Supply Chain Leaders Forum puts the focus on big data

April 15, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Last month, the Penn State Smeal College of Business’ Center for Supply Chain Research held its biannual Supply Chain Leaders Forum, an invitation-only discussion of the latest industry issues in supply chain management.

A total of 60 participants attended, representing more than 20 sponsor companies and several Smeal faculty members and doctoral students.

The forum focused on supply chains and big data; particularly, how companies can use the data they collect and innovate their business practices as a result.

“Most companies have more data than they know what to do with. Most consumers create many data points every day — data points that can be used to manage supply chain,” explained Christopher W. Craighead, the center’s director of research and the Rothkopf Professor and Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management. “We want to get to the point where we can not only predict demand, but begin to shape or change the demand.”

Eric Peters, president and CEO of FoodLink, served as the program director. The agenda featured speakers from the University of Arkansas, Kraft Foods North America, Brenntag, Transplace, IBM and Chainalytics.

The Leaders Forum is one of the benefits of corporate sponsorship in the Center for Supply Chain Research. Each corporate member gets two free seats to each forum.

“This is both an educational and a networking opportunity,” said William "Skip" Grenoble, the center’s executive director. “It’s a chance to learn from each other, not just listen to speakers at the front of the room.”

Planning for the next forum is already under way. Slated to take place on Sept. 5 and 6, the theme will be supply chain strategy, development and execution.

About the Center for Supply Chain Research
The Center for Supply Chain Research provides a forum for industry leaders and academics to exchange ideas and advance knowledge in the field. With more than 40 sponsor companies, the center is active in many facets of supply chain management and the enabling technologies used for collaboration, visibility and integration. For more information, visit the website at

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Last Updated September 10, 2013