Emma Fermier, MBA student and Dr. Jim Kling, presented their research at the CSCMP Conference in Nashville, TN

Emma Fermier, an MBA student and Dr. Jim Kling, associate professor of supply chain management attended the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional's (CSCMP) 2018 Academic Research Symposium conference on Sept 30 in Nashville, TN. This conference is held in conjunction with the CSCMP’s annual conference, EDGE.

Dr. Kling presented a paper co-authored with Dr. Todd Inouye, assistant professor of management, “Increasing Ethical Awareness in Supply Chain Management using Experiential Learning: Role Play Negotiations in an International Coffee Supply Chain”.  They developed a role-play exercise designed to increase understanding of ethics in supply chain management. In the business capstone course, students negotiated prices between five levels of an international coffee supply chain: farmers, processors, importers, roasters, and retailers. Using results from different class sections, the negotiation role-play game was deemed successful in achieving higher levels of supply chain understanding and ethical attitudes based on controlled pre and post-tests.   In this paper, the authors introduce the concept of bounded ethicality and how it was incorporated into the role-play scenario and testing. While statistically significant results are discussed, the authors also generalize about the advantages and challenges of this type of experiential education.

Fermier, who is completing her MBA with a concentration in Global Business & Supply Chain, began researching her topic “The Effects of E-commerce on Retail Inventory” while she was working on her Honors thesis during her senior undergraduate year at Niagara. The title was later changed to “What Caused the Inventory to Sales Ratio Bubble in 2015-2016?” The research was a joint effort between Fermier and her thesis advisor, Dr. James Kling. Fermier advised, “We were thankfully able to conduct further research for this presentation with the help of Dr. Victor Pimentel, assistant professor of management operations. The focus of the research surrounded how e-commerce has played a major role in shaping the way retailers are managing their inventories. We conducted a case study on the clothing industry, focusing on the recent surge of store closings occurring throughout the United States. We also looked at how the automotive industry, which has not been heavily affected by online sales, influenced the inventory to sales ratios for the retail industry overall.”

Kling explained the benefits of a student pushing further with their research into an academic style presentation, “In recognition of quality work in honors thesis, I’ve recently worked with a few honor students to get them published or presenting their work at a national conference. Mostly for students to gain confidence in presenting in this type of field and it’s also nice for Niagara to receive the national recognition.”

Fermier described her experience presenting at the conference as, “truly a rewarding experience. Not only did it prove that the research I conducted was relevant, but also that it was interesting to professionals in my field of study. Though I was only there for one day of the conference, I was able to attend multiple presentations along with another poster session. There were numerous opportunities to network throughout the day. My poster session was 45 minutes and I presented along fellow Supply Chain students, most of whom were Ph. D. candidates. It was satisfying to be able to share my research with others and get my name out amongst business professionals. In addition, of course this was an excellent accomplishment to place on my resume.”

Kling added how, “It was great to see the transformation of Emma, from nervous anticipation of presenting to blossoming with confidence, with well prepared and engaged responses to questions including speaking with Tony Poidomani, CFO of CSCMP.”

Fermier plans on graduating this December and in January, will begin a full-time position with Ascena Retail Group in Columbus, Ohio, as a Procurement Analyst.  Fermier advised that, “I became interested in supply chain after my undergraduate advisor, Dr. Ann Rensel, suggested that it would be a good fit based on my interests and skillset. I was quite grateful for the suggestion and her guidance.”

Special thanks to the Provost Dr. Timothy Ireland, Dean Mark Frascatore and the Niagara Center for Supply Chain Excellence for covering the cost of Emma’s airfare, hotel and registration fee to attend and present at the conference.


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