Bridgewater State University has joined Germany’s Reutlingen University and the Universiti Malaysia Pahang in forming an international association focusing on the teaching and researching of supply chain logistics.
The International Association of Business Engineering Professionals (IABEP) is set to officially launch later this year.
Strictly defined, supply chain logistics involves making sure that the right products are at the right place in the right quantity at the right time. Globalization has put an even stronger focus on these practices. Many corporations these days have warehouses around the world, and the management of the supply chain (which also often includes the transferring of payments across international borders) is more important than ever.
The members of the fledgling IABEP have begun asking targeted corporations to join. The idea is to have partner schools establish academic links with these companies and even help with research, problem solving and the development of best practices. In return, BSU and the other schools involved will enjoy internship opportunities, exposure for students to real-life problems, and jobs for graduates.
“The vision that I have is that in a couple of years from now we will be graduating students who understand logistics well enough to become successful international logistics managers,” said Dr. Elmore Alexander, dean of the Ricciardi College of Business.
Last week, Dr. Andreas Taschner, dean of the ESB Business School at Reutlingen University, was on campus to continue work on assembling the IABEP. He has known Dean Alexander for 20 years, which is what formed the basis of BSU’s participation in the nascent association.
“I find it promising and exciting that Bridgewater can bring in some expertise that we don’t have,” Dean Taschner said. "This way all parties profit from each other."
His university has a long history of working with international partners – counting more than 100 currently.
“This is in our DNA,” he said.
In fact, business engineering in general has been an important academic subject in Germany for nearly a century. Reutlingen University has had a program devoted specifically to logistics for more than a decade.
The association will function in three primary capacities:
-Networking: Including the holding of conferences and seminars, as well as the publication of a newsletter and journal.
-Knowledge transference: Which includes the offering of certified programs and full-blown academic programs, as well as workshops for corporate members.
-Curricula Development: Corporate members will be able to submit project ideas for students to work on, giving the students hands-on training in a particular industry. The plan is for students from the various member schools to work together across international barriers.
As part of the plan, the universities involved will establish areas of specialty in supply chain management and logistics.
For BSU’s part, management Professor Martin Grossman has been working for more than a year to make the necessary connections to build a program focusing on supply chain management. Most of that time has been spent in Asia and Germany. In March, Professor Grossman will take a second group of students to RU.
“This is gaining traction,” Dean Alexander said.
During Dean Taschner’s recent visit, he and Dean Alexander visited some local companies to inquire about their interest in participating in the IABEP.
“This is a case of trying to leverage our networks and our trusted partnerships, including the one we have with BSU,” said Dean Taschner. (Story and photo of Deans Alexander and Taschner by John Winters, G ’11, University News)