Supply Chain

In September, the U.S. and Mexican governments took a tentative first step towards the final goal of allowing unfettered shipping between the two nations — a measure agreed upon under NAFTA but delayed since 1995. Proponents say freeing up trucks to directly deliver goods in their neighbor countries will cut shipping costs by millions of dollars annually, reduce pollution and ultimately benefit consumers in both nations. However, the measure also has a long line of opponents on both sides of the border. Arnold Maltz, a professor of supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, and Dawn McLaren, a W. P. Carey research economist, examine the pros and cons of cross-border shipping.

In the event of a disease outbreak or bioterrorist attack, public health officials must make decisions about how to allocate finite medical resources — decisions that impact the spread of the disease and the number of lives lost. Ajay Vinze and Raghu Santanam, both information systems professors at the W. P. Carey School of Business, wondered what might be the best way to allocate critical resources in such scenarios. They realized that, viewed from a business perspective, the public health system is actually a very large and complex supply chain — in many ways even more intricate than the highly developed supply chain of an enterprise like Wal-Mart.

Today's Chief Purchasing Officers are well-paid, well-educated, and well on their way to finally earning CEO respect, according to a new report from the W. P. Carey School's CAPS Research. Thomas Hendrick, Ph.D., professor emeritus of supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School, examines these and other attributes of today's CPOs to better understand the men and women at the top of the corporate procurement field.

Strategic sourcing, including early supplier involvement and outsourcing, provides significant competitive advantage to companies and represents a fundamental change in the way firms drive the bottom line. Thomas Choi, professor of supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School of Business, looks back 20 years to explain how the relatively mechanical procurement function evolved into supply chain management, a sophisticated approach to managing cost, increasing quality and driving profitability.

With this issue Knowledge@ W. P. Carey inaugurates a series of stories about the benchmark reports issued by CAPS Research, a research center co-sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Institute of Supply Management. The first, its cross-industry report, reveals trends that have been developing over time. "The reports offer companies the opportunity to take a snapshot of where they are relative to their peers," says Steven Wade, director of benchmarking programs.