University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Episode 179: Exploring the Value of a Master's in Supply Chain Management with David Dobrzykowski

June 15, 2022  |  By Matt Waller

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This week Matt sits down with David Dobryzkowski, Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Science Program in Supply Chain Management at the Walton College. Matt and David discuss the new 100% online Master’s of Supply Chain Management program that is now available at the Walton College and the amazing opportunity it gives to people across the country whether you work in the supply chain industry or not. Dobryzkowski closes out the conversation by discussing supply chain innovation that he sees in the future.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Supply Chain Management program.

Episode Transcript

David Dobryzkowski  0:00  
You get the opportunity to step out of your business and think about the critical problems that you're facing and innovative ways you can address those.

Matt Waller  0:11  
Excellence, professionalism, innovation and collegiality. These are the values the Sam M. Walton College of Business explores in education, business, and the lives of people we meet every day. I'm Matt Waller, Dean of the Walton College and welcome to the Be EPIC podcast. I have with me today, David Dobryzkowski, who is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He's also Director of the Master of Science Program in Supply Chain Management. And he's also President Elect of the Decision Sciences Institute. David, thank you for taking time to visit with me today. I appreciate it.

David Dobryzkowski  0:55  
Well, it's terrific to be here, Dean Waller, it's a real pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Matt Waller  0:59  
David, I want to talk about several things with you, you are doing so much in the College and making a big difference. But you're also providing lots of service to the college, but also to the discipline. And I want to talk about all that. But let's first talk about this Master of Science program that you're running.

David Dobryzkowski  1:21  
Yeah, well, thanks for that. It's a terrific opportunity. You know, we frequently talk in the hallways here about how, while the last couple of years have certainly been challenging, you know, in many, many ways, the reality is here in the Walton College, it's a very exciting time, there's a great deal of growth, both in terms of volume, say of students, right, but also in terms of variety, in terms of the programming that we're developing and offering and the innovation around that. So it's a very exciting time to be here and to be working on, on these programs. The latest, might think of it as more macro or meso level innovation, around the Masters of Science in Supply Chain Management, has been the development of an online delivery method. When we had the program approved a few years ago, we were very fortunate in that Brian Fugate, our department chair, and Brent Williams, and yourself, were visionary, to have the program approved for both face-to-face delivery, as well as fully online, 100% delivery. And we're exploiting that now. We've had substantial growth in the face-to-face program that meets five times per semester in an executive type of format. So basically, five Saturdays per semester, and you know, the students come in and have what I call events, they're not really classes, you know, we encourage the faculty to think about these Saturdays as events. How would you, you know, craft an event that would be certainly delivering, you know, important content and have an academic aspect to it, but also be very engaging, you know, through the use of whether it be guest speakers, or certainly traditional cases, but also simulations, whether they be face-to-face, or even online type of simulation. So we have these events, and in the in-between weeks, of course, then it's not like, you know, the students are left alone, unfortunately, they, you know, are provided with asynchronous and sometimes synchronous content online. So it's a pretty intense experience. But it does require that learners come to campus here in Fayetteville, five times per semester, 10 times per year, unless, of course, they take summer courses. And the program's grown, goodness, we have just been so fortunate to have a lot of support from the community and the business community specifically, to help us to promote the program to, you know, their supply chain. You know, managers, professionals, and even executives, as well as folks that are not necessarily in supply chain, a lot of career transitioners, who, you know, might be in, in marketing, or heck, we even have an attorney in the program that serves in the Office of the General Counsel for a large transportation organization that felt as though he works in the supply chain industry, he desires to know more about it. So therefore, even as an attorney, he's completing his master's in supply chain management. So we've had a lot of support. And as a result, the program has grown substantially. We had 10 students a few years ago, last year, we had over 30, that to enter the program. And it's been really strong growth. But like, you know, any program, we're limited geographically with, you know, the face to face requirement. And while it's a really rich aspect of what we offer, no doubt, the reality is, there are folks around the country that are very interested in learning more about supply chain, not only increasing their credential, but also increasing, you know, their capabilities. And that's really what our program is about. So, you know, we're very excited that this fall in August of '22, we're going to be launching a second version of the master's program, and that's going to be a 100% fully online version. This is designed for folks who might want to matriculate, and in other words, move through the program more rapidly. 99% of our learners are working. So taking a part-time approach of say two courses per semester works for them. You know, every once in a while we come across an individual who might be transitioning careers, or they might be very early career and they want to be more aggressive and how they move through the program in more of a full-time type of format. And with that face-to-face Saturday delivery method, it's a little bit difficult to make that happen. So for two reasons, we're offering an online version now, one to provide more courses so people can move through the program more rapidly, but also to increase our geographic reach. We have a lot of interest from folks, of course, in Dallas naturally, that's no surprise that the DFW market is very kind of receptive to the Razorbacks, right. So they're very interested, but also literally all around the country. And the last few years, you know, promoting the program and talking with folks. I've had people from, you know, literally all four corners.

