Inbound Logistics | June 2021

Supply chain majors are trained to think about other stakeholders, which provides the opportunity to come up with innovative ways to solve problems. Small, incremental steps can be some of the greatest innovations because they fly under the radar.

—Professor Scott Grawe, Chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management, Iowa State University

with new and innovative ways to solve problems. The small, incremental steps can be some of the greatest innovations because they fly under the radar. New product innovations usually come with a lot of fanfare and marketing, but subtle improvements can create significant competitive advantages that are completely blind to the market. From a firm’s standpoint, many supply chain programs provide collaborative hubs that offer insights into other companies. Organizations can learn from one another about how they approach things differently. IL: Has this new approach to education addressed cultural shifts such as the Amazon effect, Internet of Things, and the changes brought about by the pandemic, such as the widespread use of video calls? Dr. Li: We’ve had to make sure our curriculum and course offerings are up to date. We’ve recently begun to offer a new software class that gives students hands-on experience in working on real- world projects, using real-world data, to better facilitate the teaching and understanding of supply chain concepts. Another trend is the growing need for flexible course offerings. COVID-19 accelerated this process. We now have online and hybrid classes in addition to traditional in-class formats. Sutherland: People are getting burned out by the Zoom effect, but I agree that there will be more of a hybrid environment in the future. In our most recent virtual forum, we drew people


Scott Grawe is the Chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management in the Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University and the Robert & Jane Sturgeon Faculty Fellow in Business. He has published his research in leading supply chain journals, including the Journal of Business Logistics and the Journal of Operations Management . His research and advisory specialties include shipper- 3PL relationships, logistics innovation, on-site representation, and performance measurement. He teaches courses in strategic logistics management and international trade. Grawe holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota and a PhD from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Haitao Li is Professor and Chair of the Supply Chain & Analytics Department, College of Business Administration, at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Dr. Li has years of research experience in optimization modeling and algorithm design, and has been actively working with industry in the application domains of supply chain optimization, project scheduling and resource allocation. His research projects were sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Office, HP Labs, Association of Supply Chain Management, Express Scripts Inc., and Ameren Corporation, among others. Dr. Li serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of the Operational Research Society and Transportation Journal , and the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Project Management . Joel Sutherland is the Managing Director for the Supply Chain Management Institute and is a Professor of Practice in supply chain management at the University of San Diego. He also serves as a director for the Reshoring Institute, a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing essential manufacturing jobs back to the United States. He has more than 40 years of experience as a supply chain professional holding executive-level positions for many well-known companies. Sutherland was the first American vice president for Denso—a Toyota Group company and the second largest automotive parts supplier in the world. Sutherland also held executive-level positions at International Paper; ConAgra Foods; Formica; AmerisourceBergen; and CSX Rail and Sealand Services.

from more than 30 different countries around the world, and I believe this will transcend to how we deliver course content in the future. Technology has historically been a struggle in this profession, but for the first time I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. We have all this new technology that will transform how we can visualize the market, manage and collect data, and start sharing information to break down industry silos.

Grawe: About six months into the pandemic, one of our advisory companies began to look at students’ ability to participate in digital spheres— such as Microsoft Teams meetings—as a measurable skill. These technologies open doors to regular communication with supply chain partners across the globe, and I believe that there will be a resurgence in soft communication skills as a result.

64 Inbound Logistics • June 2021

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