Category Archives: Supply Chain Research Center

Meehan Receives Supply Chain Scholarship

McKenzie Meehan, a junior majoring in supply chain management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, at the University of Arkansas, was awarded an Excellence in Education Scholarship by AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management, and Education). Meehan is one of five recipients nationally to receive the award.

AWESOME is comprised of women in executive roles in the supply chain industry. Each year the organization invites 22 universities with top supply chain programs to nominate one student to compete for the scholarship. Faculty members nominate young women currently enrolled in supply chain programs who demonstrate supply chain leadership.

“I am excited that McKenzie received this award because I believe that she embodies the characteristics that make for a successful supply chain leader,” said Stephanie Thomas, clinical assistant professor at the Walton College. “She is highly motivated, willing to work hard, equally comfortable in a leadership or supporting role, dependable and coachable. The connections she will make through this scholarship award will be invaluable to her future supply chain career.”

The AWESOME Excellence in Education scholarship will allow Meehan to participate in the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals EDGE Conference in Anaheim, California, in September 2019 and the AWESOME Symposium in May 2020.

“This scholarship allows me the chance to acquire knowledge and experience from incredible women and industry leading companies and then extend that investment from myself to the other students here at Walton College,” Meehan said.

Recently the Chancellor’s Commission on Women named Meehan one of the University of Arkansas’ Extraordinary Women. She also serves as the president of Women Impacting Supply Chain Excellence, a registered student organization on campus, and is a student member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, a national professional organization. Meehan is personnel chair for the Chi Omega sorority and chairs the senior relations committee for the Student Alumni Board at the University of Arkansas. She interned with Academy Sports + Outdoors last summer and will intern with General Mills this summer. She hails from Overland Park, Kansas.

The additional student scholarship recipients for 2019 attend Michigan State University, Auburn University, Penn State and Syracuse University. Previous scholarship winners from the University of Arkansas are Kyani Alford, a 2016 recipient, and Monica Sewell, a 2018 recipient. 

EPIC Alumni Spotlight: Lingyun Zhang

The enduring career of Lingyun Zhang is the confluence of life-long passions, influences and experiences, starting in China, moving to America, and then back overseas. Although she primarily focuses on marketing strategies in her graduate pursuits, Zhang also enjoyed the experience of earning a degree at the Sam M. Walton College of Business in supply chain management this past May.

“During my time as an undergraduate, when I learned the concepts and skills in supply chain management and other business-related courses like finance, accounting and marketing, I gradually realized that separated knowledge could contribute little help to being successful as an entrepreneur,” said Zhang. “Supply chain management helps a company save money while marketing skills help the company increase sales. I desire more comprehensive knowledge about how to run a company in the future.”

Before Zhang studied abroad, she earned her first Bachelor’s degree in logistics management at Soochow University which is based in Suzhou, China. Driven to succeed, Zhang was awarded the Academic Excellence Award prize three times alongside her other academic awards that highlighted her community involvement, innovation and quality development.

Zhang held two different positions at Soochow University during her enrollment, one as vice president for Enactus and the other as associate director for the Students’ Union. Her involvement with students, awards and scholarships she obtained pushed her to study abroad and pursue a degree in supply chain management, as she was granted the Soochow University Overseas Study Scholarship in 2017.

Lingyun Zhang, Walton College alumna“My academic experiences at the University of Arkansas had a profound impact on me, but the relationships I built with my instructors, classmates, and friends are absolutely the most invaluable things in my mind.”

In her free time, Zhang enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring with her friends and being with her family. Her mother and father both live in China, which influenced her returning home after her studies concluded at the University of Arkansas.

During her time in the Walton College, Zhang held a spot on the Chancellor and Dean’s List. In just one academic year, she and her classmates from Soochow accumulated 47 credits. Zhang was among the highest performing students in her class, obtaining a 4.0 grade point average throughout her experiences abroad.

