Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, CAPS Research was formed as a joint venture between the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and ASU to conduct cutting-edge research in the field. More than 300 large, multinational firms have been corporate sponsors over the years, and research has addressed such emerging trends as environmental sustainability, the impact of social networking media on supply chains, and benchmarking of Chinese companies.
All of the CAPS Research products and events are aimed at executives with strategic responsibilities for supply management. The global roundtables, best practices workshops and critical issues events allow executives to be actively engaged in best-practices sharing. It includes a number of segments: CPO Insights is an e-mail-based communications and polling tool that is exclusively used by its CPO community. Practix Reports contain actual case studies on challenges and solutions to supply management initiatives. Benchmarking activities and focus studies provide tools to measure performance. Executive assessments are focused self-assessments that are derived from 10X Executive Assessments and Supply Leadership Model Assessments.
The mission of the Center for Supply Networks is to advance the science of supply networks and sustainability management. It focuses on studying supply networks and sustainability as complex adaptive systems. Its components include conducting supply network research, cutting-edge research in sustainable supply chains, taking the field beyond dyadic buyer-supplier relationships to triadic relationships and other network archetypes, and adopting complex adaptive systems theory as an overarching theoretical perspective.
The third program, the Health Sector Supply Chain Research Consortium, was founded in 2004 to bring together health sector organizations and academic researchers to conduct research on topics related to the strategic management of the health care supply chain. It functions as a boiler room for new ideas to drive excellence and innovation. Research is developed through collaboration with member organizations representing multiple stakeholders across the healthcare supply chain.
“CAPS is more applied, while CSN is more academic,” says John Fowler, chair of the supply chain management department at the W. P. Carey school. “The healthcare consortium is leading edge. The efficiency of health care is becoming more important and supply chain professionals (and those in related fields, such as operations management and industrial engineering) are looking at it more closely.
“Supply chain has an important role to play. Essentially, companies would like to have close to 100 percent of what we need available right away, like replacement hips or knees, but not so much inventory that it gets obsolete or costs more to keep around.”
Pharmaceutical companies have been putting a lot of money into research and development, says Michele Pfund, assistant chair of supply chain management at the W. P. Carey School, and faculty director of the school’s online MBA program. “The emerging trend now is to build more supply management teams, as well as research and development teams.”