Supply Chain

What do you look for when you buy a pair of jeans? Color? Cut? Designer label? Price tag? One thing is certain: Even if you buy what you think is the same make/label/origin, year after year, it is an entirely different item with a brand-new geographic story. If you want to get a handle on the facts and fancy surrounding this ubiquitous icon of American consumerism, check out Rachel Louise Snyder's "Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade." Chances are, you'll never buy a pair of jeans again without recalling the amazing stories contained in her book.

What will a typical supply management organization look like in 10 years? It's hard to say for sure, but it likely will be complex, high-tech, supplier network-driven, and spread out across the globe. Companies will be asking more of supply managers — they will be expected to contribute to revenue generation, innovation, collaboration, technology application and strategic management. A recent report co-authored by Phil Carter, a professor of supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School and executive director of CAPS Research, examines the challenges facing supply managers in the coming decade.

Supply expense is the second highest operational cost in hospitals, but traditional healthcare benchmarking doesn't pinpoint factors that contribute to supply-expense performance, nor does it enable hospital supply chain professionals to see how they stack up against similar organizations. To address these problems, the Association for Healthcare Resources & Materials Management (AHRMM) and the W. P. Carey School of Business recently launched SCMetrixTM, an online benchmarking tool. It aims to give hospital professionals a holistic view of supply chain performance and the factors contributing to it.

Tools to facilitate the full range of business processes proliferated over the past decade. Some firms base entire business models or product lines on such tools, while other traditional companies are looking for tools as a means to improve operational efficiency or processes. "The question facing supply management professionals today might be best summarized as: How do we ensure we're getting the most out of the e-tools available?" according to a report from CAPS Research, a strategic sourcing research center co-sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Computer network problems cost American businesses $100 billion each year. While the underlying issues may be technologically complex, anyone who has ever fumed about a company-wide e-mail outage or an overloaded web site has an idea of the costs, says Kevin Dooley, a professor of supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School of Business. Dooley and his co-authors have just published "Network Maturity Model: An integrated process framework for the management, development and operation of high quality computer networks." The book outlines a descriptive framework that helps businesses assess the soundness of their networks and improve the veins that carry the lifeblood of companies in the information age.