I began my career with Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) in retail management. During my three years working for the company, I rapidly gained additional responsibilities through leveraging academic knowledge to solve retail marketing and logistics problems. My experiences in turning around struggling stores and helping to open new ones gave me a lasting impression on persistent problems with regard to retail supply chains. Many of much current research interests are direct manifestations of these issues.
A defining moment for me during my professional experience is when I noticed that despite my highly accurate on-hand inventory status, orders generated by my system and placed with our warehouse frequently indicated that the warehouse was out-of-stock on many individual SKUs. Although I did not know this at the time, but what I experienced was actually the outcome of demand variance amplification upstream along the retail supply chain, otherwise known as the bullwhip effect. As frustrations mounted, I saw limitations of the extent to which I may influence factors such as inventory accuracy and in-stock level, promotional execution, supplier collaboration, and ultimately bottom line profitability. As a result, I have decided to indulge myself to study these issues in depth by returning to academia. Specifically, several central questions permeate my research interests:
- Beyond maintaining high inventory accuracy, how can in-stock status be systematically improved in a retail supply chain?
- How to gain control over demand uncertainties from factors exogenous to historical demand?
- Why do some suppliers actively, openly, and happily collaborate with stores and others do not? What is the impact on retail operations?
- Do consumers view corporate social responsibility as a vital dimension applicable to all retailers, categories, brands, and products? And what are the implications for the entire supply chain?
Outside of the office and the classroom, I enjoy sports, working out, music, and independent/foreign films. In particular, I have had the pleasure in the past to be a member of the media to cover Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets games for a local Chinese newspaper. During that time, I became acquainted Wang Zhizhi, the first Chinese basketball player in the NBA, and have had the pleasure of translating for him after games during his earliest days as a member of the Mavericks. I have also had the pleasure of meeting Yao Ming, the number 1 overall draft pick of the Houston Rockets in 2002. Along with meeting almost half of the players in the NBA, my experiences as a sports writer made me a life time fan.