Research Articles & News Updates

Center for Supply Chain Research™ articles and news updates.

CSCR Announces 2020-2021 Advisory Board

The Center for Supply Chain Research™ has announced the 2020-2021 Advisory Board comprised of five new members alongside past members. 

Four SC&IS Seniors Awarded 2019 MIT Supply Chain Excellence Award

Four Smeal College of Business Supply Chain students were awarded the MIT Supply Chain Excellence Award, recognizing top seniors studying supply chain.

CSCR™ WelcomesFreightWaves and Capital One as Corporate Sponsors 

Freight industry expert FreightWaves and Fortune 500 firm Capital One join the Center of Supply Chain Research™ as corporate sponsors.

Researchers study mobile money system to help developing world’s entrepreneurs

Chris Parker and Jason Acimovic, fellow Smeal College of Business Supply Chain and Information Systems assistant professors along with Harvard Business School’s David Drake and Karthik Balasubramanian co-author research in mobile money systems in developing countries.

Penn State Executive Programs’ offerings can strengthen your business and advance your career

Learn how the newly revamped Penn State Executive Programs can transform your business's supply chain, management and leadership objectives.

Kijenzi, the 2018 Supply Chain Pitch Contest Winners, bring their entrepreneurial venture to fruition

Tech startup Kijenzi is developing solutions to deliver medical equipment to Kenya using 3D printing. Special thanks to CSCR™ Corporate Sponsors DOW Chemical, Wegmans, CVS, Lansdale, Rockwell Automation, Kane, Chainalytics and JDA for sponsoring the 2018 pitch contest to give Kijenzi the resources to field test their startup last summer. 

Marine Corps Logistics Fellowship brings supply chain to the battlefield

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas M. Warren and Major Jaehong “Jay” Park of the Marine Corps explain how their education in supply chain systems at Penn State furthers their careers in the Marines.

Chocolate bars and and population shifts: How Hershey's supply chain is adjusting to changing demographics

CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly Q3 2018 features research by CSCR™ Corporate Sponsor, Jason Reiman, The Hershey Company, collaborating with Dr. John Coyle, Founding Director, Center for Supply Chain Research™, and Professor Emeritus, Business Administration, and Dr. Kusumal Ruamsook, research associate for the Center. The research focuses on the demographic shifts at Hershey.

Penn State Smeal retains No. 1 rank in graduate supply chain education

Gartner, Inc., has once again ranked Penn State Smeal College of Business as No. 1 in North American graduate supply chain programs in a recent report.

This marks the fifth time Penn State has earned the top spot in Gartner’s published rankings since 2008.

Tracey weighs in on Amazon's 'uberizing' their last-mile services

CSCR™'s Steve Tracey weighs in on Supply Chain Dive's article, "How much will Amazon move the needle on last-mile logistics?"

LinkedIn study reveals Penn State is No. 2 for producing CEOs

A new study revealed that when people think of the universities that CEOs attend, they need to add Penn State to a list that often includes private schools like Stanford, or Harvard and other Ivys. 

LinkedIn pored over data from 12,000 CEO profiles from 20 countries and found that Penn State has produced the second-most CEOs, behind only Stanford. 

Penn State is one of only two public universities to break into the top ten. The University of California, Berkeley, was the other, in fourth place. 

The University was also included in Money magazine’s recently released Top 10 Colleges of Fortune 500 CEOs. 

The Smeal College of Business also received good ranking news recently as Gartner, Inc., once again ranked Smeal No. 1 in North American undergraduate supply chain education.

Gartner ranks Penn State Smeal No. 1 in undergraduate supply chain education

Gartner, Inc., has once again ranked the Penn State Smeal College of Business No. 1 in North American undergraduate supply chain education. 

Previous reports on supply chain education providers were released in 2016, 2014, 2011, and 2009, naming Smeal No. 1 each time. The university rankings are part of Gartner’s larger research project identifying skill and talent gaps in the supply chain industry. 

MIT Sloan Management Review features research collaboration including Smeal's Acimovic

Advances in inventory and sales analytics make it possible to deliver products both cheaply and quickly, meeting the demands of today’s consumers.

