Practice What You Teach
October 16, 2014,
Gregory DeYong, PhD, Assistant
Professor of Management
An assistant professor of operations management, Gregory DeYong teaches undergraduate, master’s, and PhD classes and conducts scholarly research on scheduling, purchasing, and other aspects of supply chain management. However, this is a relatively new role for him—not too long ago, DeYong was first a purchasing manager and then factory director for a fishing tackle producer.
“As factory director, I was responsible for all aspects of fishing line manufacturing at our domestic facility. This was a focused-factory situation, so my team encompassed purchasing and scheduling, floor supervision, quality control, process and chemical engineering, and material handling,” he says. “APICS resources helped me lead the team to higher productivity and successfully [complete the] integration of two acquisitions.”
DeYong joined APICS in 2000, at which point he and his team were responsible for scheduling US products manufactured at their own plants around the world and purchasing products manufactured by overseas vendors. In addition, he had just finished spending a year on his company’s SAP installation team. “With the transition to SAP, we needed to update our processes and systems to take advantage of the product’s sophistication,” he says. “APICS was a good resource to help us refine our skills.”
Today, it’s still very important to DeYong to keep up with current business trends and innovations. He uses APICS resources—particularly seminars and publications—to meet, work with, and learn from people who are practicing in the real world the very supply chain and operations management concepts he now teaches in school.
“I often turn to APICS magazine to stay in touch with what is important to practitioners,” he explains. “I find the feature articles to be a good resource to identify the current trends; whereas, the regular departments often identify issues that are important to both companies and students.”
For example, he says he recently flagged an “Ask APICS” article about choosing the right business school and the importance of enterprise resources planning systems in the curriculum; an “Executive View” that discussed company-sponsored learning; a feature story on sourcing, which he says gave him “food for thought for future research projects”; and, lastly, a feature on big data that was particularly interesting to him as an educator trying to determine how to incorporate data analysis into both the curriculum and his own research.
Promoting learning opportunities
DeYong is also involved with his local APICS chapter and has served as vice president of education. He says this was a great opportunity to network with peers and learn more about supply chain management through APICS educational activities. “I also volunteered on a subcommittee working to improve the experience of student members,” he notes. “We evaluated the structure of student chapters and developed an action plan to make the APICS student membership more accessible and more meaningful.”
This subcommittee position turned out to be very useful for his current job at Southern Illinois University, as it gave him a thorough understanding of all that APICS offers to students. This, in turn, makes him highly effective at encouraging participation and membership. “I want to help my students further their careers [and] be more proactive in pursuing certification,” he says, adding, “I certainly feel certification would have helped me during my corporate career.”
In fact, DeYong wishes he had been certified when he worked in industry, so he is making up for that now by earning his Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation. “I have set a goal to become CPIM certified in 2014,” he says. “I hope to inspire my students [and] be in a better position to mentor them to pursue certification themselves … The skills and knowledge associated with CPIM certification are extremely valuable to firms. Pursuing APICS certification can only improve a student’s ultimate job search.”