Research Articles & News Updates

Center for Supply Chain Research™ articles and news updates.

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.