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Comprehensive studies to enlighten practitioner strategy


CAPS Research dives into the big issues that are shaping the field. We release both in-depth information and high-level pointers to empower busy supply management practitioners. Our goals are to move from operational to strategic supply management, improve performance, and reduce risk. Projects are led by top academics in the field in collaboration with supply management executives, applying rigor and disciplined research methods that inform and advance the function.

Our research studies are announced on our website and through our social media outlets and newsletter. Please be sure to add yourself to our list and follow us online to learn about our latest research releases. Each research project has three products for your convenience:

  • Brief: a three- to five-page synopsis that highlights key points of the report and its findings, designed for busy supply management executives.
  • Full study: the full research report includes all the components, case studies, and researcher information, for those who want to delve into the methodology and findings.
  • Video: a teaser of each project, giving an overview in 3 minutes, posted to YouTube.

The newest research reports are available to members immediately upon release. Non-members with an account in Knowledge Central (http://knowledge.capsresearch.org) may access research three years after release.

Current projects

Supply Base Cybersecurity: Understanding Threats and Corresponding Security Practices
Researchers: Mohan Gopalakrishnan, Victor Benjamin, and Gail-Joon Ahn
We gather leading buying companies’ experiences and best practices across industries to explore what areas of the supply base are most vulnerable, which cyber-based threats present the biggest challenges, and what proactive measures can be taken to mitigate risk.

Currency and Procurement: Mitigating Risk and Reducing Total Cost
Researcher: Theodore Farris
Foreign exchange management, one of the best opportunities for supply cost reduction, is a hidden risk which could dramatically impact your final negotiated price. Consider a buyer-supplier relationship between a Canadian firm and a U.S. firm. The variation in the Canadian Dollar to US Dollar between January 17 and May 1 in 2016 was 16.4% – a variation with big implications for both trading partners. Properly informed purchasing professionals can manage currency exchange fluctuation to protect their firms and trading partners.

Blockchain: Applications on Supply Management
Researchers: Dale Rogers, Todd Taylor, and Raymundo Beristain-Barajas
Blockchains operate on distributed computer platforms that utilize shared databases, consensus approval and peer validation. This functionality lends itself to supply networks and purchasing activities. This study will examine the applicability of blockchain technologies on supply management and the procurement profession.

Future Procurement Talent: Looking Ahead Ten Years
Researchers: Jennifer Nahrgang and Bruce Gilmore
We propose to investigate the future talent needed for procurement and supply chain management. Our study takes three major points of departure—(1) we will take the perspective of large MNCs that make up the CAPS membership base, (2) our projections will reflect the most recent changes in our field that has been accelerating in the last two years (i.e. cognitive analytics, blockchain, etc.), and (3) we will collect data from the supplier side regarding their perspective on the future procurement talent needs of the buying companies.

3-D Printing and the Potential Impact on Supply Chain Management Costs and Working Capital
Researchers: Cecil Bozarth, Timothy Moore, and Russell King
The goal of this research project is to understand the adoption and integration of 3-D printing, and its cost impact relative to any organizational function with which procurement interacts (e.g., design, production, and services). Questions that need to be addressed involve the current state and uses of the technology, the ways current practices influence procurement activities, and the reasonable boundaries of the technology’s adoption and implementation. The findings from this project will provide insights about the ways 3-D printing can help reduce inventory, service cost, time to market, and cost of goods sold.

Data Analytics Teams and Procurement – Who and What
Researchers: Benjamin Shao and Robert St. Louis
The goal of this project is to consider the formation of a new data analytics team, and how procurement can participate and take advantage of what it can offer. Questions that need to be addressed include the team’s scope and core mission, its composition, the necessary expertise and capabilities, the ways the team integrates and works together with procurement, and the organizational systems needed to enable these teams to interact effectively. The findings of this project can help CPOs plan for long-term data analytics strategy, and help their organizations become an integral part of the company-level data analytics team.

Procurement Analytics – Enabling Data Architectures in the Age of Big Data
Researchers: Raghu Santanam and Michael Goul
The goal of this project is to develop a maturity index of procurement data strategy. Questions that need to be addressed include the ways companies organize their procurement data structures, the data sources and data requirements needed at each maturity level, the functional capabilities and processes necessary to move from a lower to a higher maturity level, the value proposition of moving from a lower to a higher maturity level, and what the future entails for already mature companies. The findings from this project can help CPOs identify where their companies are on the maturity index, benchmark with other companies within and across industries, and understand the potential data, processes, and capabilities needed to move their companies to higher maturity levels of procurement data strategy.

Creating a Resilient Supply Chain to Combat Counterfeiting Activities: Identification, Containment, and Preventive Approaches
Researchers: Anand Nair and Robert Handfield
Counterfeiting represents a significant loss of revenue as well as a major threat to a company’s brand and quality reputation. Despite the magnitude of the problem, few executives have definitive strategies for dealing with this issue. An understanding of these supply side issues can present implications for the supply management function. This project will produce guidelines for the CPOs on how to work with other business functions and suppliers to identify, mitigate, and prevent the on-going threat of counterfeit products in the supply chain.

