Dr. Kevin Linderman to Join Smeal as New SCIS Department Chair

Get to know the 411 on our new SC&IS Department Chair

Portrait of Kevin Linderman.

Dr. Kevin Linderman was developing software to coordinate shipments of inventory for General Motors when he realized supply chain management is the heart of all supplier and consumer relationships.

It was his interest in solving managerial issues when it came to shipping and manufacturing that led him to pursue a PhD in supply chain management, focusing his research on improving quality within firms across the industry.

“One of my research projects looked at sustaining high quality performance, (since) a lot of companies achieve high quality performance but then lose their quality advantage,” Dr. Linderman said. “One surprise that I learned is that the capabilities needed to achieve high quality performance are not necessarily the capabilities they need to sustain high quality performance. Once a firm is leading their industry in quality performance, they need to develop additional capabilities to stay in the top position. Interestingly, these capabilities are somewhat related to managing supply chain disruptions. That is, sensing when things can go wrong early and then quickly recovering.”

Supply chain management, however, touches more than just a firm’s performance in sourcing, making, delivering, and returning goods and services.

The sustainability factor of all those transactions is alive and present— gaining more traction every year.

Dr. Linderman is the first to share that a more sustainable supply chain is the underlying fabric of a firm’s decision to go green.

“Addressing environmental management issues requires taking an end-to-end perspective of the supply chain to effectively address the environmental problems that we face,” he explained. “That is, firms need to look across their entire value chain to see where they can mitigate the impact to the environment.”

And it is with this kind of passion and expertise that Dr. Linderman is gearing up to serve as Smeal’s new SC&IS Department Chair starting on July 1, 2020.

His knowledge in supply chain, operations management, quality management, Six Sigma and Lean was something he shared with the students he taught at the University of Minnesota, and now will use as foundation for building more connections within Smeal.

Dr. Linderman is excited to enter “a department that has laid a solid foundation for excellence” and “ecosystem that supports scholarship to address contemporary problems,” rendering the department “very attractive to an incoming chair.”

As new department head, Dr. Linderman hopes to follow in the footsteps of the previous chairs who left a glowing mark on SC&IS— to continue adapting, responding, and maintaining Smeal’s No. 1 in undergraduate supply chain education.

“At a very high level I want to create a climate, culture and community of engaged scholars, where we collectively work together to create and disseminate knowledge,” Dr. Linderman said, passionately. “That is, I want to create a context to help make sure the department’s future is bright.”