University of Tennessee refines its focus on future of logistics management

“We think it’s important that this research be applicable in business, to help in the process of separating truth from hype,” said Ted Stank, UT supply chain management professor and Bruce Chair of Excellence.

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In its ongoing quest to help U.S. multinationals remain competitive in the global marketplace, the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Chain Institute recently convened its private sector “advisory board” in Chicago for a one-day forum.

“UT’s supply chain faculty was recently ranked number one in research productivity,” noted Ted Stank, UT supply chain management professor and Bruce Chair of Excellence. “We think it’s important that this research be applicable in business, to help in the process of separating truth from hype.”

The purpose of the forum was twofold, said Stank. First, to make sure the Institute was “focused” on the right issues. Secondly, we must determine if the structure is in place to conduct the most meaningful research.

“There is a value to partnering with an academic institution,” said Stank, “because we bring a certain objectivity in terms of talent management – our students are your future employees.”

In his presentation, “Demand and Supply Chain Integration (DSI): Thought Leadership Benchmarking Research,” Stank outlined three key initiatives.

*New product development and innovation:  How the supply chain can help speed product to market.

*Shopper-oriented marketing.

*Supply Chain functional integration – integrating within supply chain functions, itself.
“What would the processes look like in each of these areas if decisions were made based on what would create the best end-to-end supply chain?” asked Stank.

More than 20 supply chain vice presidents and business leaders attending the forum at Chicago’s Intercontinental O’Hare Hotel, may have come up with a collective answer. Industry “sponsors” also suggested that there be also be three levels of interaction with UT:

*The Forums (50 member firms)

*Demand & Supply Integration (DSI) research associates

*Leadership council (comprising a small group of 10-20 firms) to work with industry in setting up benchmarking research agenda.

“The other main value proposition here,” said Stank, “is talent management and development.”

He explained that industry partners will have “preferred access” to UT undergraduate and MBA students who are well prepared to take on management opportunities once they are recruited.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at pburnson@peerlessmedia.com.

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