Physician Preference Items Management: Challenges, Opportunities, and Strategies
Researchers: Gilbert Nyaga and Eugene Schneller
Hospitals are increasingly facing financial pressures due to rising supplies costs. Of the total spend, a significant percentage, approximately 60%, is expenditure on physician preference items (PPI). These are items for which physicians have very strong preferences and therefore play a key role in their acquisitions. Among factors contributing to PPI challenge is the nature of relations between physicians and hospital management. For example, in surgical procedures involving implant devices, physicians wield significant influence on the type of devices to be used in patient treatment. The goal of this project is to study challenges and opportunities involved in procuring PPI’s and strategies that can be adopted to effectively manage PPI’s. The notion of PPI purchasing is also observed in other sectors where professionals (e.g., engineers, accountants, marketing teams, etc.) get involved in purchasing decisions or have significant influence on items to be purchased.

Measuring and Managing Risks in Supply Chains
Researchers: Tobias Schoenherr and Thomas Choi
This project intends to identify supply risks and ways to measure and manage them. Risks to be considered include those associated with suppliers, technology, infrastructures, natural disasters, finances, reputation, industry consolidations and customers that are becoming more discerning and unpredictable. The project will identify data sources and tools to measure, mitigate, and monitor such risks, and how these can be communicated to stakeholders.

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The Role of Supply Management in Merger and Acquisition: Separation and Integration
Published January 2018
Researchers: Kevin Linderman and David Wohler

Involving supply management in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) will help ensure a successful transition and avoid any missteps. In this new report from CAPS Research we detail four capabilities to help supply management can support M&As. Is your M&A business process up to date? Are you one of the 37 percent of companies today that do not have a formal business process in place for M&As?

Merger and Acquisitions video link

CAPS Research members: Click here to login and access the research report on Knowledge Central.

Managing Startup Suppliers
Published October 2017
Researchers: Stephan M. Wagner, Stefan Kurpjuweit, and Thomas Choi

Buying companies source from startup suppliers, relatively young entrepreneurial firms, with the intent of tapping into their innovative products and services. The challenge comes when buying companies attempt to integrate startup suppliers into their current supplier management process. Startup suppliers require a different management style and process that buying companies may not be prepared for. In this new CAPS Research report we detail the three strategies that emerged for working with startup suppliers and provide examples through case studies.

Managing Startup Suppliers video link

CAPS Research members: Click here to login and access the research report on Knowledge Central.

Managing Service Outsourcing Triad: Decision Tools and Strategies
Cosponsored by ASU’s Center for Services Leadership
Published August 2017
Researchers: Mei Li, John Fowler, and Thomas Choi

A service outsourcing triad is composed of three nodes – a service buyer, a service supplier and the service buyer’s end customer – with three links between the node pairs. Mismanagement of any of these links can be a major risk, resulting in the possibility of increased costs, product defects and even lawsuits. In this new CAPS Research report, we detail the interdependencies among links between nodes and explore Service Triads and Service Diamonds. A customizable Excel-based tool has been developed to help quantify the impact monitoring has on single and multiple projects. This tool can be utilized by any service buying firm, but can be especially helpful for customer facing services. A detailed guide is provided with instructions to help you put this tool to work, today!

Managing Service Outsourcing Triad video link

CAPS Research members: Click here to login and access the research report on Knowledge Central.

Supply Chain Cost Savings Strategies – Establishing and Achieving Cost Savings Goals
Published June 2017
Researchers: Lisa Ellram, Wendy Tate, and Thomas Choi

Cost savings is one of the key priorities for all procurement. Are you meeting your companies cost savings goals? With continued developments in business analytics and data availability, new ways of setting and achieving cost savings targets are being realized and implemented. In this new research report we’ll walk you through what cutting-edge approaches are being used to set and achieve cost saving goals, how these goals are measured and tracked, who gets involved in cost savings, and how firms meet targets in multiple categories. More than 10 case studies, with examples, are provided in this in-depth report.

Supply Chain Cost Saving Strategies video link

CAPS Research members: Click here to login and access the research report on Knowledge Central.

Emerging Procurement Technology: Data Analytics and Cognitive Analytics
Published May 2017
Researchers: Robert Handfield, Thomas Choi, Jaikishen Venkitaraman, and Shweta Murthy

Where are you in the analytics journey? If you are like most major business organizations, you are near the beginning of this journey. The rise of the next wave of data analytics and cognitive analytics will probably affect procurement/supply chain management more than other business areas in the coming decade. What are the fundamentals you need to get in place today to prepare your company for this whole new world of data analytics? Through this new research report by CAPS Research you will gain an understanding of the future landscape, what future technologies might be able to do and what you need to do today to prepare yourself for tomorrow.

