It is suggest that the logistics industrial organization to have a strong collaboration with university research centre in order to facilitate the innovation and discoveries form the findings of university. On the other hands, the speed of knowledge could be enhance thought the degree of close interaction between industry and universities and thus offering faster knowledge exchanges to both parties for mutual benefit. The findings of this paper would provide insights for the logistics industry that joint collaboration between the interactions with logistics research centre of excellence can be a key contributor to their growth and development. REFERENCES Bettis, R., Hitt, M. (1995). The New Competitive Landscape. Strategic Management Journal 16, 7–19. Betz, F. (1996). Industry–university partnerships. Gaynor, G. (Ed.), Handbook of Technology Management, McGraw-Hill, New York (Chapter 8). Bower, J.D. (1993). Successful joint ventures in science parks. Long Range Planning. 26 (6), 114– 120. Dooley, L., Kirk, D. (2007). University-industry collaboration: Grafting the entrepreneur paradigm onto academic structures, European Journal of Innovation Management, 10(3), 316-332 Enders, J. (2005). Border crossings: Research training, knowledge dissemination and the transformation of academic work. Higher Education, 49(1), 119-133. Etzkowitz, Henry. (1996). The Triple Helix Academic-Industry Government RelationsImplications for the New York Regional Innovation Environment. In: RAYMOND, Susan (ed.). The Technology Link to Economic Development- Past Lessons and Future Imperatives. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences- New York, 67-86.

To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011). Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

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To cite this paper : Afiq Arafat, O. (2011). Promoting The University And Industry Collaboration Towards Logistics Research Centre Of Excellence. Proceedings of the International Conference on University Education (INCUE 2011), Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia, 7-8 December, pp 49-60. ISBN: 978-967-363-346-3

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BIOGRAPHICAL DATA Afiq Arafat Bin Othman currently is a post graduate student in Malaysia Institute of Transport (MITRANS) at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Alam, Malaysia. He is currently doing his master thesis dissertation about information quality towards research centre of excellence web site.

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