Editor's Note: One thing that makes the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) unique as an industry association is how it fosters collaboration and cross-fertilization between practitioners and academics. This aspect has been there since the very beginning in 1963, with members from both communities coming together to form what was then known as the National Council of Physical Distribution Management. And this trait continues into the present day as evidenced by the strong showing at the 2016 Educators Conference, which was attended by many practitioners as well as academics.
The following comments, adapted from a speech made by Conference Chair Susan Golicic, reflect on this crucial connection and how it has evolved over the years. Golicic is the director of the Supply Chain Forum and associate professor of management at Colorado State University.
I'd like to talk about how CSCMP embodies two concepts - evolution and integration. Over the years, CSCMP has evolved from a focus on transportation to a focus on logistics, broadening further to encompass the entirety of the supply chain. At the same time, the organization has shifted to serve a greater diversity of academics and managers who not only reflect the heritage of the original organization but also represent additional areas of importance within supply chain management such as operations and purchasing.
The Educators' Conference has also continued to evolve in new ways each year to offer groundbreaking academic advances in the various supply chain disciplines. Research tracks have been created to highlight the various disciplines and allow attendees to choose presentations most interesting or pertinent to them.
This year's conference showcased some of the most significant supply chain management research that has been undertaken in the world during the past year. This research is vital to all of us. It is important to academics because it helps them evolve in their mission of creating and disseminating exciting new knowledge, not only to the next generation of supply chain leaders but also to the business community. Research is also critical to supply chain management practitioners because it helps them better understand how their actions impact their organizations' performance. When research seeks to answer meaningful questions, it enables practitioners to continue to evolve their strategies so that they can seamlessly execute their business processes and ensure the continued competitiveness of their organizations.
Supply chain management is also about integration—the integration of companies, the integration of processes, and the integration of disciplines such as purchasing, operations, and logistics into a comprehensive whole. World-class companies are successful because of their ability to integrate across these areas. Therefore, while continuing to highlight discipline-focused research, this year's Educators' Conference also showcased integration. Presentations focused on managing the supply chain as a whole and integrating the various disciplines and processes.
This concept of integration was not just highlighted in the research presentations, however. It was also evident in the Conference's welcoming community comprised of supply chain professionals who are interested in learning from one another and helping fellow colleagues succeed.
At CSCMP's Educators' Conference, you are able to network not only with academic colleagues but also with practitioners—the business people you may want to connect with when you have questions about how something works in the "real world" or when you need a contact for company data to test your ideas. These business people are also outstanding resources for students—whether they speak in classes or provide guidance for their job searches and career development. I have been fortunate to form these connections as well while attending the Annual Global Conference in many of my years associated with CSCMP.
The CSCMP practitioner membership is extremely supportive of working with their academic counterparts. I hope that if you haven't already, you will become a regular participant of the Educators' Conference in the future and share in all of the benefits the conference and organization have to offer. This conference purposefully precedes the CSCMP Annual Global Conference, the supply chain practitioner's premier event. This offers us the unique opportunity to first learn from other academics, and then to learn from and share with supply chain managers, executives, consultants, and service providers from all over the world.