As the recent debate about ChatGPT has shown, artificial intelligence tools are advancing rapidly. Today, I would like to introduce two AI tools that can be used to improve the language of academic texts. The first tool, Grammarly, can be integrated into programs like Word and suggests improvements, both in terms of errors and style. Grammarly has already found a large following among academic writers. The second tool is called Deepl Write and is currently in beta. It allows users to type text into an input field and get an improved text back. I tested this tool today by using it to improve the text of this blog post. While such tools may not be perfect, I believe they can help increase participation in SCM research by non-native speakers and those who cannot afford expensive proofreading services. The development is moving fast and I am excited to see what comes next.
As in previous years, I am making a prediction about what could be important topics in supply chain management research. Here are three predictions: (1) OpenAI has demonstrated the incredible potential of machine learning, and this will have numerous implications for the management of supply chains. It is important for our discipline to consider the potential and drawbacks of this technology at an early stage. (2) Supply chain resilience remains a critical issue. For example, the recent resurgence of Covid-19 cases in China could lead to the closure of ports and factories, which would disrupt global supply chains. This topic will continue to be relevant in the future. (3) The climate and biodiversity crises continue to worsen, and their solutions are closely tied to supply chains. Human-caused emissions and the destruction of rainforests are directly related to supply chains, and new laws, such as those in Germany and the EU, reflect this. I wish you all a Happy New Year 2023.
OpenAI has attracted a lot of attention in recent weeks, and for good reason. The research institute, which focuses on developing artificial intelligence technologies and promoting their safe and responsible use, has made significant strides in advancing the field of AI. One area where OpenAI could have a significant impact is in the field of supply chain management. The ability to analyze large amounts of data quickly and accurately could be useful for optimizing supply chain processes, identifying inefficiencies, and making more informed decisions. However, there are also potential drawbacks to the use of AI in supply chain management. There is a risk that the technology could be used to automate jobs and potentially displace human workers. There are also concerns about the ethical implications of using AI in decision-making, such as the potential for bias in the algorithms that drive the technology. Overall, the use of AI in supply chain management has the potential to be both beneficial and detrimental. It is important for researchers and educators in this field to carefully consider the potential impacts of this technology and to develop strategies for addressing the challenges it presents. This blog post was generated using ChatGPT, a chatbot platform developed by OpenAI.
The following tool was brought to my attention the other day: Connected Papers, “a visual tool to help researchers and applied scientists find and explore papers relevant to their field of work”. It analyzes thousands of papers, selects the ones with the strongest connections to an entered paper, and generates a graph. In this graph, the tool arranges papers according to their similarity in terms of co-citation and bibliographic coupling. Unlike in a citation tree (e.g., Web of Science), “even papers that do not directly cite each other can be strongly connected and very closely positioned”, which I believe is a very useful alternative to other search strategies. “According to this measure, two papers that have highly overlapping citations and references are presumed to have a higher chance of treating a related subject matter.” With the help of the tool, I was able to identify very exciting papers that I would certainly not have found with other search engines. Connected Papers is self-funded and free.
Putting efforts into high-quality reviews for academic journals has been a task of idealists so far. Unfortunately, these efforts are mostly invisible for appointment committees. That is a pity for two reasons: First, if researchers frequently receive review requests from good journals this indicates that they are respected by their research community. Second, if researchers accept such requests they demonstrate a willingness to develop and serve the research community. However, a relatively new tool, Publons, has the potential to make a change. Publons provides “a platform that allows researchers to track, verify and be recognised for their peer review and editorial work”. The good thing: “A researcher’s peer review and editorial contributions can be displayed on their public Publons profile to show the world the impact they have on their research field and enhance their career.” Publons often even tracks the length of submitted review documents and can even be used to create a verified review report, which can be included in job and funding applications.
Are you planning to integrate process modeling in your supply chain curricula? I am currently teaching a new course about supply chain process re-engineering at Copenhagen Business School. As part of a group work, the task of the students is to model processes between supply chain partners using the standard Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN). Initially, I thought about letting the students model the processes using PowerPoint or Visio, but then I realized that this isn’t the most appropriate way for such a group task. Then, I found a web-based process modeling platform that turns out to be ideal for my course. It is part of the BPM Academic Initiative of Signavio. I use the BPMN teaching packages in my course and offer my students the possibility of practical training with Signavio’s Process Editor. I have opened up a collaborative workspace and invited my students by sending an invitation link. No installation is required, it is free of charge.
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.)
Being part of Apple’s iTunes Store, iTunes U contains educational audio and video files shared by institutions worldwide. It enables lecturers to create own courses for iPad to be accessed by students. Richard Wilding, Professor of Supply Chain Strategy at the Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Cranfield School of Management, has provided the iTunes U course Supply Chain Management & Logistics: An Introduction to Principles and Concepts. “This course is a collection of enhanced podcasts and videos which provide an introduction to the principles and concepts of logistics and supply chain management. By utilising the material all users will be provided with a foundation of terminology and concepts enabling them to move forward and investigate the topics in more depth.” So, the next time you will see students “playing” with their Apple devices, be sympathetic to them. Maybe they are just accessing a supply chain management course.