We built it, and they have come
Just a few months after launching, Quinlan’s Supply and Value Chain Center had exactly one member. Much has changed in the two years since then, with the center increasing its membership by more than 50 percent in the past month alone.
“I spent most of 2013 going to businesses and seeing what they wanted from us,” says John Caltagirone, the center’s director. “I built the center based on what these companies said they needed. Once that was done, I felt that we were ready to take members.”
To date, Quinlan’s Supply and Value Chain Center has 27 members—and counting.
Caltagirone, a supply chain leader himself, has been the main attraction for many, bringing with him nearly 40 years of experience in the field—25 as a practitioner running supply chains and 15 at his own supply chain consulting practice. Prior to joining Quinlan, he served as vice president and national practice leader of global supply chain strategy for The Revere Group, an NTT Data company. Before that, he was senior vice president/chief logistics and operations officer for Peapod Inc. Caltagirone has also held several senior management positions with Rand McNally, RR Donnelly, and Ryder Logistics.
“I had relationships with companies that were clients of mine when I was consulting, and they were my first call,” he says.
Caltagirone focused on household names as well.
Caltagirone approaches each organization with a personalized plan of action, putting to use his extensive knowledge and experience in distribution services, inventory management, purchasing, transportation management, logistics engineering, and customer service.
“It takes months of research,” he says.
This customized care—matched with Quinlan’s status as the only school to offer an actual physical center where members can meet and the only school to focus on end-to-end supply chain management—is a major draw.
So what does a supply and value chain center actually do?
“Whatever its members need,” Caltagirone says.
For example, Fellowes Inc., a company that manufactures office supplies, recently received a request from Walmart, one of its customers, to work on new guidelines for sustainability. Quinlan’s Supply and Value Chain Center partnered with Fellowes on the project, helping draft recommendations on how to comply with new manufacturing standards.
Similarly, the center’s advisory board wanted to know if American manufacturing companies should leave China, and if so, where to go. Caltagirone and his team launched a study, dubbed Where’s the Next China?, to find out. It’s too early to reach a definite conclusion, but Caltagirone says that Vietnam looks promising. This is the sort of insight that (typically) only members receive.
“In order for the center to be of use to its members, we have to know what’s keeping them up at night,” Caltagirone says. “That way, we can deliver.”
Students are benefiting too. In fact, the center works closely with Quinlan’s Master of Science in Supply Chain Management and MBA programs to connect budding business professionals with established industry leaders on an array of real-world research projects. Meghan Maloy, a current MBA student, just completed a study for the center that looks at the viability of the funding model for Chicago’s recently launched Digital Manufacturing Lab. Maloy’s study is set to be released soon; stay tuned to the center’s website for more details.
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