Matt Waller  5:48  
Supply chain management is a hot topic right now. I mean, I remember for most of my career, people would hear Supply Chain Management and not know what it was, you know, now it's in the news, it seems like every hour, something about supply chain management. So I think by offering this online program, it will also allow for us to provide a service to the country. Here, we're serving a region. That's very important. And this knowledge is needed right now.

David Dobryzkowski  6:29  
Yeah, no doubt about that. That's a terrific point. And, of course, you know, the pandemic has many really unfortunate, challenging and negative, frankly, aspects of, you know, what has transpired in the last two years. But one silver lining, and sometimes it's a silver lining and a curse, right? If you ask our our learners, it is the fact that it's brought a tremendous amount of visibility to supply chain management, both around the challenges and complexities of operating a supply chain, but as well as you know, the opportunities and innovation and frankly, you know, future oriented thinking around supply chain. So it's highlighted not only the challenges, but also the progressive and, you know, very innovative aspects of supply chain, which has been very positive. So I totally agree with you. I think the opportunity to offer the program on a broader geographic scope literally anywhere, is very attractive. You know, in the last few years, we've had learners move to Northwest Arkansas to take our program from New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, I'm probably missing a few states. The reality is that's a tremendous lift to ask someone to do to pick up their family, in many cases, relocate to Northwest Arkansas. While it's a phenomenal place to live, the truth is, that's a big ask. So I think the opportunity to serve the country more broadly is going to be fantastic.

Matt Waller  7:45  
I remember when I met some of these students that had moved here from say New Jersey, for example. Some of them plan on staying, you know, I think in some of those cases, they moved here, not only for the program, but also for the lifestyle here.

David Dobryzkowski  8:03  
Yeah, well, I'm one of them, right. I mean, you know, I've been here about three years now or closing in on three years. And this is just a remarkably vibrant area, you know, of the United States to live. It's just an entire region of economic vibrance, social vibrance. It's really a fantastic place to live that's been manifested through increased population growth, right. You know, 20 years ago, I think there were around 200 or 225,000 people here. Now they're over 600,000 people, they project by 2040, we'll have 1.2 million people in Northwest Arkansas. So it's an exciting place to be there's a lot of energy and, frankly, enthusiasm for, you know, innovation.

Matt Waller  8:42  
Well, yeah. And now that it's been announced that the Cleveland Clinic is going to have a facility here, with Washington Regional Hospital funded by Alice Walton, the specialty type of care that we're going to have now will be world class. And I think that's important. And the other thing and you know a lot about health care, we have the Whole Health Institute. We also have the Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences. That will be a medical school that will have the first cohort starting in 2025. It'll truly be world class. In fact, just yesterday, I saw the renderings for the building they're going to have it's it'll be the nicest medical school building, I think in the country, but health care's growing here, entrepreneurship is growing. And then if you like outdoors, like in my case, I love canoeing, kayaking, boating, we've got a great, tremendous lake just very close to here called Beaver Lake. And I've been boating on that like for over 20 years and we've got the Buffalo River which is one of the most beautiful rivers around great places to climb, mountain biking, road biking, gravel biking, pump tracks, BMX biking, there's just so much. And then of course, the sports here, you know, a lot of times, you know, universities may have one sport they're good at. But here, you know, we've got football, basketball, baseball, track, gymnastics, softball. We win track and cross country nationally, almost every year.

