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Krannert innovators impact global manufacturing

Alumni Global People

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Our focus at the Krannert School of Management is to integrate science, technology and engineering with a global business education. Combining these disciplines sparks innovative solutions to the world’s most difficult business problems. In no area has this collaboration had a bigger impact than in manufacturing.

Krannert and manufacturing have a notable history and even more promising future together. The history goes back to 1962 when Industrial Management was the only undergraduate major offered by the new Krannert School at Purdue. The future includes innovations in global manufacturing practices from alumni, students and faculty.

We are proud to count Dick Dauch and Lijun Du among our alumni leaders and innovators in manufacturing. Mr. Dauch played a key role in Chrysler Corporation’s revival in the early ’80s, and currently serves as executive chairman of American Axle & Manufacturing. He was inducted into the Manufacturing Hall of Fame in 2012.

With decades of real-world experience to draw on, Mr. Dauch recently provided feedback to Krannert graduate students making end-of-semester presentations in Tom Brush’s “Challenges in U.S. Manufacturing” class. Students examined the reasons some automobile plants have closed and the reasons others are opening or expanding production in the southern U.S. or Mexico. The exercise focused on labor rates, labor flexibility, tax incentives, government location and training incentives in addition to production and supply chain factors.

“It was just incredible to have Mr. Dauch participate and share his insights over 40 years, back to when he worked with Lee Iacocca, and also drawing on his experiences today at American Axle,” Professor Brush says. “The students were just blown away by the interaction.”

Another Krannert alumni and the president of Nanshan America Co., Lijun Du knows that manufacturing and an educated workforce go hand-in-hand. It’s one of the factors that convinced Nanshan executives to build a plant in Lafayette, Indiana, close to the Purdue campus.

Krannert alumni, faculty and students have been leaders in solving challenges and providing new directions for the manufacturing sector. We are proud to be the home of the Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises and Global Supply Chain Management Initiative, where talented faculty and students are finding innovative solutions to global supply chain problems.

Advances in technology and logistics allow even the smallest operations in the most remote parts of the world to sell and ship goods. The firms that have the most strategically managed and effective global supply chains will be in the best position to enjoy sustained success.

At Krannert, we will continue to innovate and improve manufacturing through more efficient and effective operations management practices. We salute our alumni, faculty and students who work on these challenges daily through research initiatives and in real-world circumstances.

Warm Regards,


Chris Earley

Dean, Krannert School of Management

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