 What Zhang has learned from her academic courses has proven invaluable during her internships, with Walmart China being her first in 2016. As a project intern in the Supply Chain Department, Zhang was responsible for the system upgrade of the Team Productivity Report for the Fresh Distribution Centre. Her responsibilities entailed eliminating inefficient jobs, redefining new roles and presupposing the criteria for working hours and work efficiency assessments.

Presently, Zhang resides as a digital marketing intern for Wyeth Nutrition based in Shanghai, where she directly communicates with multiple departments to support campaigns’ follow up and convenient operation.

Time management in her administrative work is a direct reflection of one of the many skills she acquired during her time at the Walton College. Continuously engaging in administrative work, Zhang still finds time to pursue her research interests, involving marketing strategies and analysis rooted in Chinese tradition and media.

Lingyun Zhang, Walton College alumna

“Enjoy your time in academia, even the quizzes and tests,” said Zhang. “I’ve learned that problems are not limited to answer selections; issues outside of school are much harder to solve and not always as clear-cut.”

We are proud to have Lingyun Zhang as one of our EPIC Spotlights as she continues to make global progress and encourages other women to do the same!

 — Blair Carver, SCMRC Communication Coordinator

2018 China Logistics Insights Report Released With Theme Focusing on Green Supply Chain

The Supply Chain Management Research Center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas teamed up with researchers in China to compare the macro-economic data of Chinese and American transportation volume and inventory costs. The research was conducted by the Walton College center, the Development & Research Center of the State Post Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Transportation and the Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited, an Alibaba affiliate.

2018 China Logistics Insights Report
2018 China Logistics Insights Report

The 2018 China Logistics Insights Report reviews each country’s detailed logistics costs as a percentage of gross domestic product. Findings compare the domestic Chinese economy with cost details in the U.S. State of Logistics Report, insights on the differences and logistics trends and an outlook for the future. This year’s report focuses on green supply chain. 

“China’s green supply chain strategy has been evolving for several years starting in 2011 in a development phase. It has matured to include product design, procurement, production, sales, distribution, consumption and recycling aspects of supply chain management.  Currently, green supply chain governance systems based on regulations, policies and standards are in place” said John Kent, clinical associate professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management.

To receive a digital copy of the report, email John Kent at JKent@walton.uark.edu along with your name and company affiliation.

Walton College Offers Online Degree in Supply Chain Management

The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas now offers an online bachelor’s degree in supply chain management. Through a partnership with the university’s Global Campus, Walton College now supports three online bachelor’s degree programs: supply chain management, general business and accounting.

“I am proud to add a supply chain management degree to our lineup of online degree offerings,” said Matthew Waller, dean of the Walton College. “It opens up a world of possibilities for nontraditional students, no matter where they live or work.”

The online program in supply chain management will prepare students for leadership roles in a fast growing, complex and demanding field. Supply chain talent must be able to excel with the emergence of analytical capabilities as the market expands globally. Therefore, companies are continuously seeking new talent to keep pace with the rapidly changing interface of the supply chain.

“Businesses are currently experiencing a shortage in supply chain talent, so adding the online supply chain degree program reflects our ongoing efforts to advance the college’s vision for being a catalyst for transforming the lives of our students, while contributing great talent to the industry,” said Brian Fugate, chair of the Department of Supply Chain Management.

Students can begin the supply chain management bachelor’s program and complete all four years of coursework online. Students with past college credit can also complete the rest of their bachelor’s degrees online. To graduate, scholars must complete at least 120 credit hours, including the university’s core requirements and select Supply Chain Management courses.

Walton College’s Department of Supply Chain Management is ranked 15th in the nation by the 2018 U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Colleges” and by leading research and advisory company Gartner in its biennial North American Supply Chain University Program Survey.

“Online degree programs provide the flexibility needed by some students to overcome barriers of time, distance and life demands,” said Don Judges, vice provost for Distance Education. “The new online supply chain degree is the perfect complement to the U of A’s growing list of online bachelor’s and graduate degree programs.”

The new program is one of about 40 online programs offered completely or primarily online by U of A academic colleges and schools.

