EADA hosts a global academic conference on supply chain

15 April 2023

Ipsera Conference 1From the 2nd to the 5th of April, EADA Business School hosted the IPSERA Conference 2023 (International Purchasing and Supply Education and Research Association). This is the most important worldwide academic conference on the supply chain which brings together around 300 researchers and companies to discuss proposals to find solutions to environmental and societal challenges. The IPSERA 2023 Conference, entitled “Systemic change”, included discussion sessions on various aspects of supply chains, such as carbon footprint, inclusivity, modern slavery, systemic change, the digital sphere, public procurement, risk and resilience and stakeholder management.

The conference Chairs were Ph.D. Desirée Knoppen, Professor and Head of EADA’s Marketing, Operations and Supply, and Ph.D. Davide Luzzini, Professor and Research Dean at EADA and member of the IPSERA organising committee. According to Luzzini, “Academics can play a pivotal role in understanding how companies can provide solutions to environmental and societal challenges.” In his opinion, “a sustainable and scalable solution requires companies to help create a new ecosystem that substitutes inefficient economic and social supply chains with others that are capable of regenerating the ecosystem and ensure equality while maintaining their economic feasibility.” 

Workshops on environmental and societal challenges

On the first day, researchers and representatives from academia attended on EADA campus two interesting workshops on environmental and societal challenges regarding supply management. The first one was the Educator’s Workshop. Education is a core pillar of IPSERA and academia. There are limited descriptions of current techniques and issues in purchasing and supply management education that can provide guidance for improving education and educational outcomes, so this year's Educators' Workshop had a suite of panel discussions and presentations. The second one was the Doctoral Workshop, which proudly presented a record number of Ph.D. student presentations. We brought together 29 Ph.D. students and their expert mentors to discuss the hot topics of purchasing and supply management research. This year's doctoral workshop discussions focused on sustainability, digitalisation and analytics, and the role of these in purchasing and supply management. Other popular topics were supply chain finance and public procurement.

IPSERA Conference 2023: Opening session

Ipsera Conference 2On the second day, the IPSERA President, Ms. Donna Marshall, officially opened the conference at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra Auditorium. Ms. Marshall welcomed the attendees and told them about the title of this year’s conference -“systemic change”. The President of IPSERA highlighted the multicultural profile of researchers (almost 50 nationalities) and the increasing percentage of women (50% for the very first time). EADA was well represented at the welcome session by Professors and Chairs Desirée Knoppen and Davide Luzzini and also by Dean Jordi Díaz, who said that “sustainability is part of EADA’s DNA, both from a research and teaching perspective”. From the research point of view, Díaz highlighted the EADA’s Sustainability Hub, which was set up in 2022 with the aim to design and work on research projects about the role of companies and their stakeholders in relation to the climate emergency and its societal challenges. Apart from this, all EADA’s programmes are based on the three fundamental pillars.  Apart from this, all the EADA’s programmes are based on the three fundamental pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. “We are committed to responsible leadership -multiplier effect- and positive impact on society to contribute to a better world”, pointed out.

After the institutional speeches, Jaume Ferrer, business entrepreneur & Associate Professor at EADA, presented the project "Circular Economy Spain", whose objective is to identify opportunities in circular economy models in different business sectors and also to detect barriers to change. Mr. Ferrer insisted on the need to establish synergies among administrations, sector associations and companies. In his opinion, "circular economy models have a different importance depending on the sector; we refer to issues such as eco-design, the use of renewable resources, the recovery of materials, the extension of useful life, the business models of “servitization” or the platforms of shared consumption.”

Paper presentations and workshops

Ipsera Conference 3From the 3rd to the 5th of April there were a total of 211 paper presentations across 58 parallel sessions that took place at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra campus. These are the papers presented by EADA’s researchers:

  • Rita Maria DiFrancesco, from EADA’s Marketing, Operations and Supply Department, told us about online order fulfillment with lateral transshipment in an omnichannel environment: trading-off economic and environmental sustainability. "The challenges that need to be addressed in omnichannel fulfillment go beyond the mere economic sustainability, i.e, balancing economic and environmental sustainability.", pointed out. Besides, Difrancesco presented with Ph.D. Desirée Knoppen the paper "Linking secondary plastic suppliers and consuming companies: The role of purchasing". This paper focuses on the drivers and barriers of buying plastics in secondary markets and the role of purchasing in facilitating the link between secondary plastics suppliers and consuming companies.
  • Davide Luzzini presented the paper referred to supply network complexity. According to Mr. Luzzini, "Supply chain managers view complexity in supply chains as one of the most pressing issues, yet there is still limited understanding regarding what it is, its performance effects, and how it can be effectively managed."
  • Desirée Knoppen presented the paper "Narratives beyond growth: Implications for the purchasing and supply management domain". This paper questions the mainstream narrative about growth and globalization and confronts "green growth" and "beyond growth" solution streams to distill guidelines for purchasing and supply management (PSM).

On the last day, Ph.D. Verónica Devenin, from EADA’s Strategy, Leadership and People Department, proposed a workshop on regenerative supply chains, a concept that is currently linked to the overarching theme of the circular economy. The main objective was to discuss the development of research and practice in this area, focusing on supply chains that provide a positive benefit to the planet and society, as opposed to the traditional extractive and exploitative nature supply chain activity. This workshop was based on short academic presentations, research idea pitches, and guest speaker/s from the industry.