FedEx Center for Supply Chain Management: Fogelman College of Business and Economics. (Research Centers at the University of Memphis)

By Nichols, Ernest L. | Business Perspectives, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

FedEx Center for Supply Chain Management: Fogelman College of Business and Economics. (Research Centers at the University of Memphis)


Nichols, Ernest L., Business Perspectives


Over the past decade, few topics have received more attention in the business world than Supply Chain Management (SCM). Organizations are taking a "systems view" of the entire "supply chain" required to design, produce, and deliver a product or service. Businesses are working more closely with both their suppliers and customers to meet the needs of the ultimate consumer. This is a major change for many organizations. While the concepts of SCM are intuitively appealing and relatively straightforward, the challenge lies in their execution. What is our supply chain strategy? Which suppliers and customers are we going to be working with in our SCM initiatives? What are the key supply chain processes? What are the capabilities, capacities, and current performance of these processes? How do we measure performance within our organization and for the overall supply chain? What is the role of information systems and technology in SCM? How is this technology implemented? The FedEx Center for Supply Chain Management is working with organizations locally, nationally, and internationally to address these and other key questions.

Originally established in 1993 as the FedEx Center for Cycle Time Research, the FedEx Center for Supply Chain Management is a strategic alliance between The University of Memphis and FedEx. The name was changed to the Center for Supply Chain Management in 2002 to more accurately reflect the nature of the work conducted in the Center and altered again this year. The FedEx Center for Supply Chain Management also became part of the FedEx Technology Institute at The University of Memphis in 2002.

The FedEx Center for Supply Chain Management conducts research in four primary areas: SCM strategy, organizational processes and their improvement, information systems and technology, and global issues. To date, the Center has completed over 45 research projects that have addressed a range of critical SCM issues including:

Application and development of supply chain information systems:

* New product development

* Order fulfillment

* International supply chain management

* Procurement / sourcing processes

* Customer service and support

* Facility location

* Warehousing and distribution center operations

* Inventory management

* Returned materials / reverse logistics

Organizations that have participated in the Center's research projects include:

* Best Buy

* Boehringer Mannheim

* City of Memphis

* FedEx

* First Tennessee

* Ford

* Hewlett Packard

* Ingram Micro

* Johnston & Murphy

* L.L. Bean

* Medtronic

* Memphis Housing Authority

* Shelby County Government

* Methodist Healthcare

* Roche Diagnostics

* SCI Systems

* Shinko Electric

* Smith & Nephew

* Sun Microsystems

* Texas Instruments

* The University of Memphis

* U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Research projects are selected from opportunities presented to the Center by FedEx. These opportunities may result in projects conducted within FedEx or with key FedEx customers. FedEx has also sponsored Center activities with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The Med). The Center also conducts funded research for other corporate and governmental entities. "One of the primary criteria we consider in the project selection process is the unique nature of the research. One of the goals of the FedEx Center for Supply Chain Management is to add to the body of knowledge concerning supply chain management' says Dr. Ernest Nichols, Director of the Center and an Associate Professor in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management in the Fogelman College of Business and Economics. …

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