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KNOXVILLE—The Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration co-founded with the ESSEC Business School a groundbreaking event in the European Union (EU) supply chain community. In June the two groups hosted Europe’s first Global Supply Chain Forum for supply chain executives and academics in Paris, France.

UT Knoxville and ESSEC are two of the world’s supply chain academic powerhouses. UT Knoxville’s internationally ranked faculty members include some of the most-published academics on supply chain; ESSEC is a leading European business school and a world leader in executive education with expertise in logistics and supply chain.

“Participants from eleven countries and twenty-nine organizations came together to discuss critical supply chain issues affecting today’s global marketplace,” said Shay Scott, director of UT’s Global Supply Chain Institute. “We don’t know of any other event in Europe that has provided a similar opportunity for dialogue about doing business in today’s globalizing world.”

Participating companies in the forum included its six founding members— BearingPoint, Caterpillar, Geodis, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble—as well as other leading companies such as Air Liquide, L’Oreal, Nestle, Pfizer, Renault, Shell Oil & Gas, and Warner Music.

A predominant theme of the forum was the complexity of successfully applying supply chain principles in today’s European market.

“Many companies with a presence in the EU have operations in over twenty-five different countries, each with its own language and culture,” said Scott. “Although it is tempting to regard the EU as a single entity, companies must instead negotiate an intricate balance between globalizing and localizing their operations.”

The forum included presentations and break-out sessions on cutting-edge practices, trends, and key industry issues, plus a variety of networking events. Key discussion areas included the differences between US and EU supply chain management, the opportunities that are created when demand-generating and supply chain activities are successfully integrated, and the challenges of product distribution in an increasingly urban European environment.

“By 2030, over 80 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas, versus about 50 percent today,” said Scott. “Forum attendees were particularly concerned that current global supply chains are not scalable in this type of environment. For instance, urban environments drive increased traffic congestion and pollution, lower levels of customer service, and additional failure opportunities within a supply chain. Forum participants discussed how to successfully face these challenges while also being environmentally responsible.”

“As a supply chain professional working in Western Europe, I was positively impressed by the forum participants’ level of understanding of the global industry,” said David Jammes, the senior manager for supply chain management for Procter & Gamble Europe. “The forum’s linking of ‘real-life’ situations with academic concepts opened our minds to a broader perspective.”

Subsequent Global Supply Chain Forums will take place in North America, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. They will be held in collaboration with UT Knoxville; the ESSEC Business School in Paris and Singapore; and the Central European University (CEU) Business School in Budapest, Hungary.

“We believe collaborating with a select group of internationally renowned institutions creates a unique opportunity for each academic partner to bring its strengths, capabilities and points of view to the forum discussions,” said Ted Stank, Bruce Chair of Excellence in the UT Knoxville College of Business Administration Department of Marketing and Logistics.

To learn more about the Global Supply Chain Forum, visit http://www.theglobalsupplychainforum.com.

C O N T A C T :

Shay Scott (865-974-6110, sdscott@utk.edu)

Cindy Raines (865-974-4359, craines1@utk.edu)