Nursing, Smeal students team up to address business challenges for SAFE-T Center

When the Penn State College of Nursing launched the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center in 2016, it envisioned a solution to enhance access to compassionate sexual assault care in underserved communities. What they still needed: a plan to sustain the center’s operations beyond the initial funding period.

The Next Big Things in SC: Automation and AI

Automation and AI are the biggest buzz-words out in the industry today. Supply Chain Dive takes a look into increasing trends for the supply chain industry.

Sapphire BA497 Supply Chain Project wins Undergraduate Exhibition

Three Smeal teams participated in the 2018 Penn State Undergraduate Exhibition as part of the Applied Professional Experience practicum in which teams of Sapphire Program students work with clients to tackle real world business challenges. One team, a Supply Chain Improvement Process Project in partnership with DowDuPont, brought home first place in the course-based projects category!

Smeal Undergraduates Compete in Rutgers Big10 Plus Supply Chain Case Competition

A team of undergraduate Smeal students competed in the Rutgers Big10 Plus Supply Chain Case Competition on April 13, 2018. The event included seven undergraduate and five graduate teams. The participants represented Big Ten universities and others outside of the Big Ten.

USPS Reform Bill & CSCR™ Executive Director Insights

The new USPS reform bill could rattle supply chains, as said in a recent article published by Supply Chain Dive. CSCR™ Executive Director, Steve Tracey, was quoted and consulted for his opinion and stance in creating this article.

CSCR™ Corporate Sponsor Unilever Leads Sustainability in Palm Oil

Unilever, a CSCR™ Corporate Sponsor, has become the first packaged goods company to publicly disclose the worldwide sources of the palm oil used in its 400-plus food and HBC brands.

CSCR™ Administrative Director Leads NASPO Emerging Workforce Session 

Tracie Shannon, the administrative director of Penn State Smeal’s Center for Supply Chain Research™ moderated the NASPO Emerging Workforce Session held at Michigan State University on April 11, 2018.

CSCR™ Corporate Sponsors Wegmans and Aldi Receive High Honors for Customer Experience

Two CSCR™ Corporate Sponsors, Wegmans Food Markets and Aldi, have both received high honors for their success in customer experience.

2018 Supply Chain Pitch Contest

The 2018 Supply Chain Pitch Contest open to all Penn State undergraduate students, all majors and all Commonwealth campuses, was held on Wednesday evening, April 11, 2018, at University Park’s Steimer Auditorium in the Forest Resources Building. The annual contest is hosted by the Center for Supply Chain Research™ (CSCR™) and the Farrell Center for Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Smeal Citizenship Conference Partners with CSCR™ Corporate Sponsors

The Smeal College of Business, and Net Impact have teamed up to host the fourth annual Smeal Citizenship Conference, held on April 4, 2018. Three CSCR™ Corporate Sponsors, Walmart, PPG and Unilever, were in attendance.

Five Female SC&IS Seniors Awarded 2018 MIT Supply Chain Excellence Award

Five female supply chain majors were recipients of the 2018 MIT Supply Chain Excellence Award. Congratulations to Taylor Peterson, Laura Holleran, Rachel Gimuriman, Amanda Rizzotti, and Lillian Swei

Center for Supply Chain Research™ Professionals on 3-D Virtual Technologies

John Coyle, Professor Emeritus, Logistics and Supply Chain Management; Steve Tracey, Executive Director of the Center for Supply Chain Research™; and Kusumal Ruamsook, Research Associate of the Center for Supply Chain Research™, all at Penn State were recently published through Supply Chain Brain on 3-D Virtual Technologies.

United States Cold Storage Leads Spring 2018 Spisak Lecture

As part of the Spisak Lecture series offered every semester in the Smeal College of Business, Keith Mowery, VP of Transportation and Logistics at United States Cold Storage, Inc., came to Penn State to talk about the Amazon impact on food supply chain operations.

