Colleges and Universities throughout the country are scrambling to put together programs that center around Supply Chain Management. The field is growing with the increase in globalization and firms looking to expand beyond their domestic borders. These degrees command large salaries due to the specialization of those that possess the degrees.
As technology continues to make warehousing, manufacturing, and transportation quicker, these degrees will continue to expand in importance. The article below references that firms all around the world are hiring for this type of degree. This centers around industries from the food industry, to the software industry, to retailers like Forever 21.
Popularity is not the only reason for the increase in this specialization, but the complexity of the industry is changing as well. Many firms now outsource many responsibilities of their supply chain, such as the logistics, tracking, etc. because their in-house staff is not qualified to handle the responsibility. The training and resources required to increase a firm’s capability can cost more than outsourcing some of these services. As a result, firms like Chicago’s own Coyote Logistics and Total Quality Logistics have expanded exponentially over their decade of existence, primarily due to the Third Party Logistics (3PL) industry’s growth and their ability to compile resources to help handle freight of companies throughout the world.
I personally have been pursuing a Supply Chain Management MBA for the past three years from the University of Akron, and am closing out my degree by taking my final two classes at DePaul University. Speaking from personal experience, I feel that the pursuit of my degree in this area has opened doors that otherwise would not have been opened just due to the specialization of the degree. On February 4, I started my first day at Nestle in suburban Chicago, and I feel that the Supply Chain specialization has helped me embrace the continuing excellence and Six Sigma culture much faster than some of my colleagues that started around the same time as me.
I feel for the first time in my life that the possibilities of where I can go next professionally are endless. There are many opportunities in Nestle alone that have made the degree worthwhile for me, and should you have interest in helping a firm continue to improve, I would recommend it to you as well if you are considering furthering your education.
5 thoughts on “Supply Chain Management degrees a hot commodity”
I think the old philosophy was that supply chain management was simply the process of getting a product from Point A to Point B. Now companies are expanding into new markets, consumer demands are changing and we have a U.S. economy that is still recovering from the last recession. The competition has evolved from company vs. company to supply chain vs. supply chain.
The new “Triple A” philosphy stresses that companies can only gain a sustainable advantage if their supply chain is agile, adaptable and aligned. Agile supply chains can respond to short-term changes in demand or supply quickly. Adaptable supply chains are designed to meet structural shifts in markets. Supply chains that are aligned create incentives for suppliers to stimulate better performance.
I can relate this post to my professional career. There are several career paths, jobs, and growth opportunities in Supply Chain Management (SCM). For instance, I started my career as an Electrical Engineer in an Engineering Professional Development Program (two year job rotation program) but ended up in SCM. This was initially a tough decision to make, but now I am glad that I choose the SCM path. The past five years of my career have been exciting and challenging. I worked in various areas of SCM such as Distribution – Logistics, Supply Planning, and Process Improvement. I also gained great exposure to Lean Six Sigma and became Green Belt certified. Now, I work as a Project Manager in SCM and focus on strategic projects related to new product development and configuration management. From this standpoint, I absolutely agree that there are endless possibilities in SCM but not quite sure if a SCM degree is a must.
In addition to agility, adaptable and alignment it is important to consider the role of relationships in supply chain. Through research in MGT 501, my team found that the role of trust and collaborative relationships have on the supply chain. Overall suppliers and benefit from developing trust and commitment between one another and both sides of the supply chain must be considered to optimize your supply chain.
I also work in a supply chain role at my current company and have found that thinning margins and increased competition have caused an increased need for ways to better manage logistics and cut costs. Whether it’s labor strikes or as a result of an ever increasing global market the demand for an adaptable supply chain is a requirement to be competitive. In previous courses we’ve talked about near-sourcing and back-hauling as an opportunity for companies to cut costs and limit risk. Creative managers will need to continue to work on their supply chains in order to stay competitive.
I agree that Supply Chain Management degrees are in high demand since companies are beginning to focus heavily on operational efficiency and strengthening the supply chain in order to meet customer demand. I have worked as a supply chain consultant and was on many projects that involved improving operational processes through Lean Six Sigma in order to create more flexible and efficient supply chain processes. Inventory optimization and supply chain strategy projects were some major focus areas for companies as they expanded on a global level. It is imperative that companies continuously improve their supply chains to ensure that product is available or flexible options such as same day delivery exist especially in today’s competitive market with the presence of such companies like Amazon. I had the privilege of working on the 2014 3PL Study that was published by my consulting company last year. The study highlighted the importance of talent management and the growing focus on retaining and developing talent within supply chain. Agility and flexibility are important qualities for supply chain individuals to have because today’s market evolves at a faster pace. More and more supply chain focused individuals are gaining executive positions at major companies.