DEPARTMENT OF ENGINEERING IS AWARDED GRANT TO CREATE EXTENSION CENTER

THE UNIT WILL FOCUS ITS WORK ON THE FIELD OF LOGISTICS, IN PARTICULAR IN THE SEARCH OF SOLUTIONS TO MAKE MORE EFFICIENT THE PROCESSES RELATED TO THE EXPORTS OF SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED COMPANIES FROM THE CENTER-SOUTH ZONE OF THE COUNTRY.



September 15, 2016

To enhance the exports of the Center-South zone of Chile, improving the efficiency of the related processes, is the objective of the "Center for Technological Extension (CET)" in the field of Logistics, awarded by CORFO Corporation to the Department of Engineering, at the Curicó Campus.

Encouraged by the State Organism, these centers are units seeking to deliver an adequate offer of technological expertise. In order to do this, it annually gathers universities, associations and businesses to get them involved in the creation of a CET, whose mission is to make a diagnosis of the problems affecting a specific sector, and then giving the solutions to help decrease its technological and productive gaps.

In the framework of the last edition, the initiative led by Professor Alfredo Candia was selected, which aims to establish a Center focused on optimizing the operations of small and medium-sized exporting companies.

"The project aims to SMEs that develop their activities in the field of logistics. The idea is that they will be strengthened by an organism that delivers services to them to improve their processes", said the professor, who will work alongside a team of professors from the Department and professionals from the 2030 Engineering Project.

The initiative requires financing amounting to 1.3 billion pesos, for three years. From that amount, 900 million will be provided by CORFO, and the rest will be managed by the associated institutions themselves.

Candia said that the CET will focus its management on the meso-region between the Maule and the Los Ríos Regions.

He added that even though in this area there are different types of export, the companies face a common problem. "Logistics, i.e. the process of transferring products from the place of origin until the exit to overseas, is one of the areas in which we will work to improve efficiency", he explained.

Dean Claudio Tenreiro appreciated the initiative and highlighted the great contribution it means for the country. "It is in tune with other projects that are being developed at our Department, that have a direct benefit at the national and regional levels. The businesses of the area consider that the work in the topics of Logistics is vital for economic growth and greater competitiveness", he remarked.

PROBLEMS

To make a picture of the magnitude of this challenge, Candia cited data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showing that, between the associated Nations, the average duration of transportation to abroad is 10 days. However, the shipments generated in the Center South Zone of our country take 21 days.

"There are several studies explaining the transportation problems export products have; road conditions, the routes used, loads that are not well dimensioned in relation to the trucks, ways of transport with no communication technologies, inappropriate access to ports and other situations that cause less efficient distribution times," Candia said.

Another professor from the Department of Engineering involved in the project, Marcela Gonzalez, said that Chile has been lacking in the issue.

"National logistics cycles, i.e., how long they take in the export processes, are high, because - for example - discoordination and lack of infrastructure, among other aspects", he said.

Associativity

To address these problems, the Department got associated with others universities: Del Bio-Bio, De La Frontera, Católica de la Santísima Concepción and Austral de Chile, and they are making a complementary joint project -also financed by CORFO-, called High Technology Center for Logistics.
The Extension Center will also receive private support, like from Empresa Portuaria San Vicente-Talcahuano, the National Confederation of Load Transportation of Chile, the Corporation for the Development of Malleco, the Armasur Professional Association and the Port and Maritime Chamber of Chile.

Co-Executors

In addition to this Center, Engineering will participate in two other projects of this nature.
One of them is the "Technology Extension Center for Sustainable Mytiliculture ", from the Chinquihue Foundation in the Los Lagos Region, that seeks to strengthen small mussel growers of that area.

In its role as co-executor, the UTALCA will support the Center, in order to implement a Technology Watchdog module, like the one the Department has in Curicó led by Professor Sergio Cerda. "We hope to contribute to a productive sector which has recently been affected in its development, delivering valuable and little-known technical and methodological elements," he said.

The institution will also participate in the Technology Extension Center for Metalworking and Metallurgy, presented by the Association of Industries of the sector (Asimet), in which academics from the Industrial Technologies Office will participate as associates.

"Want to transfer our knowledge to the companies through concrete actions, providing not only in training the graduates who enter the industry, but also that this knowledge is reflected in solving problems of this sector, which is directly linked with our academic work ", stressed Professor Fernando Espinosa.



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