The Center for Sustainable Supply Chain Management has made significant advancements toward becoming a complete partner in the strategic mission of the Lundquist College of Business. A milestone in the center's development was a one-day industry forum on November 4, 2005, illustrating how the college is actively engaging the business community to help form the center, create new experiential opportunities for students, and respond to economic and environmental concerns.
Attending the forum were senior managers from a range of elite businesses, including Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Nike, Norm Thompson, and Tektronix. Participants highlighted how the center could meet their needs in two key areas: research and experiential learning. More specifically, research needs spotlighted the critical intersection of supply chain management and environmental concerns. For example, consumers are placing more pressure on manufacturers to recycle or "take back" products once they have reached the end of their usable lives. Existing and proposed government regulations are driving similar "take-back" initiatives.
Responding to these business community needs, the Center of Sustainable Supply Chain Management will work with companies to research ways to implement manufacturing, business, and supply-chain processes that respond to these needs, as well as increase operational efficiency.
"The forum gave energy, focus, and direction to the center's initiatives," said Mike Russo, Charles H. Lundquist Professor of Sustainable Management, who has been named the center's academic director. "The business community also expressed enthusiasm about working with students to promote experiential learning to produce tangible results."
As a result of the forum, the center plans to work with companies to create internships, class projects, and other intensive experiences in which students gain practical experience benchmarking best practices, analyzing metrics, and collecting environmental performance data that will help companies optimize their supply chains.
To gain additional insight into how it can best serve the needs of various constituents, the Center of Sustainable Supply Chain Management hosted an academic research exchange in May 2005, as well as made presentations to senior management at several companies last fall. A second industry forum to engage small and medium-sized companies in the Portland area is also planned for late spring or early summer 2006.