Submitted by Diana Bartlett, UII Leader, 08/07/2020

We’ve all experienced it – we’ve all experienced that Eureka! Moment that begins “If there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught me…”

One thing the COVID-19 experience has taught me is that collaborating around the globe is much more within our reach than I ever would have imagined.  Think about it:  for the past few months, on a regular basis, we’ve planned, debated, shared and analyzed data and ideas with people irrespective of geographic location.

Of course, that’s what supply chain professionals do anyway.  The rest of us have just adopted this method as we’ve adapted to the environment.

Similarly, BSMA’s University Industry Initiative (UII) is shaping up to be a geography-agnostic undertaking.  Academic institutions tell us about projects with companies many time zones away.  We’ve learned of online supply chain risk management courses available to people around the globe.

And as we have expanded into company interviews, we’ve discovered more of this boundary-less collaboration.  For example, Carla Reed, President and CEO of New Creed supply chain consultancy told us that she and her colleagues have been collaborating with entities in South America for years.

But we need more input!  For you academic members of the UII, please join Devendra and me for a fact-finding Zoom interview at a time of your choosing.  And for you corporate members of the BSMA Advisory Board, we also want to hear your ideas about university-industry collaborations.

Eventually, the UII will champion one or two projects of interest to some or all of us.  Such projects can lever the experience and savvy of our corporate participants with the research brainpower and student contributions of our academic participants.

Already, project topics are bubbling up from our various conversations.  Digitalization is one rich area.  Randy Bradley has already begun to lead in this area, and our conversation with his UT Knoxville colleague Mary Long reinforced the importance of digitalization.

Another rich area is the intersection of quality and supply chain.  Devendra’s LinkedIn post about USC’s Susan Bain has garnered over 2000 views and comments.  Clearly, there is interest there.

A work in progress.  If you haven’t spoken with Devendra or me yet about the UII, please let me know when we can tap your brainpower.