By Ann A. Flick
This past summer, i had the opportunity to help write speeches for the five academic awards presented annually at the CSCMP Supply Chain Management Educators' Conference. At that time, it seemed that everywhere I looked— whether it was magazines and newspapers, television, or even bumper stickers—I saw something about awards or other types of recognition.
Amid all this "award-mania," I began to question whether CSCMP's awards still carried their original honor and prestige. To find out how the awards measure up, I went in search of answers.
A long history
CSCMP has a long history of honoring academic excellence. The council began presenting academic awards in the 1970s with the E. Grosvenor Plowman Award for the best paper presented at the Supply Chain Management Educators Conference. In addition to the Plowman, CSCMP last year gave out four other academic awards: the Doctoral Dissertation Award for doctoral students who demonstrate originality and technical competence; the Bernard J. La Londe Best Paper Award for the most valuable paper presented in the Journal of Business Logistics; the Teaching Innovation Award for the best paper detailing a teaching innovation; and the Undergraduate Paper Competition for the most original and innovative research paper by an undergraduate.
CSCMP believes that the awards serve to honor and elevate not only the recipients but also the profession they represent. "Awarding academic work demonstrates CSCMP's appreciation of excellence in research and the industry's need for more," says Kathleen Hedland, CSCMP's director of education and research. "It reinforces the strong bond between our organization and the academic community while supporting our combined research efforts."
From the academic perspective, this outreach has been effective. Dr. Remko van Hoek, former Education Strategies Chair and professor at Cranfield University, feels that the organization's tradition of supporting and recognizing academic research makes CSCMP "the place to go for global, leading academics and key contributors in our field."
To strengthen these connections, CSCMP has expanded its award programs to include the La Londe, Teaching Innovation, and undergraduate awards. This provides more opportunities to reward exceptional work, share the results of research, and identify supply chain thought leaders. But can multiple awards be too much of a good thing?
Benefits to all
Dr. Theodore Stank, current CSCMP Education Strategies Chair and University of Tennessee professor, thinks not. By expanding its awards program, CSCMP hasn't diluted the honor in any way, he says; it is simply acknowledging that academic scholarship is not a single-faceted endeavor. The multiple awards allow the organization to honor different aspects of academic scholarship and different segments of the academic community.
Stank believes that winning these awards brings a sense of belonging and ownership. As a result, academics are encouraged to stay involved with CSCMP and to continue contributing to the industry's field of knowledge. Dr. Thomas Speh, associate director of the master's of business administration (MBA) program at Miami University (Ohio), agrees. Furthermore, says Speh, recognition tends to stimulate higher-quality work. "Awards increase the level of excellence— everyone enjoys being recognized for doing an outstanding job," he says.
Yet CSCMP must be vigilant about maintaining the quality of its awards. Stank contends that if awards are given for reasons that do not add obvious value to the profession, then their status can be diminished. And Speh supports limiting the number of awards offered for each type of accomplishment.
When you speak to recipients, it's clear that the awards serve as an affirmation of their efforts. "Winning the E. Grosvenor Plowman Award ... represents validation of the timeliness, relevance, and importance of one's research as acknowledged by one's colleagues," says 2008 recipient Dr. Anthony Ross, associate professor at Michigan State University.
The 2008 CSCMP Doctoral Dissertation Award recipient, Dr. Dilay Çelebi, research assistant at Istanbul Technical University, also sees the recognition as a validation of her work. In Turkey, she says, educational opportunities are limited, which means students there must work all the harder. Besides the honor of the award, Çelebi views her DDA selection as "a kind of payback" for her effort and determination, showing that there can be rewards for facing challenges.
Based on the positive feedback on CSCMP's awards, I can only conclude that there's merit in recognizing academic achievement—provided that the recognitions are carefully and selectively bestowed.
And it's not just the award recipients who end up winning. Obviously, recipients benefit from the prestige and global recognition they receive. But CSCMP also benefits by reinforcing its strong bond to the academic community and encouraging further joint research efforts. Finally, the supply chain profession, as a whole, benefits by recognizing excellence, encouraging future research, and identifying thought leaders.
Congratulations to the 2008 CSCMP academic award winners:
Nominate an outstanding colleague for the Distinguished Service Award
There's a unique kind of leader whose desire to lead comes first and foremost out of a desire to serve. CSCMP's Distinguished Service Award (DSA) recognizes those who have spent a lifetime serving the supply chain profession.
