Texas A&M Opens Supply Chain Lab

New center aims to connect the supply chain from the factory floor to the end user

College Station, TX Ñ March 4, 2003 Ñ Texas A&M University has opened a new information technology lab devoted to connecting the supply chain from the factory floor to the end user.

The Supply Chain Systems Laboratory (SCSL) at the university opened on Thursday with funding and support from various supply chain solution and other technology providers. The lab is an initiative of the Information Systems Consortium for Supply Chain Integration (ISCSCI) run through the university's industrial distribution program.

Dr. Barry Lawrence, industrial distribution professor at Texas A&M and laboratory director, said the lab would provide continuing education and research opportunities unavailable in the private sector.

"Texas A&M's unique position as a third-party research institution affords it the opportunity to create technology transfer without the constraints of the competitive business environment," Lawrence said. "We have ambitious plans for the lab not only to educate our students, but to become a leading research center that will collaborate with other universities and deliver knowledge to their students as well."

Undergraduate students will be able to gain hands-on experience using enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, business intelligence and automation systems. Graduate students will learn how to manipulate these systems for optimal business performance, and graduate students and faculty will solve real world problems, such as information connectivity and visibility, with the goal of improving planning for industry partners.

Lawrence said the SCSL would take companies from the "as is" to the "to be" state, providing a road map and milestones for expectations and return on investment to justify the costs of information technology.

The lab is housed in the Dwight Look College of Engineering's Department of Industrial Distribution at the university.

Industry partners, including Dimasys, E-bots, IBM, Intuit Eclipse, JD Edwards, Prelude Systems, Selltis, Siemens and Silvon, have provided funding, software and hardware. For example, Silvon worked with IBM to deliver an eServer iSeries platform and supply chain performance management software solution to the SCSL.

The lab's Web site was still under construction as of this writing but can be found here.