Online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree options are showcased on the University of Arkansas ONLINE website, as well as online certificate, licensure and endorsement programs. Online programs are administered by the Global Campus, which is a U of A support unit.

About the Department of Supply Chain Management: In addition to faculty expertise, our students benefit from the Walton College Supply Chain Management Research Center, which connects students to industry executives, internships and job opportunities. Recognizing the quality of the supply chain program faculty and graduates, U.S. News & World Report has rated the Walton College supply chain program among the best in the United States.

About the Global Campus: The Global Campus supports U of A colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services and assistance with marketing, recruiting and strategic academic development.

Taking Care of Customers and Environment Pays Off, Study Shows

Sebastian Garcia-Dastugue, Supply Chain, Faculty
Sebastian Garcia-Dastugue, Supply Chain, Faculty

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Findings by a University of Arkansas supply-chain management researcher suggest that, in the field of logistics, companies that excel in customer service and environmental sustainability also perform better in sales growth and cost efficiency.

Read the full story in Newswire.

Psychological Stressors Affect Truck Driver’s Experience and Contribute to Shortage in Industry

A 2017 study published in the Transportation Journal gives insight into truck driver woes with a rigorous phenomenological research approach. What does that mean, exactly? These authors went straight to the source and talked to truck drivers about what phenomena cause them stress.

Using this qualitative research methodology, they were able to gather data in two ways: face-to-face interviews with truck drivers and online blogs. Sixty-one participants were asked to describe their experience as a truck driver, and their interviews were transcribed so the researchers could easily find statements about how drivers handle their job. These statements were grouped into themes or categories that became the findings for the study relating to the essence of the truck driver experience.

Being a truck driver is a grueling and often thankless job. Time away from home and family, poor pay and a generally unhealthy lifestyle make it an unattractive career. Recent statistics from the American Trucking Associations show turnover rates were in excess of 90 percent last year, and with the projected growth of demand, the industry is going to experience a painful shortage in the upcoming years. The number of truck drivers leaving the industry is skyrocketing, and new drivers are not there to backfill the void.

Because almost every finished good eventually ends up on a truck, this is a far-reaching problem that hits almost every industry. Here are a few of the types of psychological stress found in the study:

  • Truck drivers experience loneliness and isolation. They also experience health issues that go unaddressed because of inadequate healthcare options, uncertainty about where to find affordable care and tight delivery windows while on the road. Being away from home and an overall unhealthy lifestyle take a tremendous emotional and physical toll.
  • A multifaceted issue, truck drivers feel disrespected by car drivers on the road, customers, dispatchers and managers. While some might say that drivers should not take all the animosity personally, the fact is that they do. They feel they are being slighted as human beings, and that the truck-driving profession is snubbed and met with disdain.
  • The most challenging piece of the puzzle seems to be the regulatory environment. While most drivers understand the intent behind many of the regulations, they often feel stress-related burdens regarding their pay, eligibility to drive and being told how to do their job. Safety is the intent behind most regulations, but drivers feel that the reality is very different.

TruckThe findings in this research are timely. This past December, the Electronic Logging Device rule went into effect. These ELDs are automatically logging the hours of the truckers, and experts are already predicting increased costs for transportation. When it costs more to move products, the increase in transportation cost will eventually be passed on to consumers in cost of goods. The research team plans to conduct a follow-up study in the near future on the psychological stress related to these new ELD rules.

Stephanie Thomas, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management, was a co-author of the research regarding truck driver stress.
Stephanie Thomas, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management, was a co-author of the research regarding truck driver stress.

What are the implications of these truck-driver stressors to business and to consumers? Consumers need truck drivers. They need the products that truck drivers deliver, and consumers want them in a timely manner. Many companies today are working to improve the truck driver experience in a number of ways such as providing different routes, improving compensation or providing well-being resources. For their part, consumers can improve the experiences of truck drivers as well by being more aware of these stressors and by promoting a more respectful driving experience.

Read more and watch a supporting video at the Supply Chain Management Research Center website or the latest article to be published at Transport Topics at www.ttnews.com the week of August 20.

