Daniel Stanton: Mr. Supply Chain

Whether it’s the bullwhip effects following the global pandemic, a national shortage of workers, overwhelmed ports, or the most significant war in Europe in a half century – it’s very likely that you have personally felt the impact of global supply chain disruptions. If you need a new car, a new dishwasher, or, worse yet, some sort of obscure part for a unique product, you’ll likely have to get in line and plan for a long wait.  

In all crises, there is opportunity for growth. Mines alumnus Daniel Stanton (CEE 01) is leading the charge for capitalizing on those growth opportunities in the current global challenges. Stanton, also known as Mr. Supply Chain, is among the nation’s top advocates for education, awareness, and improved global supply chain management.        

Stanton is a respected expert in the areas of supply chain and project management. His top-ranked supply chain book, Supply Chain Management for Dummies, is available in print and audio. A life-long student, he embraces continual learning. He enjoys teaching at the university level and sharing his knowledge with the public. He has an entrepreneurial spirit, a positive outlook on the future, and lots of irons in the fire. He credits the South Dakota Mines community for being a key part of his success.

After graduating from Central High School in Rapid City, he started his higher education at Mines. “I think I hold the record for the longest undergraduate degree,” he jokes. Ten years, from his freshman orientation in 1991 to his senior graduation in 2001. But his humor hides his modesty; in 1994 Stanton left Mines and served for five years in the U.S. Navy. He graduated soon after his return and in the years following added a long list of institutions to his resume including Southern Illinois University, University of South Dakota, National American University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and, finally, Cranfield University, where he is currently a DBA candidate in logistics and supply chain management. Despite his impressive education and background, Stanton says his Mines connections have led him to his current success and industry leadership role.

Mines Alumni Network

Stanton’s extensive educational background and work experiences make him a sought-after speaker on supply chain topics across the U.S. Although he collaborates with many talented and great people, “the Mines network is the closest group of any. Part of it is the dynamics of our school - the rigorous, challenging education. We all understand,” says Stanton.  

Stanton further describes the power and connections with Mines graduates that he has experienced over the years. During his time at Caterpillar from 2008 to 2014, he was thankful for Mines alumni including Jim Green (ME 74), Ritch Larsen (ME 75), and Tamara Nelson (MetE 86). “They took me under their wings,” Stanton says. “I’ve never experienced that type of camaraderie with alumni from the other universities I’ve attended.”

In 2018, Stanton played a key role in turning a Mines research collaboration into a commercial venture. He spent three months in Boston developing the business SecureMarking with his colleagues. While making presentations at the prestigious Techstars “Demo Days,” Stanton met a key audience member, four-star General Stephen Wilson (MS EMgmt 89). Stanton discovered Wilson was a fellow Mines alumnus who also had flown B-52s from the Ellsworth Air Force Base in the past.

“I find Mines alumni at events all over the country, and it is just really a strong bond,” he says. While giving a talk at the Black Hills Defense and Industry Symposium in Rapid City, he recognized a fellow speaker, John Henderson (CEE 94, MS CEE 02), who at the time served as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy. Stanton and Henderson were members of ROTC at Mines together during their undergraduate years. The organizer of the event was also a Mines alumna, Cheryl Chapman, Ph.D., (Math, CEE 78), one of Stanton’s close friends.

Stanton says these are just a few of the alumni he has ran into over years. “Mines grads wherever I go are in high positions and are very successful and good at what they do,” he says.

Becoming Mr. Supply Chain

 Stanton is passionate about the importance of supply chain management in our world today. “My focus is on education and helping people understand the supply chain,” he says. He traces many problems and opportunities in our economy today back to supply chains. “Whether it is formally through a degree or semi-formally through LinkedIn Learning or certifications or informally through the news or independent reading; everybody needs to learn about supply chain management.” His work is being recognized in industry; Stanton has been named an IBM Watson Supply Chain Futurist and as a Pro To Know by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine.

“We need to learn how each of us can affect the supply chains around us every day,” he says. He also points to opportunities for future Hardrockers. “For the younger folks it is a discipline that you can study, a career you can pursue, and it’s trending up.”

Future of Mr. Supply Chain

Mr. Supply Chain is about to become Dr. Supply Chain. Stanton is currently pursuing a DBA in business administration in logistics, material, and supply chain management from Cranfield University. His candidate work is focusing on risk management.  

His Supply Chain Management for Dummies book is now in its second edition. He is continually collecting information for future editions in an effort to ensure the book stays current. “As an educator, I like learning, and I like teaching the things I am learning. It’s gratifying and impactful,” he says.

He is in his eighth year of teaching supply chain part-time at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill and his sixth year of teaching courses on LinkedIn Learning. While Stanton enjoys university classroom teaching, the LinkedIn Learning courses have a much greater audience. “I have been watched more than one million times in just four years. I love the on-demand element of that. It is wonderful. People can take the classes whenever and wherever it works for them.” Thirteen courses have been created by Stanton for LinkedIn Learning in project management and supply chain management. Those courses include Leading Projects and Implementing Supply Chain Management. Stanton also recommends his LinkedIn Learning course Supply Chain Basics for Everyone. It is great for people who are curious about what is meant by “supply chain."

Summarizing supply chain, Stanton says, “All of the things we need to be doing in the world today: getting access to medicines and vaccines to healthcare here and around the world, addressing climate change and sustainability, eliminating modern day slavery and child labor, feeding people around the world as well as dealing with energy around the world. We cannot fix any of these real-world problems without a supply chain.”