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New! Brief Interviews with Faculty and the Thought Leader Series

We are starting a new series to showcase Smeal faculty whose research and/or teaching advances the theory and practice of sustainable business. It is a great pleasure and honor to interview faculty from every department who are involved with companies and organizations around the world.

First up this week is Daniel Guide, Smeal Chaired Professor of Operations & Supply Chain Management.

Can you describe your teaching and/or research responsibilities at Smeal?

In the Spring Semester I offer an undergraduate elective SCM 497 Building Sustainable Supply Chains. My research is focused on helping design and manage industrial systems that are environmentally and economically sustainable.

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Specifically, I've spent the majority of my career on how closed-loop supply chains work and ways to make them work more effectively. These systems promote the reuse of products via remanufacturing. I've also looked at what drives consumer perceptions of remanufactured products (with Meg Meloy in Marketing and my former PhD student James Abbey now at Texas A&M).

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

While I was a doctoral student I was working on more effective production and planning control system for remanufacturing jet turbine engines for the US Navy. I found almost nothing had been reported in the academic literature, despite the size of the market.

Shortly after completing my doctorate, I was asked to be the academic liaison for an industry group focused on remanufacturing. There were over 400 companies in the group and I was given unlimited access to managers and executives. So almost all my work has been driven by relevant industrial problems with a strong connection to sustainability.

Describe your research/area of expertise and why it matters to business and the marketplace? I work on a wide variety of problems within the very broad area of closed-loop supply chains. This includes interdisciplinary problems with faculty in marketing, management, and accounting. I take all my research problems from interactions with managers and executives.

An example is work I did with Hewlett-Packard that led to a variety of research and practitioner publications. I worked with Hewlett-Packard on the problem of consumer convenience returns and how to design a reverse supply chain to maximize profits. HP was handling 50,000 returned ink jet printers per month and the reverse supply chain was designed to minimize costs. We found the design driver to be the marginal value of time - the printers lost value very quickly. We redesigned their reverse supply chain to focus on speed by moving to a responsive, decentralized system.

More recently, I spent 5 years working with the high speed imaging group at Xerox. Xerox moved to a servicizing business model where the imaging units are designed for multiple product lifecycles. This business model is not well understood and there were many business practices developed for companies who use a single use design that do not work well in a multi-product lifecycle business model.

"I think research in business schools should focus on relevant industry-driven problems. Business created the current sustainability problems we are struggling with and I think business can be leader in providing solutions."

And finally, how should others learn more about you and your area of expertise?

My personal webpage is a good place to start (although I will admit that I don't update it as often as I should). My Google Scholar is also a good place to go.

I am always happy to talk to people who are interested in this area. An email is the fastest way to start a dialog (dguide [at]

More faculty thought leaders coming each week...