Bruce C. Arntzen, Ph.D.

2018 NESCON Supply Chain Hall of Fame Winner

Bruce C. ArntzenThe 2018 New England Supply Chain Conference Hall of Fame Award winner is Bruce C. Arntzen, Ph.D. He has contributed in distinctly outstanding ways to the Supply Chain profession. There are nine attributes that constitute the award criteria; and Bruce fulfills each criterion in an exemplary manner. His participation as a speaker at NESCON many times was in recognition of his body of professional contributions that pre-dated the award.

He grew up in western Pennsylvania and attended Bucknell University where he received two bachelor’s degrees – a B.A. in Biology and a B.S in Civil Engineering.  Next was completion of an M.S.E. in Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins. During these years he met his future wife, but the relationship came with a “catch”: there had to be a commitment that eventually they would reside and bring up their family in the Boston area. Before that could happen, however, there was the job at The World Bank in Washington, D.C. as an Economic Analyst in the Agriculture Group where he developed and ran the Bank’s optimization and simulation models of grain reserves in developing countries. These esoteric studies were preparation for the dimensions of data analysis that would later be integral to his career progression and contribution to supply chain management as we know it today.

He spent four years at MIT working on and receiving a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, making significant contacts and being exposed to many different career opportunities. Arthur D. Little, Inc., then one of the premier business and technology consultancies in the world, beckoned. Dr. Arntzen commenced a career in operations management as a consultant focusing on distribution operations and planning, manufacturing operations, supply chain process re-engineering, and optimization and simulation modeling for which he became well known and in demand.

By the mid to late 80’s Digital Equipment Corporation, headquartered in Maynard, MA, was at its peak. Bruce joined Digital Equipment’s Corporate Distribution team as its Planning Technology Manager. In this role he helped country distribution teams and product business units reduce costs and cycle time and implement new planning processes and tools.  This is where the honoree honed the skills of the integrated supply chain as his team supported network planning, inventory management, sourcing, product management and spares and services. The honoree went on to lead Industrial Engineering and Sourcing and Capacity Planning for world-wide corporate manufacturing.

Remaining  in Boston as DEC was purchased by Compaq with headquarters elsewhere, and with executive level experience in all aspects of the supply chain, he co-founded successively two consulting firms – Global Supply Chain Associates and Avicon Partners – that were dedicated to supply chain problem-solving, supply chain transformation, operations management, industrial engineering and process-reengineering – again, the full range of functions that are encompassed in Supply Chain Management.

During these couple of decades, Bruce not only led in commercial responsibilities, but led in professional outreach. He recognized the growth value of belonging to a professional organization that would enhance professional performance . What ensued was twenty-five years on the board of the New England Chapter of CSCMP serving as President three times, Program Chairman many times, and on the Program Committee of the national CSCMP conference. Voluntary presentations at numerous industry and professional conferences including Shingo Prize, CSCMP, OMTEC and WERC were part of the outreach. Also, executive education programs at the Army Logistics Management College, MIT, Penn State, Northeastern, Univ. of North Florida, Boston University and Ohio State were taught. Essential in the body of his work was early recognition and progressive support of the interconnectivity of each of the primary supply chain facets – Procurement, Operations and Logistics. The self-proclaimed motto of the honoree was: “you can’t have one without the other”.  The Supply Chain profession as we know it today was significantly envisioned and then implemented by a consortium of advanced thought leaders that includes the Hall of Fame recipient.

But the story is not finished. Bruce then moved to influence the next generations – millennial, Z and beyond by returning to academia as the Executive Director of the MIT Supply Chain Management Program which trains managers on five different campuses around the world for futures in SCM. In this role he teaches the courses in Supply Chain Fundamentals, Global Supply Chain Management, and Leading Global Teams. But emphasis is not just in the classroom. The programs provide for exposure to the values of association with professional organizations – CSCMP and its Best Thesis Competition, APICS and its Case Competition, and ISM with its Best Poster and Supply Chain Game Competitions – that not only expose the “best of the best” to students but build cross-functional and cross-industry bridges. While working with students, he continues to add content to the advancement of the profession as a Senior Research Director of the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics.

What is most refreshing about Bruce is his continuing drive to build stronger professional organizations through streamlining engagement, adaptive mediums of information and personal interconnectivity so that future generations can appreciate and enjoy the benefits of association involvement as our honoree did and continues to develop in our behalf.

None of the honoree’s contribution could have been possible for our benefit without the early career spousal requirement that it be Boston-based. The honoree’s wife, Patricia, and his two children, Eric and Katie, share in this recognition.