Archive | September 2013

Interesting × Important = Impact

“What is interesting research?” I recently read an essay by Cachon (2012), What Is Interesting in Operations Management?, published in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, which starts with just this question. The essay discusses Cachon’s view of “the essential characteristics of interesting research in general and in operations management in particular”. According to him, “[i]nteresting means unexpected—interesting research piques your curiosity, it induces a pause for contemplation, and most importantly, it contradicts how you think about the world”. He also presents a simple rule for an interesting paper: “What was thought to be X is really Y.” Cachon gives several examples that demonstrate how this rule works in the field of operations management and similar examples could easily be found in supply chain management research. Cachon highlights that being interesting is necessary for research, but he also contends that this is not sufficient. To have an impact, research also needs to be important.

Cachon, G.P. (2012). What Is Interesting in Operations Management? Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 14 (2), 166-169

A Keypad Extension for “Gardeners” and “Gatekeepers”

Tool for Reviewers and Editors

As highlighted in a previous post, a reviewer should identify a manuscript’s deficiencies (“gatekeeper”), but a reviewer should also provide suggestions for how these deficiencies can be addressed (“gardener”). In addition, the review process should also be fast. The depicted keypad extension, invented for reviewers and editors, may accelerate the process. (I am just not sure whether such a tool could lead to premature decisions.)

Supply Chain Management and Corporate Social Responsibility

Two recent disasters in the garment industry, the Tazreen Fashions fire (2012) and the Rana Plaza building collapse (2013), have caused outrage over the lack of social responsibility across global supply chains. In our new article, The Socially Responsible Supply Chain: An Imperative for Global Corporations, Robert Handfield and I discuss three core principles that are essential for ensuring socially responsible business practices and successfully managing the extended global supply chain: First, a program to audit both products and suppliers needs to be implemented; this program must go beyond direct relationships with tier-one suppliers. Second, visibility is important for those categories of supply that cannot be directly controlled; hereby, electronic and smart technologies promise new opportunities. Finally, collaboration is needed to successfully managing a socially responsible supply chain; this includes collaboration across the industry, with local partners, and with universities. It is time to become serious about socially responsible supply chain management.

Wieland, A., & Handfield, R.B. (2013). The Socially Responsible Supply Chain: An Imperative for Global Corporations. Supply Chain Management Review, 17 (5), 22-29