David Dobryzkowski  10:24  
You're totally right about that, you know, our track program is just amazing. I want to say they have more NCAA championships probably than any other program that's largely attributable to their long standing coach that they had. It's an exciting time to be at Walton College. It's exciting time to be at the University of Arkansas, not just for, you know, academic development, but also for athletics, right. I mean, if you think about what's happened with not just the performance of the teams, but also the changes in leadership that have taken place in the last three years. They fit the culture of not just the university and our college, but the community so well. You know, think about folks like, you know, Sam Pittman, right, a real roll up your sleeves, hard workin'  type of fella that, frankly, just tells it like it is, you know, very honest and very transparent, that will tell you what things are going well. And he'll tell you what things are not going so well. And describe a plan for for improving it. Right. Same thing, of course with Muss right with Eric Musselman. And what's happened with the basketball team, just incredible improvement in performance, but also the transition in character, I think as well, it's been very positive. And you know, that translates to baseball, of course, right? Fans are disappointed because we're not ranked number one, right, this year. It's a good problem to have, you know, what do you have, I was at the game Sunday with my eight year old and I want to say I counted on the wall, something like 22 NCAA championships, out at Baum Walker stadium, there's a waiting list for season tickets, I got lucky this year, I got two, right. I wanted four season tickets, I was able to get two, right. So you're right. I mean, you know that energy from athletics brings a lot of positivity to the community and a lot of growth and attracts a lot of interest as well that I think the University and our programs can capitalize on.

Matt Waller  12:06  
Could you give me some examples of courses or topics that are covered in the Masters of Science in supply chain management?

David Dobryzkowski  12:14  
So you know, we provide a full end-to-end understanding of supply chain. You know, I was on a call a couple of weeks ago with a transportation executive with a large retailer. And he was lamenting, you know, the the pressures that he was feeling, trying to manage inbound transportation that were ultimately created by decisions that the merchants were making and releasing purchase orders, right. And I mentioned that because it really illustrates the complexity and integrated nature of supply chain management and how, you know, while you might be working in inbound, you know, DC transportation, the reality is the decisions that you make, and the decisions that your colleagues are making across the organization and across the supply chain, when you think about customers and suppliers, impact what you do on a daily basis, in not just the nature of what you do, but also your ability to perform, right. And at the end of the day. You know, let's face it, we grow in our careers because we establish positive track records of performance. So you know, if we're going to create a positive track record of performance, it requires an understanding of fully integrated end-to-end, you know, supply chain management. So we cover plan, source, make, deliver, you know, the fundamental SCOR model. And we have courses explicitly dedicated to each of those core supply chain processes, plan, source, make and deliver. But we package that around six other courses for a total of 10, three credit hour courses that you would take around, you know, fundamental courses like in supply chain analytics, of course, because you know, data is extraordinarily prevalent and sorting through data effectively and using it to improve decision making is critically important. So we offer courses in supply chain analytics and performance management, as well as what I get most excited about are not just kind of these, what I call table stakes, like a course that I teach that deals with project management and process improvement, which are two great ways to make contributions to your company and ultimately grow your career. But in addition to those kind of like core skills and competencies that you need to be successful in supply chain, we also offer cutting edge courses. This summer, for example, we're providing a course in Supply Chain Finance, you know, understanding how supply chains are financed, how the focal firm can, you know, work more closely with the buyers and maybe leverage their ability to access capital and so forth. This is a topic that really came to bear following the Great Recession, you know, in 2008 and 2010. And over the last 10 years or so, as academics we've been studying this because we realize that wow, if you're the channel captain, let's say you know, you will a lot of influence not just you know, over your, you know, supply chain but also potentially in terms of how you finance it right you can get more favorable rates than a small supplier can. So that's one course another course that we're really excited about our Supply Chain Risk and Resilience course. We're very fortunate that we're able to recruit Professor Iana Shaheen, who is a an expert in humanitarian supply chains and you know, risk and resilience around disasters. You know, what more like hot topic could you have right now in supply chain, then then developing thinking and frameworks around, you know, identifying risks, mitigating risks, and dealing with them effectively, when they arise. We also have a supply chain sustainability course, that'll be offered this summer. That's, of course, you know, increasing in importance, the sustainability used to be something that we would talk about in the hallway, maybe or with a cup of coffee. But you know, now it's something that's impacting the way businesses make decisions and the way they manage their supply chains. You can't be sustainable if your supplier is, you know, not also sustainable and working collaboratively with you. So, you know, these are just three examples of innovation, I think around the curriculum that have come to bear in the last year or so.

