Meet a Member

July 2017 

Judy Whipple

Professor of Logistics/Supply Chain Management, Michigan State University

CSCMP Service
Research Strategies Committee Chair, January 2017-present
Research Strategies Committee Member, 2010 - 2016
Marketing and Finance Chair - Annual Conference Committee, 2008
Supply Chain Innovation Award Track Co-Chair, 2016
Doctoral Dissertation Award Committee Member, 2014, 2016


Michigan State University, Ph.D. Business Administration
General Motors Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University), Bachelor of Science, Management Systems

When and why did you join CSCMP?
I joined CSCMP (then the Council of Logistics Management or CLM) in 1991. I was in my second year of the doctoral program at Michigan State University, where I had the honor of working under the supervision of Don Bowersox, one of the original founders of what is now CSCMP. CSCMP had just started an annual Doctoral Symposium which brought doctoral students and faculty together from various logistics programs, and I was nominated to attend the first Symposium. The Symposium, which is held during the Annual Conference, continues today. The ability to network and learn from other academicians as well as industry experts drew me to the organization. The content at the conference helped to inform my teaching and research so I could bring the “real world” into both areas.

How has being a CSCMP member helped you in your career?
The relationships that I have developed through my involvement in CSCMP have been instrumental in my career. I was fortunate to get connected early on with many fantastic people who were willing to share their ideas and knowledge. Often, this developed into research opportunities, including the CSCMP-sponsored research that resulted in the publication of the book World Class Logistics: The Challenge of Managing Continuous Change. I have also participated in other CSCMP sponsored research as well, including, most recently, research focused on Organizational Design for Supply Chains.

What advice would you give to new members to help them maximize their membership value?
First and foremost, attend the Annual Conference. It’s a great way to learn more about the field, take-away great ideas and innovations, and network. Also, be active in your local roundtable if possible. Finally, as the current Research Strategies Committee Chair, I would encourage members to take advantage of the various resources (e.g., Explores, State of Logistics Report, Hot Topics) that CSCMP supports and makes available to its members.

How did you get into supply chain?
Like a lot of us, I got into supply chain (logistics at the time) somewhat by accident. I selected materials logistics management as my undergraduate minor even though I really didn’t know what it was. It sounded interesting and different, and, since I was a co-op student at General Motors at the time, I had the chance to work in various aspects of supply chain, including manufacturing, expediting, materials management, and purchasing. I loved the fast paced and challenging nature of supply chain.

What are you passionate about in the supply chain field?
Given my role as an educator and the talent gap that we face as a field, I love working with students as they learn more about supply chain and its career potential. I enjoy teaching students about supply chain management at the college level, and I also participate in outreach opportunities to introduce supply chain management in the K-12 space.

What is the biggest challenge you face on the job, and how are you managing it?
Keeping up with all the innovation and emerging trends in today’s complex global supply chains is a challenge. I’m always trying to bring the most updated information into the classroom, and CSCMP resources (i.e., Annual Conference, publications, networks, etc…) help me to stay abreast of current issues and trends.

What are the biggest challenges facing the supply chain profession today?
Given the rapid pace of change in today’s global supply chains, I think the greatest challenge is how to manage this change effectively. This is even more complicated given the constant pressure on cost and service improvements, coupled with the shortage in supply chain talent.

Is there anything you’ve learned at a CSCMP conference or from a CSCMP publication that helped you solve a work-related issue?
I have co-chaired the Supply Chain Innovation Award and Annual Conference Track the past few years. The finalists, who have submitted their innovations to be considered for this award and are selected to present at the Annual Conference, have been exceptional. I have learned about new supply chain innovations and new applications of supply chain innovations from my involvement in this track.

Where do you see the future of the profession headed?
There are many new technologies that will change our profession. Whether it is the Internet of Things (IoT), which will change the information we have and how we use it, 3D printing, which will impact speed to market, or drones and autonomous vehicles, which may alter how we deliver products, our profession is on the verge of tremendous change. Supply chain will play a critical role in defining businesses of the future.

What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work and career?
I have a wonderful family that has continuously supported me throughout my career. My husband, Russ, and I love traveling with our three children. We love sports and have enjoyed watching our kids participate in soccer, basketball, football, bowling, softball, and track. Of course, we are also huge Michigan State University sports fans – GO GREEN!

What is the single most important thing you’ve learned on your career journey?
Find mentors and don’t be afraid to ask questions and/or ask for help from them – then, don’t forget to pay it forward. I have continuously been impressed with how giving supply chain professionals have been to me throughout my career. The various mentors, who have guided me, including Don Bowersox, Joe Andraski, Rick Blasgen, Bob Sabath, Pat Daugherty, and many others, were generous people who just wanted to help advance our field, while making a difference. I am indebted to all of them and I hope that I can be as instrumental in the lives of others as my mentors were in my life.

Join CSCMP today and become a part of our global supply chain management community.
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