CSCMP's highest honor, the DSA recognizes excellence and outstanding service to the supply chain management discipline. The award honors those who have a distinguished record of contribution, are recognized as leaders, and are innovators in the field. It is presented to an academic, consultant, or practitioner who exemplifies sustained, excellent service to the supply chain profession. The selected individual will have shown high integrity and moral principles throughout his or her career.
Do you know someone who is worthy of joining the ranks of Ohio State University Professor Douglas Lambert, Federal Express Corp. CEO and Chairman Frederick Smith, and Descartes Systems' Art Mesher (shown here accepting the 2008 award from CSCMP Chairman Richard Murphy, Jr.)? If so, send in a nomination before April 30, 2009. The nomination process includes submitting both a résumé and letters of recommendation for the nominee.
The 2009 DSA presentation will take place at CSCMP's Annual Global Conference, Sept. 20?23 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. To nominate a candidate, go here.
By Chris Elliott, president, Columbus Roundtable, Columbus, Ohio, USA
When you become a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, you are automatically placed into one of 96 local roundtables around the world. If that is as far as your involvement in the local roundtable has progressed, then you are missing out on many of the benefits that CSCMP has to offer.
Participation in the roundtables gives you an opportunity to connect locally with your fellow CSCMP members—connections that can help advance your career, create new business opportunities, and expand your supply chain education year round. Plus, if you decide to join the board of your local roundtable, you'll have a chance to help determine the future direction of our organization.
Grow your career
As an active participant in your local roundtable, you have the opportunity to network with other professionals from your area and develop your professional network. "Being involved with a local CSCMP roundtable has enabled me to meet and build relationships with like-minded professionals as well as expand my view of the supply chain beyond that of my own employers," says Jonathan Smith of the New Jersey Roundtable.
Whether you are just starting out or are the CEO of a large company, this network can be vital to your career growth. I know this from first-hand experience. When I was earning my master's degree in logistics at The Ohio State University, I was a student member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. Although I had three years of transportation management experience, I was finding it difficult to secure a position through Internet job boards and the university's career center. Two of the second interviews that I had were at companies where I was referred by a local CSCMP member. Had I not been involved in my local roundtable and developed friendships with my fellow members, I would have had fewer opportunities to learn about positions available and get past the initial screenings.
My experience is not unusual. Chris Stang developed a similar network at the Delaware Valley Roundtable. That network proved ready to provide support when he discovered that his department was going to be dissolved. "I had a job offer within a half hour after communicating my situation with my local roundtable contacts," Stang says. "While I ultimately got reallocated to another position, it was reassuring to know that I had that safety net."
Create new business opportunities
Helping you find that next job is not the only way that your local roundtable can help your career. If you're a service provider, for example, getting involved in the local roundtable gives you an opportunity to meet new customers, learn about trends affecting your business, and meet potential employees. "My CSCMP membership has been invaluable in helping me keep my clients informed of supply chain issues that can impact their business and providing introductions and opportunities that expand my consulting business," says Pam Scheibenreif of the Atlanta Roundtable. "Furthermore, the local roundtable has introduced me to dozens of professionals with whom I will enjoy a life-long friendship."
When you are trying to grow your business, you need to keep abreast of new ideas and trends. Participation in your local roundtable gives you access to educational opportunities beyond what you'd get just by going to the global conference once a year. Your local roundtable board members have spent months researching presenters, planning events, and putting on educational sessions in your area. This dedication to delivering quality programming is demonstrated by the amazing events that are put on regularly in a city or town near you.
Act locally, connect globally
Just attending local roundtable events is a great way to network, grow your business, and expand your knowledge of supply chain management. However, many people might want to take that involvement even deeper. If you are interested in supporting the roundtables with more than your attendance, consider taking a leadership position on the local board.
As a board member of your local roundtable, you can play a key role in the global CSCMP organization. Through this involvement, you will come to know people from other roundtables around the world, which gives you further opportunities to grow your network and develop your career.
Being a member of CSCMP is just one step in your development as a supply chain professional. Your commitment to the local roundtable gives you an opportunity to further communicate, connect, and collaborate with fellow members in your own backyard. So as we move into 2009, will you make that commitment and grow with your roundtable?
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