Penn State Smeal MBA Program Rise in Ranking in the Newest U.S. News & World Report: Best Graduate Schools

Penn State's Smeal MBA Program has risen in rankings according to the latest release of U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings, released in March 2018. The program has been ranked No. 31 overall and No. 12 among public business schools, bringing the highest ranking in the last 20 years. In U.S. News & World Report, Smeal also was ranked No. 5 in supply chain/logistics.

2018 JPM Aviation, Transportation and Industrials Conference

On March 13-15, 2018, JP Morgan hosted the Aviation, Transportation and Industrials Conference in NYC. Executive Director for the Center for Supply Chain Research™, Steve Tracey, recently was in attendance of the conference. 

Three Smeal SC&IS Alumni Recognized on Thomas and ISM 2017 "30 under 30"

Three Smeal Supply Chain alumni were recognized in 2017’s 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars by A Thomas & ISM. Congratulations to Jordan Holler (SC&IS ‘11), Keith Unton (SC&IS ’10, Masters in Business Administration ’17), and Conor Quarry (SC&IS ’13) on your accomplishment!

Must-Know Supply Chain Trends For CEOs

Executive Director for the Center for Supply Chain Research™, Steve Tracey, was recently featured in CorpU’s publication via Chief Executive: Must-Know Supply Chain Trends For CEOs.

CSCR™ Welcomes MSA, Aldi, and General Motors to the List of Corporate Sponsors 

The Center for Supply Chain Research ™ is very excited to announce and welcome MSA, Aldi, and General Motors to our list of corporate sponsors.

Almost any item we buy or sell today was made with contributions from many companies and individuals in many places. The Center for Supply Chain Research™ in Penn State’s Smeal College of Business is dedicated to understanding the logistics of supply, transport, and distribution at local and global scales. Steve Tracey, executive director of the center, talked with us about the challenges of doing business in our highly interconnected world.

Combining the intuition of humans with the impartiality of computers could improve decision-making for organizations, eventually leading to lower costs and better profits, according to a team of researchers.

CSCR™ invited to participate in U.S. Army ILW Sustainment Hot Topic Symposium

The Association of the United States Army’s Institute of Land Warfare (ILW) hosted the Army Sustainment Hot Topic Symposium on June 29th in Arlington, VA. CSCR™ Executive Director, Steve Tracey, was honored to join a cross disciplinary panel discussion on, “Expeditionary Sustainment Superiority from Factory to Foxhole: Back to the Basics of Blocking and Tackling."

The U.S. Army Sustainment Hot Topic Symposium provided a platform for U.S. Army to lead and participate in a diverse agenda promoting dialogue with industry and non-DoD partners. To read more on the highlights of this event.

BHP Billiton, Merck, and Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., join CSCR Corporate Sponsor Roster

We welcome BHP Billiton, Merck, and Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., to the CSCR™ community of corporate sponsors. We greatly appreciate their input and support of our continued efforts to further the supply chain discipline and providing the very best in research, executive education, symposia and talent development.

"Become a Supply Chain Leader…in Your Pajamas," InBound Logistics highlights Smeal's online supply chain education options and Dr. David Huff

According to InBound Logistics, "Online supply chain education is flourishing, with options ranging from one-off courses to certification programs to master's degrees. The best option for any individual depends on career goals." Our own Dr. David Huff, director of online graduate programs in supply chain management and faculty member of the Supply Chain and Information Systems Department, was asked to weigh in on the online trend and the options available at Smeal College of Business.

Penn State Smeal research helps assess humanitarian response capacity in natural disasters

Immediately following a natural disaster that outpaces a community’s ability to respond, various outside organizations rush to provide life-saving commodities to meet health, water, food, shelter or other needs. That response is expedited by inventory prepositioned independently by governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Differences in levels of trust and power can affect buyer-supplier performance

Mutual trust does not appear on the ledger sheets of buyers and suppliers, but researchers suggest that levels of trust between companies may be an important influence on how they operate and perform.

Penn State Smeal students employ supply chain skills to rise up against hunger

More than 100 Penn State Smeal College of Business students banded together recently to use the skills they’ve acquired from the college’s top-ranked Supply Chain and Information Systems program to help fight world hunger.

