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Why Are Supply Chain Management Programs Booming At Business Schools?

July 18, 2013BY AMS Editor

Supply Chain ManagementHigher education is starting to fill a need in the wholesale distribution industry for employees with a background in supply chain management.

A recent article on the Bloomberg Businessweek website outlines how more colleges and universities are offering curricula in supply chain management, ranging from coursework to degree programs and even MBAs. Since 2011, at least nine U.S. schools have started undergraduate and graduate programs, generating a lot of interest from companies struggling to fill jobs.

Almost 200,000 supply chain positions are expected to go unfilled through the year 2018 because wholesale distribution firms can’t find people with the right skills, a study by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics reports. Therefore, it’s a welcome sign that educators are adjusting to meet those needs.

In the past, it was nearly impossible to hire a graduate who attended a school with a curriculum geared toward ERP implementations and supply chain processes. That meant most students entering the job market didn’t have a thorough understanding of both the technology behind applications and the basic concepts of the supply chain.

In most cases, recent graduates were expected to learn those concepts on the job. The problem with this method of learning is that it is ad hoc and haphazard with no standardization; the results are also nonstandard. Up until now, there has been no reliable method of ascertaining that an employee understood the requisite principles and processes.

Some companies, including SAP, have educational alliances in place with universities that in essence are providing coursework to help students get up to speed on their enterprise products. In many cases, they’re using applications such as SAP to help teach the course. This allows students to gain hands-on experience with the application before they graduate and land their first full-time job.

Nowadays, there’s no way to operate a supply chain without a robust ERP application. You must have knowledge and experience with at least one strong ERP system to succeed in supply chain management.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, June 2013

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