Supply Chain

When executed correctly, strategic sourcing — a multi-faceted approach to purchasing contingent on types of goods and services — yields many benefits for both buying companies and their suppliers. But, by ignoring the complexity of strategic sourcing and focusing only on cost reductions, some aerospace buying companies have unintentionally turned their suppliers into competitors, according to new research by W. P. Carey professor of supply chain management Thomas Choi and his former doctoral student, Christian Rossetti.

When times are good, expansion plans, future investments and revenue growth are the focus points in most industries. But during down times, organizations scrutinize spending. The current economic crisis is hitting the health care sector as hard as other industries. The result: shuttered private practices, squeezed hospital operating margins and many non-clinical jobs getting the ax. So what does this mean for health care industry supply chain managers? In an attempt to usher in supply chain efficiencies and shape a healthier bottom line, clinicians, executives and others are now more ready than ever before to listen to their supply chain managers. A panel of industry leaders addressed the topic at the third annual Leadership Summit on Health Care Supply Chain Management hosted recently by the World Health Care Congress.

For any shopper who noticed how the price of hamburger and lettuce jumped after gas prices soared last year, this should come as no surprise: Buyers eventually feel the pinch when their suppliers' expenses surge. The reason? Buyers and sellers operate within networks that exceed the one-on-one, buyer-seller bond. That's why Thomas Choi, a professor of supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, thinks supply chain professionals would be wise to look beyond the supplier to its supply network. Without it, he argues, buyers are not examining all the factors affecting the strength and reliability of the suppliers they choose. Such shortsightedness leaves buyers vulnerable to supply troubles and missed opportunities.

In light of recent product recalls, this question nags: Has Chinese product quality actually deteriorated, or not? Opinion is split. Some argue forcefully that Chinese products have suffered in recent years, or at the very least, were never of high quality in the first place. Others believe the country is being unfairly singled out — victimized, in a sense — simply because it happens to be the world's leading manufacturer at a time when product recalls in general are on the rise. Responding to an academic forum published in the journal, Management and Organizational Review, experts at the W. P. Carey School offer insights.

In the summer of 2007, after a tumultuous year in which millions of Chinese-manufactured toys and other products were recalled for reasons ranging from high lead content to choking hazards, Chinese officials launched a massive campaign to restore worldwide confidence in the "Made In China" label. However, China's efforts to prevent product recalls haven't seemed to do much, and the roots of the problem — or even a basic understanding of its scope and causes — have yet to be defined. W. P. Carey professor of international management Anne Tsui recently organized an Editor's Forum in which leading business scholars examined the problem from various disciplines and perspectives. In a two-part series starting today, Knowledge@W. P. Carey will use the Management and Organization Review (MOR) forum as a jumping-off point to explore some of these questions, and attempt to answer them, through the expert analysis of W. P. Carey faculty and researchers.