Inbound Logistics features Penn State Supply Chain and Dr. Robert Novack

The Inbound Logistics article, “Supply Chain Education: Aiming High” outlines “The 6 essential competencies for gaining a foothold in a supply chain or logistics career.” The six essentials are Nuts & Bolts, Tools & Methodologies, Business Savvy, Global Outlook, Soft Skills, and Real World Experience. According to Associate Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems, Dr. Robert Novack, "Our students today see everything from planning and forecasting all the way to delivery at the final point of demand." Penn State’s Supply Chain Program is praised for having a broad curriculum giving students perspective or the “nuts and bolts” of the entire supply chain following the APICS Supply Chain Operations Reference Model (SCOR).

CSCR™ a 2017 Sponsor of the African Grand Challenge

The Penn State Center for Supply Chain Research™ is proud to have supported the 2017 African Grand Challenge held by the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in January.

Supply Chain is a People Business

According to Steve Tracey, executive director of CSCR™, "The three most important things in exceptional supply chain execution are people, process and technology. The order is important because it's people first and foremost--this will never change." Tracey, along with other industry experts, discuss the supply chain talent management piece of the supply chain puzzle in Food Logistics Magazine's special edition, featuring Corporate Sponsor, Burris Logistics.

Got Best Practices in MRO Management?

Steve Tracey, Executive Director of the Penn State Smeal College of Business Center for Supply Chain Research™, discusses a study on MRO best practices that’s on the agenda of the SDI Innovation Symposium on March 1, 2017. While having best-in-class MRO tools and procure-to-pay and inventory management processes are important, the key to success is people. “Companies with internal expertise or who shopped it out to experts fall into the leader category,” Tracey says. “If you have competent and trained people, you are ahead of the curve. If not, you have a choice.”

The 2017-2018 CSCR™ Advisory Board is announced

The Center for Supply Chain Research™ is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 Advisory Board. The board’s counsel and commitment to the supply chain profession enables the Center to remain at the forefront of the discipline aligning Penn State Smeal Supply Chain research and offerings relevant to the contemporary challenges facing the industry.

The Penn State Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) student organization will be hosting the Rise Against Hunger organization at the Smeal College of Business on March 25, 2017. The non-profit organization will organize students and volunteers to package meals for malnourished people around the world. With a mission to end world hunger in our lifetime, Stop Hunger Now has worked with over one million volunteers across the United States and across the world.

Penn State Smeal’s Russell Barton named distinguished professor

Russell Barton, Penn State Smeal College of Business senior associate dean for research and faculty, has been named Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems.

Penn State Smeal names Alptekinoglu research director of Center for Supply Chain Research™

The Penn State Smeal College of Business has named Aydin Alptekinoglu the research director of its Center for Supply Chain Research™.Alptekinoglu is an associate professor of supply chain management and the Robert G. Schwartz University Endowed Fellow in Business Administration.

CVS Health, U.S. Cold Storage, Pinnacle Foods, HanesBrands and Pfizer join the Center's Sponsor Community

CSCR™ would like to announce these organizations have joined the Center's corporate sponsor roster.

Penn State Smeal’s Jordan authors book on robots

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “Robots,” a newly released book by John Jordan, Penn State Smeal College of Business Clinical Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems, explores the many facets of robots, from prehistory, to treatment in popular media, to their place in technology and society.

Lanetix and CSCR™: A Partnership Shaping Innovation

For over 25 years, the cornerstone of Penn State’s Center for Supply Chain Research™ success has relied on strong partnerships with corporate sponsors to expand supply chain knowledge and advance best practices while addressing today’s industry challenges. CSCR™ is pleased to announce its continued partnership with corporate sponsor, Lanetix, the leading CRM, workflow and collaboration software developer exclusively focused on logistics services providers and supply chain professionals.

Gartner ranks Penn State Smeal No. 1 in supply chain graduate, undergraduate education

Gartner, Inc., has again ranked the Penn State Smeal College of Business No. 1 in supply chain graduate and undergraduate education. 

