Susan Purdum

Color portrait of Susan Purdum

Associate Teaching Professor

Department Supply Chain & Information Systems
Office Address 471 Business Building
Phone Number 814-865-7789
Email Address

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As a teaching professor in supply chain management, my passion is to prepare students for a challenging, yet rewarding career in supply chain through business application, scenario planning, problem analysis tools, and adopting an end-to-end systems perspective.

Prior to teaching, I served Penn State’s Center for Supply Chain Research (CSCR) in applied research, corporate outreach, and executive education.

Prior to Penn State, my industry career spanned 20 years with Avery Dennison Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, and The Hershey Company working at manufacturing sites or co-located at customer's.


Trading partner collaboration, supplier qualification and development, new product development and introduction, business process simplification and design for manufacturability.


MBA, General Management, University Of Massachusetts, 1988

BS, Industrial Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1980

Courses Taught

SCM 301 – Sup Chn Mgt (3)
Management of logistics/supply chain processes. Not available to baccalaureate business students in Smeal. Not available to baccalaureate business students in Smeal.

SCM 406 – Strat Proc (3)
Analysis of strategic procurement in the supply chain. SCM 406 Strategic Procurement (3) SCM 406 provides an in-depth analysis of the procurement process and supplier management, with strong emphasis placed on managing a supplier base for both products and services. Elements examined include the strategic role of procurement in supply chains, the identification and evaluation of requirements, the strategic make-versus-buy decision, how to identify, evaluate, and select potential suppliers and conduct a post-purchase evaluation; and the impact of information technology on strategic procurement. Both theoretical and quantitative perspectives will be offered. In addition, the topics will be addressed from strategic, financial, and global perspectives. In light of these perspectives, the course objectives are to develop a comprehensive understanding of: (1) the supplier selection and evaluation process (2) the relationship between product design and the supplier base (3) the types of relationships that exist between buyers and sellers (4) the impact of information technology on strategic purchasing and supply management. Students will also develop skills in using quantitative tools to select and evaluate suppliers. This is the third of three prescribed foundation courses in the Supply Chain and Information Systems major.

SCM 860 – Sc Transform (4)
Strategic supply chain transformation and innovation with emphasis on (re)configuration of key capabilities to achieve competitive advantages. SCM 860 Supply Chain Transformation and Innovation (4) This course focuses on strategic supply chain transformation, innovation, and organizational change. The course examines current issues and best practices with respect to supply chain strategy; value creation through design and redesign of supply chain capabilities; transformational outsourcing; supply chain role in new product design, development, and market introduction; technology adoption; and change management. Supply chain transformation initiatives offer firms great potential for improving profitability and competitive positioning, both within the market and within the supply chain. Because sustainable competitive advantage is not found in one set of supply chain capabilities, strategic transformations must constantly assemble and reassemble the key capabilities that give the firm and its supply chain successive temporary advantages. This assembling or redesigning of capabilities chains should be an on-going process as the most significant value producing capabilities in any given industry change over time. The ability to consistently assemble the set of capabilities that produce competitive advantages is what some refer to as the ultimate core capability.After completing this course, students should have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to:1. Articulate the meaning of competitive strategy in the context of transformation of supply chain capabilities chains. 2. Understand value creation through transformation of supply chain capabilities over time. 3. Identify the supply chain structure that is appropriate for various business situations 4. Examine the development of essential elements of rapid response supply chain capabilities 5. Understand the conditions under which functional activities, such as, manufacturing, product design, and new concept development, are amenable to outsourcing 6. Assess operational and strategic challenges of vertical integration and outsourcing and in particular, highlight the nature of the strategic tension created by supplier decisions to integrate vertically into capabilities previously performed by critical customers 7. Articulate the role of supply chain transformation in support of new product development 8. Identify ways to organize and lead change in organizationsThe evaluation of students is based on individual and team case study submissions, short paper and problem assignments, on-line discussion postings, and peer reviews.This prescribed course in the on-line Master of Professional Studies in Supply Chain Management (MPS/SCM) os the capstone course taken in the second year of study that integrates previous topics.

SCM 494H – Research Project (Variable)
Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis.

SCM 820 – Strategic Procurement (4)
Strategic planning for the source/buy process, including developing andmanaging supplier relationships, global issues, and e-procurement.

SCM 800 – Essentials of Supply Chain Management (4)
Introductory course for MPS

Selected Publications

Purdum S., "MASC Case Study #2: Proactively Preparing Nursing Homes." 2020
Showcased multiple case studies related to work performed by PSU faculty and staff during COVID-19 pandemic crisis
Tracey S., Purdum S., Ruamsook K., "The Transport and Logistics Industry's Balancing Act of Keeping People Safe and Goods Moving." 2020
Blog...Insights from the Experts.
Purdum S., "Behind the Front Lines: Penn State Smeal's Supply Chain Experts Support COVID-19 Response Initiative." 2020
Newsletter Interview
Purdum S., Young R. R., Ruamsook K., "Benchmarking Procurement Practices in Higher Education." Benchmarking Procurement Practices in Higher Education, no. 2007, 2007
Purdum S., Thomas D. J., Grenoble W. L., Gutowski R., eBusiness and Supply Chain Processes, (Supply Chain Council), 2002
Through case study analysis, an examination of the impact of eBusiness on supply chain processes. Analysis and review in conjunction with Manugistics

Research Impact and Media Mentions

"Smeal Supply Chain Experts Support COVID-19 Efforts", Smeal/CSCR's Newsletter, Internet
"Penn State's MASC COVID-19 Coalition", Penn State News, Internet
"Newport News Shipbuilding", Newport News Training and Organizational Development Report, Company Magazine
"International Women's Day", Spend Matter, Internet
"Panel Moderator, AWESOME, Sr. Executives at J&J HQ",, Internet
"CSCMP AWESOME Track_ Panel Moderator",, Internet
"Celebrating 25 Years at CSCR", Center for Supply Chain Research, Pamphlet
"AWESOME event at CSCMP", AWESOME (Advancing Women Leaders in STEM, Conference Proceedings