Matt Waller  15:57  
So, David, for those students that take the fully online program, is there any opportunity for them to meet their professors in person or to meet their classmates?

David Dobryzkowski  16:09  
Yeah, absolutely. So you know, we're really careful about this. Because, you know, one of the key drivers of providing the program online is to recognize the hectic schedules and the demands of our learners. So we don't want to put pressure on them from the perspective of having to juggle a difficult calendar, the course work is challenging, of course, and that's supposed to be that way. But you know, the delivery and how you access it shouldn't be. So we provide 100% of the content asynchronously online, which means you can do it at two o'clock in the morning, if you need to get up early and catch a flight. However, we also very much value face-to-face interactions with faculty, with your fellow students and learners, and so forth. So for the online version of the program, we're going to be offering optional meetups. Let's say we have a reasonable critical mass in DFW area, in Dallas area, we'll be doing a meet up there, which would be again, an event might have a high profile speaker probably be doing some academic work in there, probably, you know, some cases and simulations and so forth. The same thing for other markets, it might be Memphis, might be Little Rock, could be Kansas City. Wherever we see that there's a reasonable, critical mass of students who are interested in a meetup, we're gonna have meetups.

Matt Waller  17:23  
So when you think about someone wanting to transition, like, and I've seen this in my many years in academics, where sometimes people will take degree programs to pivot and you mentioned this earlier. I've seen this happen a lot, since there is a lot of need for people in supply chain management right now. And that's why the students are getting such amazing jobs, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. But what do you see as the future there? Are there specific kinds of like skills or experiences or backgrounds that would be particularly good for making a transition to supply chain?

David Dobryzkowski  18:10  
Well, I mean, that's a good point. There are maybe more common backgrounds, but I think supply chain because of the need to think at a high level in a very integrative way. And because of its complexity, and the importance to understand that complexity, and how, you know, all the dots allegedly linked together, right? You can come from a myriad of backgrounds. So we have a lot of folks who came into supply chain from, say, engineering positions and undergraduate programs. But we have people that came from poli sci that, you know, have gotten terrific jobs upon exiting the program. Heck, let's be honest, we've gotten terrific jobs during the program, right. So our learners come from a variety of backgrounds, kinesiology, I mentioned law, but we get a lot of folks, of course, out of the business disciplines who might want to pivot from marketing, you know, to supply chain rule, or from even information systems, that's also not uncommon, into a supply chain type of role. We also have folks in our program, a good number of them, who you may not think of as a supply chain professional. And the reason I say that is that many of our folks work in account management, or account executive types of roles, maybe for CPG firms that are selling into retailers, who understand that the folks they're selling into are supply chain organizations and supply chain professionals and they need to understand supply chain in order to effectively collaborate with their customer. So we have a lot of those. Think about this for a minute. It really cracks me up. I gave a talk to a group called Strategic Marketplace Initiatives two weeks ago in Orlando, I do healthcare operations and supply chain type of type of work. So I was talking to this healthcare group, about issues around healthcare supply chain and maybe how we should be thinking about the future in terms of managing resilience because right now, I could do a whole podcast on you know, the current conversation around resilience and health care. But I gave my talk and it was just a workshop. And the EVP of sales for the largest medical surgical distributor in the United States approached me and said, "David, would you be willing to come talk to 1,100 of my sales reps at our national sales meeting? Because they need to hear this message." And I said, "Well, you realize I haven't sold anything in 20 years, right? I mean, I'm not a sales guy anymore, right? I started in sales in my career." But he said, "No, no, I get it, I get it, I get it. But but my sales professionals need to hear your message. And they need to understand supply chain because they need to understand their customer. And they're selling to supply chain executives." So I think that, you know, when you consider the scope, and even this idea of pivoting, which I'm a big one to talk about career pivoting into supply chain, as I think about it, it's actually much more broad than that, right? It's easy for folks who may not be pivoting into supply chain, they may not be interested in the procurement position, they may not be interested in the CPFR, or analyst type of position, but yet these are the folks that they're dealing with, and they need to understand them better.