Gartner’s report indicates that Penn State undergraduate education scored among the top two schools as an industry value leader, which tend to have large, externally facing supply chain centers and strong internship participation with big companies. Smeal’s Center for Supply Chain Research™ is a leader in research, executive education, symposia, and talent development.

CSCR's Steve Tracey discusses the pros and cons of today's supply chain certifications with Supply Chain Management Review. “Before you sign up, figure out if it’s going to benefit you and or your firm, and whether your employer is going to put a value on the fact that you’ve completed this type of coursework,” says Tracey. “And while no education is ‘bad,’ in a sense that we should always be learning, in some cases you may just be getting a certification for your own personal benefit.”

CSCR™ Director, Steve Tracey, on SDI's Series: A Partner Perspective

SDI puts together a series of insightful interviews with top industry professionals. SDI recently sat down with CSCR's Executive Director, Steve Tracey. The conversation began with Tracey's industry background and how he moved into a supply chain role. According to Tracey: "I arrived in Supply Chain Management by accident. I was working at American Tool Company, and they had a business unit in need of a turnaround. I went into this turnaround situation as a finance guy, and the only finance issue was that their operations needed help....after I headed into an operations role in the company."

CSCR™ Sponsors Named in Gartner Rankings of the 2016 Supply Chain Top 25

CSCR™ Corporate Sponsors, Unilever, Walmart, BASF, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, and Kimberly-Clark, have made the list of Gartner's 2016 Supply Chain top 25. Gartner releases their report of supply chain top 25 based on a platform for insights, learning, debate and contribution to the rising influence of supply chain practices on the global economy. The report looks at the concept of running a demand-driven value network (DDVN), customer-driven partner integration, as well as a series of calculations analyzing each company on certain criteria, while taking into account the importance of corporate social responsibility.

Odyssey Logistics and Volvo partner with CSCR™

The Center welcomes Odyssey Logistics and Volvo Group as partners shaping the supply chain management discipline.

The MRO Revolution: Leaders, Evolvers, and Trailors

MRO management research by CSCR and North Bay, Inc., was featured in the May/June 2016 issue of "Supply Chain Management Review." The article expounds on how, "Costs associated with MRO are substantial, and rising; and the substandard management of MRO activities hurts performance in many unforeseen ways." The research team includes Executive Director, Steve Tracey, Research Associate, Kusumal Ruamsook, and Program Director, Lauren Bechtel, all of CSCR™, and North Bay, Inc.'s founder, Carol Colgan.

Smeal students part of winning team in inaugural Supply Chain Entrepreneurship Pitch Contest

Two Penn State Smeal College of Business undergraduate students were on the winning team for the inaugural Smeal Supply Chain Entrepreneurship Pitch Contest held in mid-April. Caity Mcdade, a junior Supply Chain and Information Systems (SCIS) major, and Stephanie Mock, a sophomore SCIS/Economics dual major, were joined on the Connexion group by junior Computer Science major Kenneth Au and Vamshi Voruganti, a junior Industrial Engineering major.

CSCR™ and the Sapphire Leadership Academic Program partner with The Jared Box Project

The Jared Box Project started in 2001 by the children at Our Lady of Victory School in State College, Pennsylvania, to honor their classmate and friend, Jared. Jared was diagnosed with an incurable brainstem tumor in 1999. He was an exemplary role model of faith, wisdom, and compassion for others at the very early age of five. Throughout his time in the hospital, Jared carried a backpack full of toys to share and play with the other children in the hospital, and his contagious smile brightened the days for many very sick young patients like himself.

4 New Innovative SCM Education Trends

As supply chain education is transforming, Supply Chain Management Review identified four innovative supply chain education trends. Today's supply chain education network looks a lot different than it did five to ten years ago. Education delivery is changing the way students access executive education, incorporating massive open online courses (MOOCs), along with educational development by universities and third party contractors. CSCR's Executive Director, Steve Tracey, CorpU partners, and other experts weigh in on the new models of higher education.

