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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Father and son business professors publish second book

A family collaboration has resulted in the publication of a second book, this one on supply chain management.

William "Rick" Crandall

William "Rick" Crandall

Richard Crandall

Richard Crandall

Black Line

Dr. Richard E. Crandall of the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University, his son Dr. William ‘Rick’ Crandall of the School of Business at UNC Pembroke and their colleague Dr. Charlie Chen, also at ASU, are co-authors of “Principles of Supply Chain Management,” published this summer by CRC Press, a division of Taylor and Francis Group.

“We wrote the book for practitioners — those involved in purchasing, logistics, distribution, manufacturing or any other part of the supply chain — but the book also has applications as college textbook,” Dr. Richard Crandall said. “Most books focus on the individual functions of a supply chain. We tried to look at all of the pieces of the supply chain and how they fit together.”

Supply chain management is the process that gets a product to the customer, from procuring raw materials to manufacturing, distribution and retailing. The term was coined in the early 1980s.

Supply chains have been around since traders traveled the Silk Road to procure products for the European market.

“However, in recent years as we have expanded to other countries through globalization, the supply chain has evolved into a longer, more complex mechanism, and it is also more susceptible to disruption,” Dr. Richard Crandall said.

In 2008, the Crandalls co-authored “New Methods of Competing in the Global Marketplace: Critical Success Factors from Service and Manufacturing.”

Book CoverUNCP’s Dr. Rick Crandall and his co-author and father, Dr. Richard E. Crandall, bring different business backgrounds to their subject while sharing a unique bond.

“My father is a pretty amazing guy who teaches full time,” Dr. Rick Crandall said. “We get along really well, and I respect him a lot.”

Even in his teen years, Dr. Rick Crandall said father and son got along. As professionals, they are expanding the relationship into a new realm.

 “We both enjoy this aspect of our jobs and have written several journal articles together as well,” Dr. Rick Crandall said. “Because we both teach in business at different institutions, it is easy to find common overlap in our academic areas.”

The team came from different backgrounds to academia. Dr. Richard Crandall was an industrial engineer and business owner before earning a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.  

Dr. Rick Crandall’s background was in the restaurant business and contract food service management. He received his Ph.D. in his mid-30s from the University of Memphis.  

“I got mine in 1992, and dad in 1993, so there was a time when we were both doctoral students at the same time,” he said. “Dad is the epitome of a life long learner — always reading and thinking of new projects to do.”

The increasing complexity of global supply chain management captured the Crandalls’ interest. As businesses have globalized and sought more efficient control over inventory, there is wider interest in the field in recent years.

The book outlines characteristics of an effective supply chain and movement to a more integrated supply chain, a process that includes the flow of goods and flow of information and funds through interconnected businesses.

In years past, businesses often used vertical integration to directly control many steps in the manufacturing and distribution of products. An illustration of this is a clothing manufacturer who owns the farms from which cotton is harvested, the manufacturing facilities that turn the raw product into cloth and clothing, and the distribution centers that move the finished goods to its own retail stores.

Rather than being part of one company, supply chains today are more likely comprised of many individual companies that are focused around products.

“As a result of that, you have to have communication, cooperation and collaboration between companies,” Richard Crandall said. “Some companies, like a major retailer, can have hundreds of different supply chains. It’s a very complex process to get all of the pieces to fit together, such as product concept, company culture and organizational structure and outsourcing.”

There can also be social and political considerations to take into consideration when a company enters a particular supply chain.

For example, “one of the huge dilemmas that companies face is how much to outsource and how much to produce in-house,” Dr. Richard Crandall said. “Too much outsourcing, particularly to foreign companies, can cause public relations problems for the company as local jobs are usually lost in the process. On the other hand, producing the product in-house may drive the cost of the product up, which makes it less attractive to consumers.

“One of the real difficulties in an integrated supply chain is establishing trust between companies,” he continued. “Trust is necessary because companies often need to exchange confidential information about themselves to the other company. A supply chain will be stronger if everyone collaborates.”

The Crandalls are presently at work on a third book, “How Management Programs solve Operational Problems,” which will be available through Information Age Publishing in 2011.

Appalachian State University contributed to this article.

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