More and more business is conducted globally with elaborate supply chains linking companies across continents.
Students in the Department of Supply Chain and Analytics in the College of Business Administration at the University of Missouri–St. Louis gain the knowledge and skills to work in a global environment.
The International Purchasing and Supply Education and Research Association recently certified UMSL as a Regional IPSERA Centre of Competence. It is the first such center in North America and joins others at universities in Brazil, Finland France, Germany, Hungary and The Netherlands.
“Supply chains are global,” said George Zsidisin, the John W. Barriger Professor of Supply Chain Management and Director of the Center for Transportation Studies at UMSL. “Businesses are global, and what we do in universities should reflect this, especially within business studies themselves. This designation is a reflection of that global outreach that we are pursuing at UMSL.”
Centres of Competence are local or regional communities of researchers and educators that are active in purchasing and supply management. To be certified, a university must at minimum have a chair dedicated to PSM and at least three full-time researchers and educators working in that area.
IPSERA’s website states that a key requirement for being a regional centre is “a statement of plans and ambitions for ongoing efforts to build/sustain a local PSM community, including at least one event per three years,” organized by the center.
UMSL already has established connections with many St. Louis-based companies with reach stretching across the globe. Among them is Graybar, a wholesale distributor of electrical, communications and data networking products that also provides supply-chain management and logistics services.
“Graybar’s ongoing collaboration with the Department of Supply Chain and Analytics at the University of Missouri-St. Louis gives us access to the latest thinking on supply chain management, along with practical insights that we can apply to our business here in St. Louis and around the world,” Graybar Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Scott Clifford said. “We congratulate the department on its recognition as the first Regional IPSERA Centre of Competence in North America and look forward to shaping the supply chain of the future together.”
The Department of Supply Chain and Analytics has been hosting a supply chain and analytics seminar series. The most recent event on Oct. 15 featured Florian Schupp, Senior Vice President of Purchasing & Supplier Management Automotive OEM at the Schaeffler Group, Germany, and Keith Mackey, Vice President of Purchasing & Supplier Management Americas at the Schaeffler Group, USA.
About half the audience at the seminar was made up of students. That’s just one way both undergraduate and graduate students benefit from the designation.
Zsidisin said it would also open up greater learning and research opportunities for doctoral students.
“They have a very active doctoral workshop that they do every year,” said Zsidisin, who came to UMSL in August from Virginia Commonwealth University. “As our PhD program continues to evolve, I very much would want to have our doctoral students participate in the workshop and other events, and by being a regional centre of competence, we can have our doctoral students visit with faculty and other universities within the Americas as well as Europe and other continents worldwide.
“It’s just another way of increasing our reputation and increasing contacts with other universities to work on collaborative projects.”