Michigan State University and APICS, the world’s largest and most respected association for supply chain and operations management professionals, will begin a new research initiative to identify and examine the capabilities necessary for strategic supply chain success, thus redefining the future of global supply chain management.

The study, “Supply Chain Management: Beyond the Horizon,” will be conducted by researchers from the Broad College of Business’s top ranked Department of Supply Chain Management and the APICS Foundation, with the support of MSU Executive Development Programs. It will examine factors in three areas: an organization’s business model, management, and the interrelationship between the business model and supply chain operations.

“Supply chain optimization goes far beyond being better, faster and cheaper,” said David Closs, John H. McConnell Chair of Business Administration and chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management. “We need to understand the factors that facilitate and inhibit the transformation of a supply chain from tactical to strategic. While previous studies have demonstrated the importance of supply chain management and helped to identify the capabilities that positively contribute to supply chain performance, a crucial question remains: How does a supply chain become strategic? ‘Beyond the Horizon’ will provide a blueprint that enables such a progression.”

“This major undertaking, in partnership with the team of esteemed educators and researchers from MSU as well as APICS members, will generate relevant, actionable insights that promise to advance the design and execution of supply chain operations going forward,” said Sharon Rice, executive director of the APICS Foundation. “We are especially honored to work with the faculty at MSU, named the top-ranked undergraduate supply chain management program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2011 and 2012.”

Carried out over two years, the research project will employ a multi-method approach, including a detailed literature review, case studies, Delphi surveys, and academic publications, along with educational components involving workshops and practitioner-targeted publications. Initial results will be published in 2014. Upon completion of the study, the research team will generate a final report in addition to papers and presentations for both professional and academic audiences.

Support is being provided by the APICS Foundation and the John H. McConnell Chair in Business Administration at MSU.