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With the start of the new academic year, I am quite excited about our plans and activities ahead of us. Fall 2014 semester marks the beginning of our third year for the restructuring of the University of Miami’s CASCM Research Center with the new membership, research and executive training programs. Since the initiation of these programs, CASCM has been focusing primarily on promoting activities towards advancing knowledge and education in the field of supply chain management filling a much needed niche in South Florida - a major hub for many supply chain related business operations. We continue aiming to further this foundation by adopting a mission that is oriented more towards research while maintaining effectual academic and executive education models. With this new upgrade in our mission, CASCM has been experiencing a fundamental transformation into becoming a major research and partnership center in the region.

2013-2014 academic year was quite busy and productive with projects, introduction of new programs, and increasing our membership base. By joining the “new” CASCM, companies like Ryder, AAR Landing Gear, FedEx LAC and Electrolux became the pioneering partners for our Center’s long reaching plans for major research, high value partnerships, and rewarding education.

We completed the last academic year with quite a few research and student projects at varying scales for our member companies. These activities focused on capacity and inventory management in MRO operations with AAR Landing Gear, supply chain metrics and mapping with Ryder and Neal & Massy, and network design with FedEx and Electrolux. We regard our research program as an imperative part of our activities that bring professionals, UM students and researchers on a common platform. The program is instrumental in keeping our relationship with our members active and growing, which is a major challenge for many partnership models between industry and academia. The central underlying goal of this program is to lead the way to building substantial collaborative research and strategic value partnerships with companies that have active presence in South Florida. Student projects and research will continue playing a central role in our activities during this academic year.

Last year was quite busy with executive education as well. We organized two short courses on Supply Chain Innovation with substantial participation by industry professionals. I remind our members about taking advantage of these educational activities and suggest them to encourage their employees to attend these courses and sessions. CASCM also organized and delivered two major executive training programs for professionals from the Caribbean companies. Partnering with Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business of Trinidad and Tobago, we provided two comprehensive one-week workshops in Miami and Port of Spain in early 2014. Another one-week workshop in this program will be delivered in Fall 2014. Our involvement in this program has opened up the opportunity to reach out to the leaders and executives in the Caribbean and build a bridge to our region. We are working on designing an accredited certification program in supply chain management in near future. With this new program, professionals will take full courses for credit towards a university certification.

We continue with our traditional bi-annual Roundtable and annual Advisory Board meetings. Our last Roundtable was hosted by FedEx in January 2014, where executive representatives of the member companies came together to discuss our activities, exchange ideas, get updated on student projects and provide their feedbacks. Our next meeting will be held at University of Miami’s Coral Gables Campus in Fall 2014. The Advisory Board meeting will also take place in November as usual.

In the 2014-2015 academic year, we plan to grow our membership base. We are reaching out to selected companies that are active in the region and share similar visions with our members for collaboration. The increase in membership will enable us expand our Center by recruiting more researchers and students, grow our existing programs and start new ones. This year we enhanced our research team with the addition of two new Ph.D. students who will conduct their dissertation research on topics that are of interest to our member companies.

Supply chain will continue to be a substantial part of the value chain in both manufacturing and service industries especially in our region, which is a vital gateway to Latin America and Caribbean. Dramatic changes in the business environment and logistics continuously call for innovation and new mechanisms for high and sustainable value generation. I believe, the CASCM partnerships should aim to develop new models, technologies and decision support systems to address the practical needs of the industry and make a substantial impact in our region. To achieve this we need to think big. We ought to see the membership as an investment for their revenue stream, where each member takes active role in setting goals and directions. Our goals are ambitious but I firmly believe that with active contributions of our top-quality faculty, graduate students, managers and professionals of the member companies we will steadily march towards reaping sound achievements.

Director’s Reflections