Business faculty Brian Atwater and Paul Pittman debut supply chain dictionary amid industry honors

10th November 2016
Brian Atwater and Paul Pittman with their dictionary

IU Southeast School of Business faculty Brian Atwater (l) and Paul Pittman (r) roll out the new APICS Dictionary at the APICS 2016 Conference in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of APICS.

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—It has been a busy couple of months for IU Southeast School of Business faculty Brian Atwater, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management and Paul Pittman, professor of operations management.

On Sept. 24, the longtime colleagues and collaborators rolled out their magnum opus, the 15th edition of the APICS dictionary, at the APICS 2016 conference in Washington, D.C.

APICS is the largest industry organization for supply chain management professionals. The conference brought together more than 2,000 members of this sector from more than 50 countries. Conferees heard from industry leaders, networked with other professionals and learned best practices to create more sustainable, strategic and value-driven value chains.

The dictionary represents a singular achievement, updating the industry’s common terminology and idea base in a period of rapid growth and intense change. A new edition is presented every three years as a benefit to members, and functions as an irrefutable guideline for all aspects of the industry. Acclaim was immediate, with mention of the release in all APICS conference publications and before every plenary session. Small wonder that Atwater and Pittman spent a fair amount of time autographing copies.

“With almost 5,000 definitions and the need to integrate almost 500 new terms for two new international certification exams, we had to tap into what we knew as subject matter experts as well as do research on new terminology and concepts to make sure we got it right,” Atwater said. “The dictionary is the number-one reference for our profession internationally, so how definitions are worded and understood universally by users all around the world was essential.”

The debut of the dictionary followed a special recognition of Atwater and Pittman’s contribution to the advancement of the industry from the Falls Cities chapter of APICS, presented by Kerry Cecil, chapter president, at IU Southeast.

“As one of the oldest APICS chapters in the U.S., we are focused on education and bringing young professionals into the industry of supply chain management,” Cecil said. “We have decided to recognize Paul Pittman and Brian Atwater for their contributions to furthering education and connecting students with APICS.”

According to Cecil, in addition to time, effort, attention and involvement, those contributions include helping students understand how professional organizations like APICS can help them, as well as how to network and gain access to useful career resources. They also include providing an expanded view of what the field is all about.

“Education is important in understanding that supply chain management isn’t just about creating and shipping things anymore,” Cecil said. “There is a lot of gain to be had from analytics and other technology to enhance elements of the supply chain.”

In accepting the award, Atwater and Pittman paid tribute to APICS and the collaborative spirit of the Falls Cities chapter.

“This is a real honor because these are regional practitioners and consultants in our profession that have recognized the importance of the partnership and involvement of IU Southeast supply chain management majors and faculty with the Falls Cities chapter,” Atwater said.

Homepage photo: From left, Paul Pittman, David Eplion, dean of the School of Business, Brian Atwater and Kerry Cecil, president of the Falls Cities chapter of APICS.

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