Indiana State University Newsroom



Operations and supply chain management unveils online center of excellence

May 23, 2014

The research and skills of faculty and students affiliated to the operations and supply chain program at the Scott College of Business are only a click away for employers who access the Center for Supply Management Research.

The CSMR's website, http://scottcollegecsmr.com, went live May 22, allowing industry leaders to view student-led research, projects, faculty publications and white papers related to supply management. Students can also register their skill sets, areas of expertise, and related project work on the center's website; employers can browse by categories to find students who fit their needs and directly contact them for future opportunities within their businesses.

"A successful department in any College of Business is typically complimented by a center of excellence that brings students, faculty and business partners together," said Dr. Kuntal Bhattacharyya, director of the CSMR and an Indiana State assistant professor of operations and supply chain management. "Given the nexus of businesses and the frequency at which students in the operations and supply chain management program partner with businesses in and around the Wabash Valley, not undertaking this initiative would be a complete non-utilization of the synergy already in place. A research center of excellence related to supply management and connected with the growth of our OSCM curriculum would be a win-win for everyone."

The center got off the ground when Bhattacharyya, with assistance from the Center for Community Engagement, wrote an internal grant to fund the center. Aruna Chandra, professor of management at the Scott College of Business, assisted Bhattacharyya with writing the first grant. He has eventually succeeded in securing two-$3,000 grants over the past year.

"Having been a practitioner, I shall be the first to vouch for the fact that students in our OSCM program are well trained for the workforce. Many of our students graduate with a green belt in Six Sigma, a highly sought after tool in continuous process improvement, and a rigorous set of tools in forecasting and basic knowledge of the enterprise resource planning platform also add to their artillery before they graduate," Bhattacharyya said. "Almost all our students undergo some form of internship with a business where they further hone their skill-sets. Yet, when it comes to job-search, these two stakeholders seem to have been missing a common ground until this point.

"The center is meant to be that common platform to help businesses, faculty and students grow together. (The center) will help us know exactly what businesses are around here, what they need and where we can help. Likewise, employers will know exactly what our students bring to the table through this website," Bhattacharyya said.

Brien Smith, dean of the Scott College of Business, applauded Bhattacharyya at the CSMR inaugural event in April for taking charge in bridging the gap between academia and practice.

"This is the way you want to see a center designed and I hope the businesses see us as a valuable partner," Smith said.

Indiana State faculty members Jeff Harper, Scott College of Business graduate programs director, and Sandeep Bhowmick, marketing faculty, will work alongside the OSCM faculty as affiliates to the center, along with an advisory board. The Center, via its affiliate faculty who are experts in their respective fields, would also serve the consulting needs of Wabash Valley businesses, going forward.

The advisory board is expected to meet at least once a year to discuss future plans, including the possibility for an annual day, a speaker series and to discuss how to engage high school students about opportunities in the operations and supply management field.

The board's representation will come from Terre Haute businesses, including Mike Wood, director of procurement at Sony DADC, Scott Johnson, Vectren Energy Delivery's director of supply management, and Jeff Hamilton, sourcing manager for Delta Faucet, among others. The center looks forward to teaming up with the Engineering Management program at Rose-Hulman Institute of technology in providing customized solutions to local businesses and revamping growth of manufacturing in the Wabash Valley.

"The website is another tool for getting students connected with employers, and it will let employers know what prospective talent is out there in our field," Hamilton said. "I'm an engineering graduate from Purdue and we didn't have this kind of hands-on attention. I've been highly impressed by the quality of student work (at Indiana State) and the experience students get with real world application of their coursework."

Recent graduate Chelsea Abanathie of St. Charles, Mo., an operations and supply chain management major with a German minor who worked on a project this year for Delta Faucet, said future students will find value in the networking opportunities CSMR will afford them.

"I think it will facilitate research and learning on the student end," Abanathie said. "The center will help to better showcase the research done by students and faculty at Indiana State, as the university continues to make strides to compete with other universities."

The CSMR will also serve as an assessment tool for Indiana State's operations and supply chain management major, as the center will be able to track what skill sets businesses are seeking and compare them to what Indiana State offers.

"Instead of scrambling around for resources, I tried to create something where skill sets and student availability are easy for employers to see," Bhattacharyya said. "Research shows that this kind of "job-fit"- driven recruiting leads to higher retention in the workforce, and hopefully, students will get better exposure and their skills and experience will be better noticed via the center's involvement."

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or Betsy.Simon@indstate.edu

Contact: Dr. Kuntal Bhattacharyya, director of the Center for Supply Management Research and assistant professor of operations and supply chain management, Kuntal.Bhattacharyya@indstate.edu

Story Highlights

The Center for Supply Chain Management Research's website, http://scottcollegecsmr.com, went live May 22, allowing industry leaders to view student-led research, projects, faculty publications and white papers related to supply management.

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