Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Supply chain continues growth spurt

In the six years since the supply chain management major was created, enrollment has increased from seven to 96 students while the program has maintained the highest job placement rate among undergraduate business programs.

Supply chain students participate in study abroad in Panama
Though supply chain is one of the smallest degree programs at the School of Business, it is one of the most sought-after skills in the job force. Roger Woody, executive lecturer and director of supply chain management external development, said the program always has more internships and jobs available than students to fill them.

“A student sat here not an hour ago, and said, ‘It was so exciting at the career fair.  When I mentioned I was a supply chain major, the recruiters’ eyes lit up and they pounced. They wanted to talk more,’” Woody said.

Supply chain at its core is about getting product to the consumer as quickly and efficiently as possible. Woody said many students either have no sense of what supply chain is, or they think it only involves transportation.

“My definition starts at research and development and ends with a satisfied focus on a satisfied customer,” Woody said.

Kayleigh Sellens, president of the Supply Chain Management Club, said she believes supply chain management is essential in every area of business.

“You have to think about the product that you’re hoping to develop and where you’ll get the resources to manufacture it from,” Sellens said. “How will you transport these resources? How will you manufacture the product? How will you distribute the product? Where are you going to keep your inventory? If you don’t answer all of these questions then you won’t have a product for marketing to advertise and sell, and then your company won’t make any money.”

Knowledge of supply chain can also help managers find inefficiencies and make improvements in their companies. Chen Zhao, an accounting major enrolled in the supply chain management concentration, said she believes the concentration will complement her accounting degree because she is interested in audit.

“We can find issues or somewhere to improve in a business, and supply chain is the method to actually put that into practice,” Zhao said.

The supply chain management program also has a variety of opportunities to engage students outside the classroom, including study abroad programs, trips and clubs. Zhao applied for a supply chain internship in Germany for the summer of 2014. The program also provides a study abroad trip to Panama, and last year students visited UPS in Louisville, Kentucky.

by Allison Kite