Matt Waller  21:05  
Well, you've had a lot of research published in top journals that relate to health care. And you know, a lot of these are journals that are pretty much focused on supply chain management and operations and all. And I know, you know, for example, you had an article published in Journal of Business Logistics this year. And it was about the global disruption of the supply chain, and the effects of the CEO, and supply chain networks on operational repurposing, which is an interesting topic. You've had things on how policy is shaping macro healthcare delivery supply chain. And you've had papers on looking at things like examining governance in hospital operations, and the effects of trust and physician employment and achieving efficiency and patient satisfaction. This is another one linking electronic medical records use to physicians performance. That's, that's an interesting topic.

David Dobryzkowski  22:16  
Well you would really find that particular paper interesting, I think, because we conceptualize physician performance in that paper, out of the literature that deals with supplier performance. And that was how we measured physician performance by measures that had been used to measure suppliers in the procurement space, from a score carding perspective, and so forth. So it was really kind of an innovative, and I guess, you know, you could even say, potentially controversial way to think about, you know, a physician's role in a hospital as a supplier of services, of course.

Matt Waller  22:48  
You teach a lot. You're very involved in decision sciences organization, you're running our master's program. How do you also stay so productive in your research? And I know, of course, I'm very familiar with your vitae. So I know your pipeline is packed.

