Thursday, October 16, 2014

Meet an Executive in the Apparel Industry

The 2014 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences, Professor Jean Tirole, said recently in an interview in the The Upshot column, in The New York Times: There’s no easy line in summarizing my contribution and the contribution of my colleagues. It is industry-specific. The way you regulate payment cards has nothing to do with the way that you regulate intellectual property or railroads. There are lots of idiosyncratic factors. That’s what makes it all so interesting. It’s very rich. It requires some understanding of how an industry works. And then the reasoning is very much based on game theory.

His words to me could be directly translated to why I find supply chains so fascinating and interesting to work on - the idiosyncratic characteristics of  supply chains in different industries, whether in high tech, food, pharmaceuticals, or even fashion! And, yes, we use game theory in our competitive supply chain network models.

Some of our most recent work, with a focus on perishable product supply chains, including blood supply chains and medical nuclear ones, we describe in our book, Networks Against Time: Supply Chain Analytics for Perishable Products., in which we also have a chapter on fast fashion supply chains. 

Interestingly, we have Professor T.M. "Jason" Choi of Hong Kong to thank for inspiring us to work on fashion / apparel supply chains and, to-date, we have written 3 papers on the topic, with the most recent one being with my great colleague, Professor Jonas Floden, of the University of Gothenburg, and a former doctoral student, Professor Min Yu of the University of Portland: Fashion Supply Chain Network Competition with Ecolabelling, Anna Nagurney, Min Yu, and Jonas Floden, in press in Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management: From Sourcing to Retailing, T.-M. Choi and T.C.E. Cheng, Editors, Springer. 

I very much enjoyed working on this paper and would walk for miles in the beautiful city of Gothenburg stopping into a variety of stores from H&M and Zara and several with eco-labelled fashion products.

So, when an opportunity came to help host Mr. Marc Schneider of PVH, who is both an executive and an alum of the Isenberg School, I had to say "yes!" He had come to speak with us about 3 years ago and it was a terrific experience.

Mr. Schneider will be speaking at the Isenberg School of Friday, November 7, 2014. The students of the UMass Amhest INFORMS Student Chapter prepared the nice poster below.

I hope that you can join us.
After the event, many of us will be packing up and flying to the INFORMS conference in San Francisco!