Data Analytics and Cognitive Analytics video link

CAPS Research members: Click here to login and access the research report on Knowledge Central.

Measuring and Managing Supplier Innovation
Published April 2017
Researchers: Tingting Yan and Kevin Dooley

More than 90 percent of CPOs think it’s important to measure supplier innovation, but only 25 percent actually have a system to do so. Supplier innovation is critical to competitive advantage and can help increase revenue and open new markets, improve quality and timeliness, and reduce costs, but how do you go about measuring it? “Measuring and Managing Supplier Innovation,” a new CAPS study will give you the tools to assess suppliers’ innovation performance and potential, and assess your organization’s ability to capture value from supplier innovation.

Measuring and Managing Supplier Innovation video link

CAPS Research members: Click here to login and access the research report on Knowledge Central.

Futures Study 2020
Researchers: Thomas Kull, Thomas Choi, and Rama Srinivasan

This report addresses the major issues and initiatives the supply management profession can expect five years into the future. Building on past CAPS Research “futures” studies, the results of this study should help supply management professionals understand potential factors that will impact their business models and change expectations for the supply function. Ultimately, the study should give valuable information that supply management professionals can use in discussion with the leadership of their company when developing and deploying supply strategies for the coming years.

Futures Study 2020 video link

Related article:
Kull, Thomas J., Sangho Chae and Thomas Choi, “The future of supply management,” Supply Chain Management Review, Jan/Feb 2017 http://www.supplychain247.com/article/the_future_of_supply_chain_management/zebra_technologies

Supply Chain Financing: Funding the Supply Chain and the Organization
Researchers: Dale Rogers, Rudolph Leuschner, and Thomas Choi

This report recognizes an opportunity for supply professionals to expand their role into financial issues, as they can significantly alter how relationships with suppliers are managed. The study highlights areas of collaboration, especially involving the corporate finance function and treasury, in addition to suppliers and even customers. Some of the tools presented in this report can bring significant value to the organization because they provide access to liquidity, which is often difficult to access otherwise.

Supply Chain Financing video link

Supply Chain Financing study overview video (long version)

Related article:
Rogers, Dale, Rudi Leuschner and Thomas Choi, “The rise of fintech in supply chains,” Harvard Business Review, Online Forum, June 22, 2016. https://hbr.org/2016/06/the-rise-of-fintech-in-supply-chains

Feasibility Study of Nexus Supplier Index: Identifying and Categorizing Nexus Suppliers through Business Analytics
Researchers: Ben Shao, Michael Shi, and Thomas Choi

Nexus suppliers are a new kind of critical supplier. Their criticality comes from their structural positions in the multi-tiered supply network of a focal buying firm. Nexus suppliers may have a profound impact on a buyer’s performance, due to their network characteristics rather than their internal capabilities or knowledge.

The objective of this feasibility study is to develop and assess a data-driven business analytics model for Nexus Supplier Index (NSI) through which we can identify and categorize nexus suppliers in a focal buying firm’s supply network.

Nexus Suppliers and Analytics video link

Related article:
Choi, T., B. Shao, Z. Shi, “Hidden Suppliers Can Make or Break Your Operations,” Harvard Business Review, Online Forum, May 29, 2015. https://hbr.org/2015/05/hidden-suppliers-can-make-or-break-your-operations

Sourcing Cloud-Based Services: Underlying Issues and Strategies
Researchers: Sriram Narayanan, Yu Huang, and Thomas Choi

Despite high awareness of cloud-sourcing, buying firms are still in the process of developing more mature cloud strategies to better leverage the potentials. Procuring cloud-based services is taking on increasing salience for CPO’s today. More firms are considering outsourcing various forms of IT-related activities to suppliers that provide cloud-based services. However, effectiveness in cloud sourcing still remains elusive for many buying firms. This CAPS Research project was commissioned with the intention to better gain insights into strategies and risks of cloud sourcing for procurement managers. As firms are increasingly migrating to the cloud, understanding how the cloud can be leveraged for business growth, while minimizing the risks from pursuing cloud sourcing is critical. To facilitate this process, this report identifies cloud sourcing enablers; risks of cloud sourcing; risk mitigation and contract negotiation and governance issues in cloud sourcing.

Sourcing Cloud-Based Services video link

Related article:
Narayanan, Sriram, Vallah Sambamurthy and Thomas Choi, “Getting value from the cloud,” Supply Chain Management Review, Sept/Oct, 2016. http://www.scmr.com/article/getting_value_from_the_cloud

Learn more about these studies
To learn more about this study, please visit CAPS Research Knowledge Central. Anyone can create an account for free, and access the project overview page, but please note that only CAPS Research member companies’ personnel can access the executive summary, brief and full research study.

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