David Dobryzkowski  23:07  
Yeah, well, not very well, it's how I feel, to be honest with you, is tremendous opportunity to do better. Because you're right, in terms of the pipeline, you know, when I, when I think about my research, I still think about my future, I don't think about my past, because I'm hoping my future is a lot brighter, than my past to be honest with you. You know, we're just so blessed and fortunate to be at a place like the Walton College where, you know, you have outstanding academic leaders that understand trying to balance the three core aspects of being an academic, you know, service, teaching, and research, of course. And this sounds like I'm really trying to flatter my leadership here, but the reality is, when you think about our leaders, we have some of the top scholars in their respective fields as deans and associate deans, and so forth. And, and that's really rare, to be very honest with you, because here you are excelling as an academic scholar, as a researcher, you're having an impact on industry, you're you're shaping best practices and informing decision making. And then you decide, well, I'm going to do this Dean thing, right? I want to go do this Associate Dean thing, and it's going to consume 50 hours of my time a week or more, right? Probably more. And that's a decision that you make, right. And that that to me, and I was telling Brian Fugate, our department chair, a few months ago, I said, I look at people like, you know, Dean Waller and Brent and Alan and Anne, of course, our Associate Deans,f as just tremendous volunteers because they're stepping out of successful faculty roles to move into a leadership role. That I mean, sure, you know, um, compensation improves I'm sure and that type of thing, but it's a tremendous undertaking that you're doing and giving up, you know, a lot of time and capacity for research. I bring this up and I just dwell on it for a minute, because it's that perspective that you bring as a top scholar, that I think trickles down through the organization, through the chairs, and ultimately to the faculty, to help them think about how to, you know, be productive, managing all aspects of what we do as faculty. From a teaching perspective, we have some of the most innovative resources that I've ever been a part of, and I've been in a few places. Brian was teasing me the other day that my longest job has been at a bowling alley when I was a teenager, you know, I've worked I worked at a bowling alley for, I think, 8 or 10 years. But anyway, so I've been around a little bit. And you know, we have Lightboard studios, and we have, you know, global campus support for online, you know, delivery, we have tools and resources that allow us to teach using cutting edge methods, and do it without killing ourselves. You know, from a time perspective. From a research perspective, we have a leading PhD program in supply chain management. And it's just been a tremendous, you know, honor, privilege to work with some of our PhD students to you know, not just shape them, but also learn from them. They know about cutting edge topics. Ofne of our PhD students right now is studying the effects of trauma on aid workers in humanitarian supply chains, and how it influences their integrated behaviors. The same is actually looking at the influence of, you know, religiosity and spirituality in NGOs, in humanitarian supply chains, and doesn't matter if, as an aid worker, I'm aligned, you know, from a religiosity perspective. Does it influence my productivity, the accuracy of my work, does it influence my integrated behaviors with others in the supply chain, so really interesting cutting edge topics. As well as healthcare, like you mentioned, I had a career in healthcare, I always say prior to my wacky PhD, right? 13 year career where I worked both on the insurance services side with recognizable companies like United Healthcare, I was the Regional Director for the Northern Ohio market, as well as providers like Bon Secours Mercy, at the time, they were just Mercy out of Cincinnati, but now Bon Secours Mercy in, you know, like strategic planning roles and, and ultimately had an opportunity to be a regional CEO with a startup that spun off of Mercy, running diagnostic imaging facilities like MRI, CT, X-ray, ultrasound. And you know, in that experience, what I learned in those 13 years was a really up close and personal understanding of the disconnects that exist in healthcare delivery. And when you think about what we do in supply chain, outside of the functional area in organization, but when you think about what we do as academics, studying the flows of information, material, and financial exchanges, those are all very uniquely executed and problematic in healthcare delivery, which is what led me to that healthcare stream that you mentioned earlier, it's been just really interesting to study that context.

Matt Waller  27:47  
So now you're President Elect of the Decision Sciences Institute, which has been around a long time.

David Dobryzkowski  27:54  
 Yeah, 1969. 

Matt Waller  27:55  
I used to go to the conferences, I haven't been for a long time. And I've read a lot of articles in there and serves as a reviewer and all kinds of things over the years. But could you speak to what is the Decision Sciences Institute? What are you going to be doing as President Elect?

David Dobryzkowski  28:14  
Yeah, well, thanks for that. This is just an enormous honor. Because it's obviously an elected position, elected by your peers, you know, so I can't understate the appreciation that I feel for the confidence that, you know, my colleagues around the world have placed in me. It's an international organization has over 2,300 members now, that that really centers on the idea of providing a forum for the creation, dissemination, and use of knowledge that ultimately is intended to improve, not just decision making for managers, but also the decisions that managers make. And that's, that's a nuanced but really kind of important distinction, you know. So we're a bunch of scholars, bunch of researchers, mostly professors, almost, you know, almost all professors, who are doing some type of research intended to either improve the decision making process, or to improve the decisions or inform the decisions that managers make so. So because of that, it's a pretty broad net, if you think about it. Other academic societies are focused more narrowly, maybe on operations management, production operations Management, or informs being more about operations research and information systems, of course, or even the academic arm of Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals is, you know, again, really well defined, but Decision Sciences Institute is very different in that it's broadly defined, and that can be a double edged sword. Honestly, it can be good and bad, right? Because in some cases, it's certainly excellent and good and beneficial in that, you know, we can work with scholars from marketing or management or accounting or finance or economics, but our roots are really in information systems and operations and supply chain management right? In the integrative nature of that. But because of that broad net, you know, sometimes it's easy to lose focus, you know, and when you have a lot of opportunities, focus is important.

