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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 four products for your convenience:

  • Overview: includes an executive summary, as well as the table contents and other components of the report’s construction.
  • 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

Emerging Procurement Technology Landscape: Data Analytics and Cognitive Analytics
Researchers: Robert B. Handfield, Thomas Y. Choi, and Jaikishen Venkitaraman
Procurement is entering into a new world fueled and powered by analytics that includes big data, cognitive computing, real-time information, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics. Using this information, we lay out the procurement technology roadmap of investment, analytics, and cognition.

Supply Chain Costing Strategies: Establishing and Achieving Cost Targets
Researchers: Lisa Ellram, Wendy Tate, and Thomas Choi
Companies are taking advantage of recent developments in business analytics and data availability to develop new ways of setting cost saving targets. We’ll walk you through what cutting-edge approaches they are using to set and achieve cost saving goals and meet targets in multiple categories.

Contracting in Services Outsourcing Triads: An Optimization Perspective
Cosponsored by ASU’s Center for Services Leadership
Researchers: Mei Li, John Fowler, and Thomas Choi
A service outsourcing triad is composed of three nodes and three links, and research shows that omission or mismanagement of any of these links can lead to cost overrun, customer defects, and even expensive lawsuits. We’ll detail the interdependencies among links and set forth the most efficient contractual terms to maximize outsourcing objectives.

Managing Entrepreneurial Suppliers
Researchers: Stephan M. Wagner, Stefan Kurpjuweit, and Thomas Y. Choi
Entrepreneurial or start-up firms are often flexible, dynamic, and innovative, and are seen as incubators for product and market innovation, making them also attractive suppliers. We focus on how to identify, leverage, and integrate the capabilities of these innovative entrepreneurial suppliers.

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.

The Role of Supply Management in Merger and Acquisition: Separation and Integration
Researchers: Kevin Linderman and David Wohler
To encourage successful M&As and avoid missteps, we investigate when to include supply chain in making an M&A decision, what supply chain activities companies should separate and integrate, and how they should separate and integrate them.

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.

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Measuring and Managing Supplier Innovation
Published April 2017
Investigators: Tingting Yan, Ph.D., Kevin J. Dooley, Ph.D.

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
Investigators: Thomas Kull, Thomas Y. 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

Supply Chain Financing: Funding the Supply Chain and the Organization
Investigators: 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)

Feasibility Study of Nexus Supplier Index: Identifying and Categorizing Nexus Suppliers through Business Analytics
Investigators: 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

Sourcing Cloud-Based Services: Underlying Issues and Strategies
Investigators: 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

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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About CAPS Research Membership
Are you interested in benchmarking to better understand your industry and move your organization forward? Or sales-free peer-to-pear learning experiences to glean best practices and work through challenges? For this, full access to all our research, and more, consider becoming a member company. For more information about CAPS Research membership:

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Transform your supply chain tactics into a strategic discipline

While it’s easy to grasp the value of quick insights gained from practical benchmarking reports, we often fail to see the far-reaching benefit of future-focused research publications. Our research topics are chosen and vetted by CPOs from top global companies worldwide. Real insight, real answers.