Master Thesis Work

in sustainable goods transport and mobility scenarios


M.Sc. thesis: Sustainable goods transport and mobility scenarios


Modular Management AB



Assignment type:

Master thesis work



Modular Management is internationally regarded as the market leader in creating modular systems and configurable product architectures.

Our consulting solutions have been proven through hundreds of successful implementations in various industries, including home appliances, transport, power, construction, and telecom. 

Modularity is a capability to do more with less. A capability to configure products, services, and supply chains reliably and effectively for changing needs and environments, without having to “reinvent the wheel”. Sweden is among a few leading countries in the world to excel in this capability. 

Now with climate change, sustainable development goals, circular economy, and digitalization each driving transformation, the capability to know and do more with less, in tandem with flexibility and resilience, are needed more than ever. 

So, what does this mean for us and modularity? How can product architecture lifecycle management provide resilience for industries faced with disruptive changes and support the transformation to a connected, circular economic, fossil-free, and sustainable future? 

In this thesis, you will explore, develop and apply this capability. Our case scope is set up around goods transportation using battery electric/zero-emission heavy-duty trucks for long haul and regional transport and light vehicles for last-mile transport. These industry segments and product categories can be considered both role models and key actors in the ongoing transformation. 

Battery electric vehicles are complex systems with complex supply chains. Yet they rely on similar technology, architectures, manufacturing systems, and supply chains to serve similar customer needs and legal requirements. Modularity has been adopted in vehicle manufacturing to manage both complexity and flexibility while gaining efficiencies. The same can be said about digitalization, and often building capabilities in modularity and digitalization go hand-in-hand. How might digitalization and modularity serve and manage the increased complexity of a circular economy?



Two possible thesis topics have been formulated, each to be refined and finalized based on the students’ institutional requirements, personal ideas, and key competencies.

The first assignment (topic 1) takes the perspective of transport service providers and end customers, (re)using scenarios and models to evaluate optimal transport system performance and respective impact of (and design requirements for) the following (possible) subsystem products:

  • Long haul and regional transport by Battery Electric Heavy-Duty Trucks
  • Last Mile by electric Cargo Bikes or other modular light vehicles
  • Hubs as an intermediate and service point for transport flows to e.g.:
      • (Re)use of charging infrastructure for vehicles, traffic flows, and grid loads,
      • Sharing and optimizing the use of resources (vehicles, batteries & personnel)
      • Logistic services for goods (3PL, 4PL)
      • End-customer (self) services (pick-up/drop-off)

The second assignment (topic 2) takes the perspective of the manufacturer, providing value to its customers, and leveraging its supply chain and partnerships.

  • How might manufacturers realize efficiencies as they transition to sustainable and circular flows? What kinds of similarity (compatibility) or complexity will be key to the design of vehicles’ modular systems and their supply chain?
  • Which circular supply chain, data sharing, and asset management strategies are needed considering physical and governance limits for vehicles’ modules and materials to enable predictive and optimal Circular Economic flows?


The outcome shall be in the form of public English thesis works, having explored, and analyzed the given topics and presented both short-term and long-term recommendations on (topic 1) how to transport service providers and infrastructure, and (topic 2) vehicle manufacturers shall prepare for and collaborate with in the future.

These theses will serve as “modules” in a larger research project bringing together stakeholders in Modular Management’s industrial and academic network including Volvo Group Truck Technology, KTH Centre for ECO2 Vehicle Design, and the Integrated Transport Research Lab (ITRL).  

Earlier research and thesis works have prepared a future scenario framework and modeling foundation for the evaluation and simulation of transportation flows, digitalization, and circular economy impact, which we expect we can connect with and build upon, without having to “reinvent the wheel”.


Education & Organization

Engineering and or Economics with a focus on the circular economy, product development, systems, and supply chains relevant to goods transport and (vehicle) product modularization.

You have an interest in and knowledge of process modeling, discrete event and/or agent-based modeling, and data analysis. Different software tools can be used for collaboration, modeling, and making insights presentable, depending on the topic, prior experience, and detailed definition of the work to be formulated.

Collaborating and communication skills are key. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings are held to bring together researchers and representatives from the industry and Volvo in particular to share insights, work done, co-create ideas, and set directions for further study. Workshops can be organized as needed, both in Stockholm and Gothenburg.

Modular Management’s academic and client network offers many opportunities to “test” and gain ideas from different product contexts and development (hardware, software, services) environments. Working from our office in Stockholm, and as needed, working at Volvo in Gothenburg, you will gain a new perspective on these environments, business challenges in different industries, and career paths.

Literature work is supported by a foundation of research and scenarios to which multiple MSc thesis and researchers, as well as Volvo, have been collaborating and contributing since 2019.

Number of students: 13 (1 or 2 per topic)

Start of work: January/February 2023June 2023

Estimated duration: ~20 weeks incl. 5 holidays, full time 40 hrs/week in the office

Language of work: English & Swedish

Location of work: Stockholm, Sweden

Payment per student: 15'000 SEK at the start, 15'000 SEK after the final report is received.


Contact persons

Malin Ekerå (recruitment) and Colin de Kwant (topic assignment)



Please enclose a personal letter, CV, and the list of grades from the latest M.Sc. studies.

Applications will be collected until 2022-11-30 and interviews will take place as soon as possible.

About Modular Management

Companies across the globe have worked with Modular Management to create and apply market-driven modular product platforms, in industries as varied as home appliances, industrial products, telecom, and construction equipment.

By implementing this approach, clients have achieved dramatic improvements in business performance through increased speed and efficiency, while simultaneously expanding the breadth of products offered to the market.

Using proven methods and PALMA®, a unique product architecture lifecycle management software, we partner with client resources to deploy a set of innovative tools and structured processes. Together we uncover and exploit the economic potential of the modular product architecture that lies within the markets, products, technologies, operations, and support systems of our clients.

Modular Management was founded in 1996 in Stockholm, Sweden.