In Search of Supply Chain Thought Leaders

One of the methods that bloggers use to develop the story ideas is to check out questions people ask on social networks then try to provide the constructive answers. Recently, I stumbled upon an interesting question on Quora"Who are some of the thought leaders in supply chain world?".

What is the "Thought Leader" anyway? The article by Forbes says that it's someone who have the ideas deserve attention. Two questions arise, how to identify the thought leaders and where to find them?

Literature Review
There are 3 major pieces of works covering the search of the thought leaders in logistics and supply chain management. The first article is named "A Social Network Analysis of the Journal of Supply Chain Management: Knowledge Generation, Knowledge Diffusion and Thought Leadership" from Carter et al 2007. In side nutshell, they extracted the articles from the first 40 years of Journal of Supply Chain Management (JSCM). Then, they tracked various aspects of citation including number of citations each author got, citations from different fields of studies, citations within JSCM and citations by author's academic affiliation. The assumption was that the thought leaders should have high article counts and citation counts within JSCM.

The second article is named "Benchmarking Individual Publication Productivity in Logistics" from Coleman et al 2012. They extracted about 3,300 articles from 7 logistics/supply chain journals from 1990-2009. Evaluation was done through a citation analysis also. Key metrics were article counts, citation counts and h-indexes. The implication is that newly published articles has tendency to get less citation counts then it's quite difficult for new researchers to be recognized as the thought leaders.

The last article is  named "An Analysis of the Value of Supply Chain Management Periodicals for Teaching, Research, and Outreach Purposes" from Menachof et al 2007 . They conduct an international survey about supply chain management periodicals. They evaluated 25 periodicals based on 3 usefulness criteria, namely,research, in-class teaching and training/professional development.

Data Collection Method
Based on previous literature, it appears that searching the thought leaders from some publications with simple citation analysis suffice. Therefore, this study will try to find the thought leader via simple data collection method. Harvard Business Review (HBR) and MIT Sloan Management Review (MIT SMR) are selected as the data source due to sound editorial guidelines and usefulness to practitioners. Article count will be used as a primary metric. The following section will show how I perform data collection.

1. I run broad search query on Google Scholar within one publication (HBR) as below,

2. After that, each article are be examined if it's really related to supply chain management.

3. The names of authors are collected.

4. Second query is performed on a standard Google search to uncover more articles and blog posts. Broad query is also used the same way.

5. The names of the authors are collected.

6. Repeat step 1-5 for MIT SMR through both Google Scholar and standard Google Search.

7. Only the articles from 2002-2012 are considered under this analysis.

8. To avoid potential bias, Harvard's professors who appear on HBR are not included. The same fashion is also applied to MIT's professors who appear on MIT SMR.

9. Only the first author is credited. Each author is then ranked by article count.

10. Previous track record of each author is also taken into account for authors with the equal article count.

The result of the Ultimate Supply Chain Thought Leaders in alphabetical order together with the author's affiliation and the sample of articles are as below,

David Simchi-Levi - Professor at MIT - It's Time to Bring Manufacturing Back to the U.S.

Hau Lee - Professor at Stanford University - The Triple-A Supply Chain

Marshall Fisher - Professor at University of Pennsylvania - Which Products Should You Stock?

Paul Ditmann - Professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville - Supply Chain Risk: It's Time to Measure It

Remko van Hoek - Global Procurement Director a PwC and Visiting Professor at Cranfield University - Growing by Cutting SKUs at Clorox

Reuben Slone - SVP at Walgreens (previously VP at Whirlpool Corporation) - Are You the Weakest Link in Your Company's Supply Chain

Robert Trent - Professor at Lehigh University - Archieving Excellence in Global Sourcing

Sunil Chopra - Professor at Northwestern University - Managing Risk to Avoid Supply-Chain Break Down

Thomas Choi - Professor at Arizona State University - Don't Let Your Supply Chain Control Your Business

Yossi Sheffi - Professor at MIT - Building the Resilient Supply Chain

Concluding Remark
This article demonstrates how a simple question can be answered through a research. Anyway, there are so many other thought leaders not mentioned here so you can send comment/suggestion.