At its October 25, 2013, Board of Trustees meeting, Michigan State University announced plans to open a new research institute in Midland, Mich., focusing on value chain creation and management and tackling many of today’s grand challenges in business, said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “Whether you’re talking about simply delivering safe water locally or fostering international competitiveness, effective value chain creation is key,” she said. “By developing more effective, sustainable value chains through this initiative, we hope to provide both an advantage for American manufacturing and pathways for the world to respond more successfully to human needs. In addition, we will cooperate with the Midland community in creating new knowledge and training opportunities, to help the region prosper in the new global economy.”
Value chain refers to the effective management of processes related to product innovation, design, sourcing, procurement, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, inventory management, warehousing, marketing, customer services, and returns and repairs. Through its institute, MSU will conduct research as well as offer graduate studies in value chain management. The institute also will offer non-degree courses and certificate programs on-site and online.
Initially, an executive director and six tenure-track MSU researchers will staff the institute; located in Midland MI. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, MSU faculty from the Broad College of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Social Science will be involved in the research. David Closs, chairperson of MSU’s supply chain management department, is serving as the interim director during the executive director search. MSU’s supply chain management undergraduate program is ranked as the best in the nation, while the graduate program holds the No. 2 ranking, according to U.S. News and World Report. Institute researchers will work with undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and corporate collaborators to develop and apply new knowledge, with the aim of improving all types of public and private value chains.
The institute, launched with a total of $15.5-million in philanthropic and corporate support pledges, will focus on three research areas: Novel, evidence-based tools for value chain management; Quantitative assessment, monitoring, and management of integrated supply chain solutions; Food- and water-focused research projects, including humanitarian efforts.
Simon cited Midland’s and the Great Lakes Bay Region’s, existing corporate value chain talent pool and MSU’s robust, century-old relationship with the region as reasons for establishing the facility in the central Michigan area. The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Corning Corporation, The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation, and The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation will be the initial donors to the institute, with others recruited over time. “Having the MSU Midland Institute in the region will facilitate advancements in sustainable value chain management including packaging technology, as well as provide valuable professional educational opportunities,” said Dave Kepler, executive vice president, Business Services and Chief Sustainability Officer, Chief Information Officer of The Dow Chemical Company. “We see the institute as having wide-ranging benefits for businesses and their employees across the region, in terms of economic development, career development, attracting and retaining top talent and positively impacting the overall quality of life in the region.”
Dow is committed to helping MSU succeed in this endeavor. “The creation of a strategic, world-renowned supply chain research facility in Midland will help strengthen the United States’ competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing global marketplace,” said Bob Hansen, president and CEO, Dow Corning Corporation. “Additionally, the institute will contribute to the economic vitality of the Midland community, which Dow Corning has called home for the last 70 years.”