Innovation in Action

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Day of Innovation Graphic, Join us November 16, 2009
Virtual Brainstorming Sessions
Monday, November 16, 2009
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We'll pose questions, tackle problems, and toss around ideas and possible solutions for issues affecting our region. Get involved from your own desktop! Or join us on campus at one of the brainstorming kiosks available in the Student Union Atrium. LEARN MORE...

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Frans Johansson
Author of the bestseller The Medici Effect

April 9, 2010
9:15 a.m., Apollo Room, Student Union
Free and open to the public

John Corvino, Ph.D.
Philosophy professor and "gay moralist"

April 20, 2010
7 p.m., Apollo Room, Student Union
Free and open to the public

Ted Rall
Nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist

May 3, 2010
7 p.m., Apollo Room, Student Union
Free and open to the public

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Business school program links Wright State to economic growth

When Payless ShoeSource, a subsidiary of Collective Brands, Inc., was looking for a location for its new Eastern Distribution Center, Brookville, Ohio's Northbrook Industrial Park was one of the sites under consideration. To set itself apart from the competition, the City of Brookville mustered the resources of partners throughout the region, including government, business, and higher education.

"There was a very proactive push to give Payless more than they asked for every step of the way," said Vikram Sethi, professor of information systems and operations management. To introduce Payless managers to the talent pool of Wright State students and graduates, the university organized hiring events for the distribution center.

"Wright State was one of our strongest partners in the Payless project," said Erik Collins, Montgomery County economic development manager. "They provided a huge amount of help in demonstrating how the Dayton region is an excellent place for companies looking to open supply chain logistics distribution centers."

"This region could not have been more welcoming to us. The collaboration between the City of Brookville, Montgomery County, the Dayton Development Coalition, and Wright State University was a strong selling point in our decision to locate our Eastern Distribution Center here," said Aaron Wilcox, director of the Collective Brands, Inc., Eastern Distribution Center. "Having a university like Wright State in our own backyard with a program focused on logistics and supply chain management is an added bonus. Wright State can produce the type of graduates with the skill set needed for our facility."

Master's Degree Program

"Supply chain management is critical to the operating effectiveness of any business and is an essential key in economic efforts to attract new businesses and to retain current businesses. The Raj Soin College of Business is a leader in providing supply chain programs and expertise for businesses, economic development officials, and students," said Berkwood Farmer, dean of the Raj Soin College of Business.

"We focus on the supply chain as a whole. Students learn from excellent faculty and from professionals in other industries," said Dwight Smith-Daniels, chair of the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management in the Raj Soin College of Business. "Students apply what they've learned to bring value to their companies."

Combining online learning with classroom instruction, students in the master's degree program in logistics and supply chain management conclude their yearlong program with a capstone project that directly benefits their employers. "The capstone project delivers a lot of business value to their company sponsor," said James Hamister, assistant professor of information systems and operations management. "Many of our students are sponsored and paid for by their companies. We think it's our responsibility to deliver back equal or greater value immediately through a capstone project. Ideally, this is a self-funding activity."

For his capstone project in the master's program, Remy Maddela created a spending analysis tool for YSI Incorporated. "YSI uses the results of my analysis in their procurement strategy to realize additional savings in the purchasing," said Maddela. "Any cost savings in the procurement area will have a positive impact on the bottom line."

Since receiving his graduate degree, Glenn Loving of Kettering Health Network says his "work has become clearer in its direction. I fully understand how my day-to-day work fits into the corporate plan. I feel I can make informed decisions and become a real part of the process."

New Undergraduate Major

Undergraduates will have the opportunity to learn about supply chain management when Wright State begins its bachelor's degree program this fall. "Our faculty has developed an outstanding undergraduate major," said Smith-Daniels.

"We've traditionally taught an operations management major and we've ported that over to something we think is more market relevant today—supply chain management," said Hamister. "Operations tends to focus on doing things efficiently within the four walls of a building. Supply chain management looks at similar questions but at a higher level. How do you do business processes, make and move materials efficiently between companies? It's the integrated supply chain. Instead of suboptimizing within companies, we're interested in optimizing across companies. It's been a very powerful paradigm shift in business as well as education."

Aligning with the Needs of Business

"Companies survive off their supply chain. An efficient supply chain can really make a difference in the success of a business," said Don Hopkins, chief information officer and head of procurement for Sungard Availability Services. Hopkins serves on Wright State's Information Systems and Operations Management Corporate Advisory Board. He worked at NCR when the master's degree program was first being established at Wright State. "There was a real gap in schools providing this type of education. Wright State's program has benefitted the region by providing capable people to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and to logistics companies."

As Hamister explains, the Miami Valley is an ideal location for companies to set up shop. "Distribution is powerful in this area because we're centrally located. The I-75/I-70 corridor is a very central north-south, east-west transit point. Logistics businesses look at that and look at the flow of goods and say, where should we locate these kinds of facilities? We're physically positioned very nicely for that. We're intellectually positioned nicely for that too, because we're aligning what we do in the university with what those organizations need."

What's Next?

Smith-Daniels hopes Wright State can help spur further economic growth by developing a center of excellence for supply chain management. "This would be an opportunity to provide economic development in the tri-state region. Supply chain organization doesn't pay attention to state borders," he said.

The health care industry is one area where Smith-Daniels sees tremendous potential. "This region is an island of excellence in manufacturers of implants for knee and hip replacements. It's a huge industry with a complex supply chain. These companies compete on performance and the benefit they provide to each patient."

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