Cerag Pince

Cerag Pince

Degree: PhD, Supply Chain Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Occupation: Associate Professor, Loyola University Chicago

What is your academic and professional background?

I have a BS in Statistics and MS in Industrial Engineering. I received my PhD in Operations and Supply Chain Management from Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. After finishing my PhD, I held a postdoctoral appointment at Georgia Tech's Scheller College of Business. I joined the Quinlan School of Business in January 2018. Prior to my PhD, I also worked as a researcher the National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology in Turkey.

Where did your interest in SCM come from?

Industrial Engineering (IE) was a very popular topic to study in Turkey and once I finished my undergraduate degree in Statistics, I thought it would be good idea to have an advanced degree in IE. The program that I involved was very quantitative and research oriented and we were expected to conduct research as part of our master’s thesis. Our professors were working on very interesting SCM optimization problems and often encouraging us to engage in research with them. I think my interest in SCM has sparked during those times.

What led you to choose being a professor at Loyola/Quinlan? How do you think Loyola/Quinlan is different from other schools?

To me what makes Loyola/Quinlan special is its strong focus on sustainability. My research is on Closed-Loop Supply Chains and Sustainable Operations and I thought this would be the place where my teaching and research in these areas would be valued. Besides that, at my very first visit to the school, I felt a very positive and collegial atmosphere, which played a great role in my decision to join Quinlan.

What is one of your favorite teaching methods?

SCM courses tend to be technical and could be challenging to teach. I believe my main method is to focus on the insights rather than technical details, especially while explaining complex concepts. I aimed to make the learning experience into one that leads students to an appreciation of the scientific and data-driven decision making methods of operations and supply chain management fields, and create a working knowledge that can be directly applicable in the their professional life.

What is your research about? Why is it important?

My research is focused on analyzing a wide variety of questions faced by firms operating primarily in closed-loop and service-centric supply chains. The defining elements of these supply chains are the return flow of products and after-sales services, the effective management of which ultimately determines the profitability of the firms. In this domain, my research consists of two main streams: (1) sustainable operations with emphasis on operational decisions regarding return flows in closed-loop supply chains; (2) after-sales service operations with emphasis on service parts management. I address real-world business problems by closely collaborating with managers in consumer electronics, hi-tech, aerospace and remanufacturing industries. Driven by the questions faced by those managers, I examine topics including dynamic value recovery from returned consumer electronics products, proactive management of critical service parts, and value of installed base information in service-centric supply chains. As we move towards a Circular Economy, more companies will face such questions about effective management of return flows.

If someone asked you "what is the number one lesson to learn in SCM" what would you say?

At no other time in history the production and distribution were carried over such long distances and complex networks of supply chains. This intense activity leaves a large footprint on earth and it is highly questionable if it can be sustained in the long term. I believe we should be more cognizant about these effects and think about how to make modern supply chains more sustainable in terms of their environmental and social impacts.

What recent development in SCM is particularly exciting/interesting to you?

Artificial Intelligence. In the near future, this technology will drastically change how supply chains will function. Combining vast quantities of data and machine learning, AI will enable us not only to monitor the supply chains at a much higher level of transparency but also to be more proactive in our decisions through more accurate forecasts and insights.