Matt Waller  30:08  
When I was reading it more frequently, I think that it's still true. You see a wide variety of methodologies used, you know, you see some analytical modeling where people are just, you know, making mathematical assumptions, and then creating theorems and proving them, or lemmas. You see empirical studies where surveys are done and analyzed, you see, experiments with human subjects. You see meta analyses and literature reviews and econometric studies, just a really wide variety of methodologies used. I think that makes it challenging to find reviewers sometimes.

David Dobryzkowski  30:59  
Oh, yeah. Well, we're very fortunate and blessed in that we have a long standing history of outstanding editors, but most recently, we have two co-editors. Xenophon Koufteros who's at Texas A&M, very accomplished, prolific, primarily empirical base researcher. By the way, he's my PhD brother, which means we both have the same advisor, which is kind of nice. And Sri Talluri at Michigan State who has done research in many many methods, but has a strong understanding and familiarity with analytical methods, as you mentioned. So that lends itself very well to having strong leadership that can attract a wide variety of methodological, you know, oriented papers, but we also have, you know, crafted the journal in such a way organizing it by departments. So that when we have you know, areas where context you know, is very important like in the healthcare space, healthcare supply chains are truly different from you know, manufacturing supply chains or retail supply chains and understanding that there are some best practices that sure, we can port over directly, but there are many others that we cannot without modifying it for the context. Means that when Xen and Sri, you know, create a journal that has different departments, like for healthcare, or strategy and organization, or inter-organizational relationships, or humanitarian policy department and so forth, that now we can also widen the breadth of the subject matter that we study. So they're doing just a terrific job, there's been a major improvement in performance of the journal. Submissions have increased substantially in the last year and a half, the processing times have been reduced substantially, which is certainly good for authors, because as you know, a lot of our submitting authors are on the tenure clock, right? So time matters to them and getting a paper through the process quickly, even if it is a maybe a negative decision, even if it is reject, right?

Matt Waller  31:35  
People want to know, as quickly as possible.

David Dobryzkowski  32:51  
That's right. That's right. So there's a lot of positive things happening with our journals. And I'm kind of known for saying as go the journals, go the institute. So we're dedicating a lot of, you know, effort, energy and resource into supporting our editors, whether it be Decision Sciences Journal, our flagship journal, or whether it be Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, which is an excellent pedagogically oriented journal. As well as our Decision Sciences, Insights, which is a new kind of reshaped Decision Sciences decision line that's really geared towards easily digestible, you know, communications to both academics, but also practitioners about the research that we're doing about the cutting edge methods that we're using in the classroom and so forth.

Matt Waller  33:33  
In closing, I would like to hear your views on the future of supply chain management, and then how that affects someone's decision to go into the master's program.

