Fishman-Davidson Center
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Industry Partnerships
Bringing together leading practitioners and researchers to discuss problems and opportunities for collaborative research
Consortium for Operational Excellence in Retailing (COER)

The Consortium for Operational Excellence in Retailing (COER) is a partnership between a group of leading retailers and academics from the Fishman-Davidson Center and Harvard Business School. COER began in 1997 with a grant from the Sloan Foundation to sponsor interactions with a group to 32 leading retailers around the questions of how advances in information technology would change the way retailers forecast demand and manage supply and to conduct research with individual retailers to advance the state of the art of retail supply chain management. Results of this initial study were published in M. L. Fisher, A. Raman and A. McClelland, "Rocket Science Retailing is Coming: Are Your Ready?" Harvard Business Review, July-August 2000.

COER continues today with participation from more than two dozen retailers. We continue to conduct research with member companies on supply chain issues and to hold annual conferences with retailers and academics to report results of past research and to identify emerging research issues.

Service Supply Chain Strategy Forum [Website]

A principal objective of a firm's service strategy is to enable its customers to maximize the value derived from ownership and use of the mission critical products they have purchased. This goal is supported by deployment and control of a wide range of resources required to support, maintain and repair these products in a manner that provides maximum availability or up-time of the installed base. A major component of the resource investment required to meet this goal is in the inventory of service parts that must be positioned throughout an extensive network of stocking and repair facilities. Optimal management of this service supply chain requires the firm to make a wide range of structural (design) and asset management (material flow, human resource capacity), decisions to maximize service value and revenue while minimizing operating costs and inventory investment.

Currently there is a heightened recognition of the relevance of service supply chains to support competitive performance. This new emphasis has led to the identification of customer centric service strategies that leverage off of the fact that after-sales service is a primary driver of customer satisfaction. Many companies also recognize that, under current economic conditions, customer service is their best bet for finding high margin revenue growth opportunities. The goal of forum is to work with leading manufacturers of mission-critical products and after-sales service providers to develop effective service centric strategies and to contribute to the development of decision support technologies that will enable their implementation. (A summary of these concepts is to be found in, Cohen, M., Agrawal, N., and Agrawal, V. "Delivering Customer Value Through After Sales Support of Products: The New Road to Profitability and Competitive Advantage," Harvard Business Review, May-2006).

A joint industry-research meeting to address these issues is held on an annual basis to bring together leading practitioners and researchers to discuss emerging problems and opportunities for collaborative research. Participants include leading companies in the high technology, aerospace, defense and communications industries.

Research in this area has been funded by the National Science Foundation and grants from individual companies.