This week, Supply Chain Matters had the opportunity to be invited to MIT’s Global Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence (SCALE) Research Expo 2014 which was held on the MIT campus.  These was the third consecutive year that we have attended this event and remain impressed with the caliber and potential of supply chain focused candidates within MIT’s international student programs.      MIT Research Expo 2014

This year, besides members of MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) corporate members, invitations to the event were also offered to local APICS and CSCMP chapters, allowing potential hiring managers to view future talent.

The program involved candidates within MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, the Zaragoza Logistics Center in Zaragoza Spain, the Center for Latin-America Logistics Innovation in Bogota Columbia and the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation each presenting student research projects.  The topics and student presentations we witnessed were impressive, including the timely including multiple thesis papers on the subject of supply chain disruption and risk mitigation, S&OP implementation, how to retain supply chain talent, global retail SKU segmentation sustainability and carbon tracking.  After hearing many of these presentations there was no doubt in this author’s mind that our supply chain community is in good hands for its future.  Sincere congratulations to all of these students for their obvious hard work and professionalism.

In addition to the student presentations, a series of short 15 minute research briefs delivered by nine individual MIT faculty researchers addressed today’s other timely topics in supply chain management. We had the opportunity to sit in on Dr. Jarrod Goentzel’s talk on how supply chains saved lives during a humanitarian crisis such as the earthquake that struck Haiti and conflict in Darfur. The same principles of supply agreements, inventory management and secure transportation apply for each crisis. Jim Rice provided an overview of MIT research in demystifying supply chain innovation across and process and we gained some new knowledge. We also had the opportunity to sit-in on talks by Dr. Roberto Perez-Franco and Dr. Shardul Phadnis on rethinking supply chain strategies and formulation and application of scenario planning which we found incredibly interesting. Other presenters included Dr. Bruce Arntzen, Dr. Edgar Blanco, Dr. Chris Caplice, Dr. Alexis Bateman and MIT CTL Director and well noted Logistics author Dr. Yossi Sheffi.

Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling penned his impression of this MIT event and we could not agree more. Not only were these students bright, they were enthusiastic and passionate for solving challenges. Perhaps we will indeed have a new cadre of leaders that shun finance and instead opt for the day to day challenges and rewards of global supply chain management.

Bob Ferrari