New Student Jobs at the McMillon Innovation Studio

Beginning in fall 2018, the McMillon Innovation Studio will be forming innovation design teams that will focus on prototyping new models of delivery, services, products and policies in the areas of (1) health and well-being, (2) supply chain and (3) seamless commerce. We will be hiring student project leaders for each of these teams, who will have the opportunity to travel, create and innovate for real impact, gain job experience, earn potential credit hours, and receive potential funding to support innovation prototypes. All majors are welcome to apply.

The McMillon Innovation Studio seeks to shape the future of commerce by inspiring students to be catalysts of innovation.

For more information regarding student job opportunities, visit:

Students with creative, innovative ideas in health and well-being, supply chain or seamless commerce are welcome to join a design team being in fall 2018. Contact Rachel Sullivant at rsullivant@walton.uark.edu for additional information.

Walton College Center to Host Supply Chain Conference April 17

A conference on Trends in Supply Chain Management: Disruptive Innovation will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development at the University of Arkansas. Professionals in logistics, manufacturing and retail industries are invited to attend.

The conference will be hosted by the Supply Chain Management Research Center and the Executive Education program at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

2018 Trends in Supply Chain Management: Disruptive InnovationExecutives from Walmart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., GRIT Studios and Roland Berger will discuss supply chain disruptors, artificial intelligence, changes in commerce implementation and innovative culture.

“Commerce is changing rapidly and, consequently, supply chain professionals must be constantly learning and adapting,” said Brent Williams, associate dean for executive education and outreach for Walton College. “This conference is an opportunity to hear from industry leaders and to network with other supply chain professionals.”

Speakers or panelists include:

  • Stephan Keese, senior partner, Roland Berger
  • Jeremy Verba, general manager, Vudu
  • Tim Madigan, vice president, eCommerce, Tyson Foods
  • Avery Vise, vice president, Transportation Intelligence, FTR
  • Rick Webb, cofounder, GRIT Studios
  • Greg Smith, executive vice president, Supply Chain, Walmart
  • Shelley Simpson, chief commercial officer, J.B. Hunt

To register for the conference, visit scmr.uark.edu. Pre-registration is required. Conference fees are $500 per person and include breakfast, lunch, snacks, beverages and parking. For additional information or to register more than five attendees, email execed@walton.uark.edu or contact Blythe Eggleston at 479-575-5871.

EPIC Spotlight – Nick Foster

Nicholas “Nick” Foster is an EPIC Supply Chain student at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas. He is a sophomore from Edmond, Okla., with minors in Enterprise Resource Planning, Data Analytics, Political Science and History. Yes — one major and four minors. He is active on campus too! He is part of Alpha Kappa Psi, a member of Arkansas Supply Chain Association (ASCA), a new member of the Supply Chain Honor Society — Sigma Chi Mu Tau and is in Walton Honors College.

Foster has a passion for learning, and while he credits him mom who always encouraged him to read, he admits he sets high standards for himself to be the best that he can be. For Foster, it isn’t just about a love for learning, he enjoys continuously improving his education.

Continuous improvement led him to supply chain, although he admits initially, it was not at the forefront of his mind when coming to the U of A. His initial focus in history and political science changed during his second semester of freshmen year when Stephanie Thomas, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management, opened his eyes to the world of supply chain. The process-oriented aspect of logistics, its versatility as an industry to work in and Walton College has “one of the strongest programs that is available” caused him to declare supply chain as his major.

When he isn’t busy learning, Foster enjoys being outdoors, spending time with his family and his dog, and if he was not already busy enough with all his academic endeavors, he volunteers with local community groups.

He mentors with the Make a Difference Day – Volunteer Action Center and has been an assistant coach for the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department youth soccer league for 8th grade students. He enjoys making connections and helping others, whether it is with middle school students or as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for Walton College students.

And, someday soon, Nick aspires to combine his love of history and learning by traveling to Washington, D.C., where he plans to visit all the major monuments and museums in the area.