CEO of PPC Lubricants and CEO of Guttman Energy, Inc. discuss energy industry during Penn State Smeal Executive Insights visit

John M. Arnold, chairman, CEO, and owner of PPC Lubricants, Inc., and Alan R. Guttman, CEO of Guttman Energy, Inc., discussed the energy industry and their approaches to decision making and leadership as part of the Penn State Smeal College of Business Executive Insights session on Friday. The two covered many topics such as: market volatility, a logistics-focused business, managing risk and culture. Both Arnold and Guttman are PSU alumni and now part of a list of more than 25 top business leaders who have participated in Executive Insights.

Where in the World Will Your Customers Be?

Professor of Global Management Policies and Founding Director of The Center for Global Business Studies at the Smeal College of Business, Penn State, Dr. Farborz Ghadar, recently made a contribution to Inside Supply Management Magazine identifying the future of customers with dramatic demographic changes - from aging populations to shifting growth patterns. Today, demographic trends are transforming the world, changing economic patterns, generating new dependencies, and altering geopolitical balances.

SCM World Survey Reveals Smeal Remains Top-Ranked!

SCM World recently released their fourth annual survey of the top supply chain universities in terms of, "Which universities or business schools are markers of supply chain talent?" Smeal College of Business ranked #2 of the top 100 universities!

E-Commerce and Omnichannel: a Look Back & Forward

In 2015, we saw the emergence of the omnichannel shopper. Consumers are shopping on multiple platforms in store and online - the whole shopping experience is changing. Now looking forward into 2016, we see e-commerce dominating the way of the market place with new technologies and expanding trends.

Interview with CSCR™ and CorpU on Virtual Supply Chain Education

When it comes to teaching the complexities of supply-chain management, is digital learning as effective as the traditional in-class experience? Bob Bowman, the managing editor of SupplyChainBrain talks with Alan Todd, founder of the digital learning platform CorpU, and Steve Tracey, executive director of the Center for Supply Chain Research at Penn State about their observations on the ability of students of all ages to absorb knowledge through digital media.

Cloud-Centric Storage is taking over: Retail, Auto Manufacturing, and Global Manufacturing

Cloud-centric storage is not just the future, it’s here and now. In 2014, 42% of the global Internet population was using cloud-centric storage, and by 2019 that figure is expected to grow to 55% - that's about 2 billion people. According to a recent Forbes publication, cloud technology is changing how business is conducted in many industries, including: manufacturing, medical data, health care services, retail, automotive, and finance. Ultimately, moving into a cloud-based environment is very beneficial for supply chain leaders and professionals by cutting costs, decreasing lag time, and improving the overall omni-channel experience for consumers and producers alike.

Penn State Professor, Veronica H. Villena, on "Managing the Dark Side of Close Buyer-Supplier Relationships"

Assistant Professor in the Department of Supply Chain & Information Systems at the Smeal College of Business, Veronica H. Villena, has recently published an article in the November/December issue of Supply Chain Management Review, where she, along with professors from Arizona State University and Instituto de Empresa Business School in Madrid, Spain, discuss "Managing  the Dark Side of Close Buyer-Supplier Relationships." The article discusses inter-company relationships and buyer relationships - how to succeed without falling to the "Dark Side."

Recruiting New Talent - 60 Seconds with Douglas Thomas

October 2015 - Modern Materials Handling recently interviewed Douglas Thomas, professor of Supply Chain Management at Smeal, on how best to recruit new supply chain talent. The talent squeeze is real according to research that Thomas and Deloitte Consulting conducted. At the graduate level, there is a decrease in applications. The Banking and Finance industries are rebounding, and MBAs are choosing these fields rather than supply chain operations, so it's difficult to find qualified talent to fit the jobs that are available in the Supply Chain industry.

Supply Chain by the Numbers feat. Dr. John Langley of Penn State University

Dr. John Langley of Penn State University was quoted in the Supply Chain Digest article, "Supply Chain by the Numbers," during the week of October 8, 2015. The article showcases supply chain news in numbers and global events.