Center for Supply Chain Management Hosts Annual Symposium

On a crisp, fall morning, more than one hundred twenty supply chain professionals and industry leaders gathered into a large conference room for the annual Supply Chain Management Symposium, hosted by the Center for Supply Chain Management at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. Professor of Business Administration and Director of the Center for Supply Chain Management, Prakash Mirchandani, commenced the program by emphasizing the importance of networks in supply chain – both physical and interpersonal. “By bringing together industry leaders and the academic community, we facilitate an environment in which it is possible to engage in networking and knowledge sharing,” he said.

This year’s Supply Chain Management Symposium was titled, “At the Cross Roads of Disruption,” focusing on the powerful elements and innovations supply chain is experiencing across multiple industries.

Changes in distribution, transportation, communication, design, and delivery are raising questions about traditional supply chain models. “Integration throughout the supply chain, granular data availability, inexpensive super-computing power, and algorithmic decision making are providing thought-provoking challenges and exhilarating opportunities,” Prakash said 

Highlighting several major industries, including retail, healthcare, and transportation, the symposium looked at the many ways in which advancements in technology unlock supply chain value for everyone.

Discussions were moderated by Paul Page, editor of the Wall Street Journal’s Logistics Report. Topics included “The Uberization of Freight,” which looked at the ways in which Uber is transforming the trucking industry by enabling drivers and carriers to book loads at an upfront price instead of wasting time negotiating price; and “Super-Fast Fulfillment,” discussing the ways future innovations like robotic picking, augmented reality, and self-driving vehicles are changing the paradigm of customers choosing between delivery cost, speed, and quality.

A student poster session was held in between speaker sessions, with projects focusing on complex topics such as transhumanism, the re-imagining of waste management to boost efficiency and sustainability, and the ways in which blockchains are creating advantages for consumers in the food industry.

A special thanks to event sponsors Catalyst Connection, Honeywell, Siemens Mobility Inc., and the Business Analytics and Operations Area and the Office of Economic Partnerships at Pitt for making the symposium a great success.

Learn more about the Center for Supply Chain Management, and mark your calendar for the upcoming Breakfast Speaker Series:

  • Friday, February 15, 2019
  • Friday, March 29, 2019