David Dobryzkowski  33:46  
Yeah, well, thanks for that, you know, if we've learned anything in the last, you know, 26 months or so, right? It's that you either need to keep your prognostications very broad, or you need to qualify the heck out of them, right, because virtually nothing that I told media in March and April of 2020 happened, because it's just been such an unpredictable unstable time. So here's what I would say that we've learned. And what we're seeing in the future is that you know, supply chains and the resilience of supply chains, the ability to be adaptive of supply chains, is at a premium. However, the conversation today, andf my comments come primarily from healthcare, but even in other industries that that I study and speak with executives from. The conversation today is largely around practices that may not be effective and may not be efficient. And here's what I mean by that. A lot of high level supply chain people are talking to me about we need to keep you know more safety stock, we need to vertically integrate, you know, we need to own more of our supply chain. We need to do more multi-sourcing right to spread the risk. We need to reshore and create very small geographic regional supply chains. And these are all practices that you know would definitely improve resilience for supply chain, but they're also costly and inflexible. And we've learned over 25 years or so that they have been ineffective, in, you know, responding to rapidly changing needs of the customer and, you know, profit demands of, you know, companies and so forth. So what I would suggest is what we're gonna see in the future and my anticipation, and I can be a professor here and just throw out the word innovation, right. But instead of just leaving it there, okay, with a period, I would expand on that a little bit to say, I think you're gonna see some combination of these practices, but done in innovative ways that ultimately include what I'm thinking of as flexible capacity, you know, the ability to flex capacity in terms of volume and variety. So maybe that means repurposing operations like that Journal Business Logistics paper that Ellie Falcone and Brian Fugate allowed me to, to tag on to right. Or maybe it means using sustainable reusable materials, right, so that you can better kind of influence demand. You know, maybe it means 3D printing and innovation around how you actually manufacture products. But I think that it's going to be innovation around flexible capacity, coupled with more traditional kind of resilience methods. The bottom line is this, we need fresh thinking. And the way you get fresh thinking, is by investing in yourself or investing in your supply chain leaders, executives, managers, and professionals, to allow them to step out of the workplace or to allow yourself to step out of the workplace and working, you know, kind of in your job or in your business, and take time through a Master's of Science program to actually work on your business. And on yourself. When I did my master's degree a million years ago, I was running those MRI centers that I talked about, right? I mean, I know it was small business, but I was a C level executive. But what this gave me,f what my master's program gave me, in addition to terrific content, and in addition to a wonderful network, you know, like here, you're going to join the Walton supply chain network, which is a huge deal in terms of personal benefit, you know, that you receive. But in addition to those things, you get the opportunity to step out of your business. And think about the critical problems that you're facing and innovative ways you can address those through the projects that you're doing in class through the concepts that you're learning and developing, and through the relationships that you're building. Last spring, I was teaching a project management process improvement course. And there was a group that was presenting a new app for a large transportation company that was using it to improve driver retention and manage transactions and so forth. And at the end of the presentation, one of the other learners raised his hand and said, "you know, who can help you with that?" and the group said, "no, who?" And he said, "My company can!" He works for a large 3PL, right? So it's these types of interactions and this opportunity to step back and learn and think that can really lead to fresh thinking that we need in the supply chain moving forward.

Matt Waller  37:56  
Well, that's terrific. David, thank you so much for taking time to do this podcast interview today. I really appreciate it. 

David Dobryzkowski  38:04  
Thanks for having me, Dean Waller. It's a real privilege and terrific opportunity. Thanks for inviting me.

Matt Waller  38:09  
On behalf of the Sam M. Walton College of Business. I want to thank everyone for spending time with us for another engaging conversation. You can subscribe by going to your favorite podcast service and searching Be EPIC. B-E -E-P-I-C

Matt WallerMatthew A. Waller is the dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Sam M. Walton Leadership Chair and professor of supply chain management. He is also the host for the Be EPIC Podcast for Walton College.


Walton College's EPIC values -- Excellence, Professionalism, Innovation and Collegiality -- are the heart of Dean Waller’s podcast. Since the beginning of the series, Waller has interviewed business professionals, industry experts, CEOs and Walton College students to bring listeners first-hand accounts directly from the entrepreneurial world.


Waller is an SEC Academic Leadership Fellow and coauthor of “The Definitive Guide to Inventory Management: Principles and Strategies for the Efficient Flow of Inventory across the Supply Chain,” published by Pearson Education. He is the former co-editor-in-chief of Journal of Business Logistics. His opinion pieces have appeared in Wall Street Journal Asia and Financial Times.


Waller received an M.S. and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and a B.S.B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Missouri.

Walton College

Walton College of Business

Since its founding at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Sam M. Walton College of Business has grown to become the state's premier college of business – as well as a nationally competitive business school. Learn more...

Be Epic Podcast

We're sitting down with innovators and business mavericks to discuss strategy, leadership and entrepreneurship. The Be EPIC Podcast is hosted by Matthew Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Learn more...

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