Scott draws on his experience in industry to instill his supply chain management students with practical, applicable knowledge.
When Alex Scott joined the Haslam College of Business, he brought a decade of supply chain industry experience. Before coming to Haslam, he worked with a large transportation company, a large third-party logistics provider and an international consulting firm where he consulted in many industries and countries. As assistant professor of supply chain management and Joseph Frye Faculty Fellow, he uses his understanding of the industry to inform his teaching and research.
“I like to bring the real-world stuff to the classroom,” Scott says. “I think that helps the academic side of things. Whether I’m considering research or the classroom, I’m looking for the practical component.”
Scott studies supply chain policy, transportation safety and market dynamics and buyer-supplier governance structures. His recently published research topics include self-reporting biases, electronic logging device policy and COVID-19 effects in the industry.
Scott’s newest research interest is sustainability, specifically public policy surrounding sustainability and transportation. He currently has a paper under review exploring SmartWay, a program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created to help the freight transportation sector improve supply chain efficiency. For the paper, Scott partnered with a large company to form a unique data set to understand sources of emissions. Identifying these sources could increase efficiency and contribute to sustainability.
Noting that research on sustainability will provide practical, important information for the industry, Scott says, “Sustainability is an open area in research right now. Supply chain is a big source of emissions. Everything we own was at some point touched by a truck. Understanding that is important.”
In his logistics management course, Scott uses his experience and research findings to provide practical knowledge. He often encourages students to share their own internship experiences as they pertain to class topics.
“These conversations bring that experience into the classroom and show the direct application,” says Scott.
He also asks students to present a current event in supply chain, detailing what it is and its impact. His recent class investigated electric vehicles, COVID-19 and mergers in the railroad industry and presented their findings. The presentations allow students to practice both presentation skills and using supply chain language.
“It’s so important for them to become comfortable using words specific to the industry,” Scott says. “I want my students to leave prepared and ready to hit the ground running.”
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