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In the spotlight: Caroline van Winkel


Who are you? 

My name is Caroline van Winkel and I have been part of the Supply Chain Management team since June 2023. I mainly work with AIMMS to develop and support (optimization) applications for our clients.

My background lies in Aerospace Engineering, with a specialization in Air Transport Operations. This specialization focuses on the logistic challenges in air transport, from airport design to airline crew scheduling. I chose this direction because I have always liked a challenge and I enjoyed applying my knowledge to real life problems. This is also when I realized I enjoyed the world of operations research – solving real life problems using the abstract language of math.

This is also why I enjoy the projects at Districon; an incredibly diverse client base requires constant learning, but my knowledge can be applied in so many real-life problems.

My experiences

I remember all the introduction chats I had with my colleagues when I first joined Districon. My colleagues told me all about the projects they were working on. Every single project sounded so different, but all the clients were looking for optimization of their flow. My colleagues were so knowledgeable about the specific problems and companies at hand, and spoke passionately about the work they were doing. My colleagues truly motivated me during those introduction chats already.

There are so many companies that could profit from further optimization, but simply don’t have the capacity to build and maintain an optimization tool. It is rewarding to be able to contribute to the success of these companies, and it is interesting to learn about their processes.

Coming from the aerospace industry, I was aware of many complex scheduling and allocation problems. However, some problems in logistics cannot be solved with complex mathematical models, and many people may not even be aware of the issue. For example, the time between production and return of returnable packaging material is directly related to the number of bottles a beverage producer should have in circulation. This circulation time is highly dependent on consumers and retailers. Cutting down on this circulation time has a direct effect on sustainability and costs. These kinds of problems are also tangible, but require a very different approach.

Vision of the future (Personal, but also the logistics future)

The coming years I see myself exploring and learning more about the logistics sector. I expect that with automation and AI, optimization becomes increasingly important for an efficient supply chain. Sustainability will become a bigger aspect in this efficiency. I hope that longer term sustainability (durability, maintainability) will become more of a priority for companies and consumers alike. Of course, I aim to contribute to that on both a personal and professional level.

Which colleague would you like to be in the spotlight next?

I would like to nominate Aard van Weezel to be in the spotlight next. With over 25 years of experience in the automotive industry, I am sure he will have interesting stories to share!

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