Omnichannel Supply Chains: Turning Myth into Reality

Friday, May 11, 2018 - 2:30pm to 3:30pm
SDSB Faculty Lounge


Global e-commerce is a multi-trillion dollar business that is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 15 percent in the next decade. The desire to seize this growth opportunity is driving transformative structural changes in retail supply chains across the world. We will draw from the findings of a multi-year study of the U.S. retail industry to highlight key innovations in managing supply chains specifically how firms are adapting their operational strategies to execute different supply chain processes. We will focus on the notion of omnichannel capability that is driving so much discussion in the academic and practitioners’ circles these days. Development of this capability requires an alignment of the physical (store-based) and virtual (online and mobile) channels through coordination of order management, fulfillment, and logistics processes. This seminar will highlight principles underlying the transformative change and focus on how firms can respond to the e-commerce challenge and which novel operational strategies can be employed to develop a competitive edge. We will explore a key relevant question: Are there underlying patterns in customer needs and service expectations that would help us understand the rationale for structural changes occurring in retail supply chains? We will associate such patterns and corresponding adjustments in firms’ strategies to identify shifting norms in traditional supply chain management. The seminar will also reflect on the findings from a research study of more than 50 retail firms to explore operational attributes of firms’ supply chain structures that employ different fulfillment configurations and order delivery services. The seminar discussions will show that there are particular organizational attributes, such as online sales, size of distribution network, and length of service engagement as having strong associations with a particular omnichannel capability. We will also address key trends and on-the-horizon issues that will shape the contours of the modern retail supply chains in the near future.

Speaker's Profile:

Dr. Ishfaq's research is focused on exploring the interplay between operational and service issues in retail supply chains. His research studies adapt analytical models in an empirical framework to explore the effects of managerial decisions on firm performance. He often uses multi-method approaches built on econometric and empirical techniques for exploring
primary and secondary data to quantify the value of supply chain decisions. His research broadly addresses issues related to the strategic planning of logistics operations and the efficient use of resources within supply chain networks. One of his key research areas is order fulfillment and delivery services in omnichannel retail. Dr. Ishfaq's research has also addressed operational and logistical issues in other industries as well, including healthcare, energy, automotive, and information technology.

The findings of his research studies have been published in scholarly journals including: Decision Sciences, IIE Transactions, European Journal of Operational Research, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, International Journal of Logistics Management, Omega, Supply Chain Quarterly, Transportation Research (E), Journal of Operational Research Society, International Journal of Logistics Research, Journal of Transportation Research Forum, Computers & Operations Research, and Information Resource Management Journal.

Dr. Ishfaq's research has received the Association of European Operational Research Societies' "Best EJOR Research Paper Award," and "Emerald Literati Award for Research Excellence" from the International Journal of Logistics Management. His research has appeared in Science Direct's "Top-25 Hottest Articles" list in multiple years and received coverage from print and electronic media: NBC-38, WTVM9-ABC, YouTube, DCVelocity, RetailWire, Beyond Auburn, and Harbert Magazine.

Auburn University has recognized the scholarly contributions of Dr. Ishfaq by awarding W. Allen Reed Endowed Professorship in Supply Chain Management. Dr. Ishfaq has also received "Outstanding Researcher Award," "Recognition in Research Award," and "Outstanding Teaching Award" from Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.

Dr. Ishfaq has been teaching full-time for over twelve years in the field of supply chain and operation management. Prior to his academic career, he worked in industry for close to a decade, holding management positions in Production Operations and Supply Management. He is member of professional organizations, including Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) and Decision Sciences Institute (DSI). He routinely presents his research findings at international academic conferences, industry seminars, and corporate board meetings. Dr. Ishfaq provides consulting services to multiple manufacturing, wholesale-distribution and retail firms. He also serves on corporate executive boards including FedEx Corporation.