Supply Chain

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.

After watching dozens of chief purchasing officers come and go as the leaders of supply chain operations in 30 of the world's largest companies, researchers came to a simple conclusion: The CPO's chair has become a true corporate hot seat. The study, "Supply Leadership Changes," was conducted on the behalf of CAPS Research, a nonprofit research organization supported by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Institute of Supply Management.