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Gregory DeYong Talks Research

September 25, 2017, Franchesca Alejo

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Gregory DeYong, SIU assistant professor of operations management, was recently featured in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management for his work on copycat products in the fashion and technology industries. Co-authored by Hubert Pun, assistant professor and doctoral program coordinator at Western University of London, Ontario, the published article is entitled “Competing with Copycats When Customers are Strategic.”

The published article discusses how DeYong and Pun used game theory in their research to provide and explain three options manufacturers have when dealing with copycat products. DeYong spoke to us about the experiences that led to his research and the special value SIU offers students as a research-focused institution.

DeYong began his professional career as a chemist. After discovering an interest in business, he decided to pursue his MBA at Iowa State University. His business career began at Pure Fishing in 1995 as a systems analyst and he was subsequently promoted to factory director. It was there that he received his first exposure to copycats in manufacturing. Unhappy customers would frequently mail in counterfeit products they mistook for the originals.

“We used to laugh at the counterfeit products because they were often of such bad quality,” DeYong said.

With the support of his wife, Penny, DeYong completed his doctorate. in 2010 at Indiana University. He then taught at the University of Michigan-Flint before joining SIU in 2013.

DeYong has published numerous research articles and presented at various conferences throughout his career. He was awarded the College of Business Outstanding Researcher of the Year Award for 2016 and 2017.

Speaking about his process for researching a topic, DeYong said he first looks for a problem that is interesting, widespread and has significant financial consequences or potentially bad outcomes. Then he strives to find out how widespread the problem is through some kind of affirmation. For example, with regard to his recent publication, he studied how often a well-known clothing retailer was getting sued for copying designers. Finally, DeYong finds a mathematical model that applies to the problem so that he may expand or improve upon an established framework.

While the research itself may be completed and the article written within a relatively short amount of time, the process for publication can be lengthier, depending on the publishing journal. This particular article took 18 months from inception to publication, while others may take from six months to two years. When asked what he feels when an article is accepted for publication DeYong said simply, “Relief.”

He also noted that by the time he gets the problem he is researching solved and understands his research topic, he already sees three or four new topics to look into and consider as future potential research areas. 

In fact, DeYong has just submitted a paper on product scheduling problems for publication and plans to continue researching this topic.   

He also stressed that SIU offers many opportunities for students and staff to learn through personal engagement in research. Research affords people the ability to stay current and understand what is happening or will happen in a particular field. SIU is unique in that it allows undergraduate students to engage in hands-on research. Faculty members are also encouraged, and at times, required to participate in research.

“It takes 10 years for research to get into textbooks. If you just learn from textbooks, you’re already starting off 10 years behind,” DeYong said.

He encourages all students to, “Take advantage of this special benefit SIU offers and reach out to a professor and get involved in the research they are doing.”

DeYong appreciates how researching allows him to stay current on topics of interest. He recalls his experiences from Pure Fishing to connect current practices with real scenarios in his classes. He hopes that his students, “Learn how to use Excel, learn that life is too short to work with people you don’t trust and learn how to make good decisions.”

The father of four and a recreational golfer, DeYong’s advice for all students is, “When you choose a field, make sure you enjoy it so you can truly commit to it.”