Advertisement

Blog

Supply Chain Management Gets Some Respect

As global supply chains become more complex and yet more critical to the success of companies, the importance of and demand for supply chain managers is rising. And finding qualified candidates may be like finding a needle in a haystack.

According to the Wall Street Journal, corporations are scrambling to hire supply chain experts and many universities are introducing new programs to meet that demand. These include undergraduate majors and specialized MBA degrees. In addition, universities and other institutions are starting or considering online courses, including MOOCs, to train new talent or further develop mid-level managers.

The trend is raising the profiles, and the salaries, of supply chain managers. Fifteen years ago, the function was perceived simply as logistics. Managers needed technical proficiency in discrete areas like shipping and warehousing, according to an article in Logistics Management magazine.

“He reported to the chief operating officer or chief financial officer, had few prospects of advancing, and had no exposure to the executive committee,” J. Paul Dittmann, executive director of the Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee, said in the article. “The way companies need to think of the modern supply chain executive has changed dramatically.”

Indeed, “Logistics managers are becoming recognized as diversified corporate leaders in Fortune 500 companies,” Laura Birou, a faculty member in the Sustainable Supply Chain Management Program at Louisiana Tech University told the Wall Street Journal. “We believe that the bottom-line value of these logistics decision-makers will reshape the current structure of many manufacturers and retailers.”

The rise in status is translating into more money. According to a survey published by Logistics Management, 60 percent of logistics and supply chain professionals reported a salary increase last year. The survey found that the average salary for the “supply chain management” job function was $126,000 a year and the median was $110,000. Starting salaries aren't too shabby, either. According to Arizona State University, students graduating with supply-chain majors last year had average starting salaries of $56,410. Those with supply-chain related MBAs reported starting salaries averaging $97,481, compared with $92,556 for all MBAs.

Here are just a few of the latest university programs:

  • Bryant University's College of Business has added an undergraduate major and MBA specialization in supply-chain management.
  • SAP AG has a “university alliance” program that offers training in logistics technology. The program has added more than 250 schools in the last 18 months.
  • Rutgers Business School, which launched an MBA concentration in supply-chain management more than 10 years ago, has now added an undergraduate major. It has registered 450 students for the degree.
  • Portland State University's School of Business Administration is launching an MS in global supply chain management this year.
  • Texas Christian University's Neeley School of Business started an MS in supply chain management this year.

Institutions are adding more online training and certifications for mid-career professionals. John Fowler, chair of the Supply Chain Management Department at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, told Logistics Management magazine that he expects a surge in demand for online learning and accreditation as mid-level professionals seeks ways to update their skills without committing the time and expense required for a full-blown graduate-level degree. In Logistics Management's survey, 42 percent of respondents reported pursuing professional certification to improve their understanding of logistics strategy, while 20 percent said they had graduate degrees in logistics or supply chain management.

The Supply Chain Management Institute at the University of San Diego already offers an online Master's degree in supply-chain management, and it's considering launching a MOOC (massive open online course, usually offered for free), according to Joel Sutherland, managing director of the Institute. “Given that there are fewer logistics managers that will want to endure a post-graduate gauntlet, we believe online education will become more relevant in order to provide quality education to the masses.”

What's the best way for the industry to encourage more students to study so that they can work in the supply chain? How did you get started? Let us know in the comments.

20 comments on “Supply Chain Management Gets Some Respect

  1. _hm
    July 31, 2013

    This is really good story. I wish many young students are reading it. Best wishes to upcoming new SCM professionals.

     

     

  2. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    July 31, 2013

    It's heartening to see so much support for the field at the university level, but i can't help but think we have to start raising awareness even earlier. I don't know of any high schoolers for example that are saying “I think i'll go into supplly chain management”… and that's the way to make sure these programs grow.

    For those of you who are supply chain managers, who/what brought you into the field? Were you an aspiring SCM in high school?

  3. Lavender
    July 31, 2013

    A survey by Gartner shows global supply chain is suffering nonmaterial difficulity, such as lack of talent, especially in the opportunity rich emerging markets. So these salary stimulations benefit attracting supply chain talents. 

  4. Daniel
    July 31, 2013

    i Had taken a printout of this artcile and pined in out internal notice board. so those who are intrest can join with our community too.

  5. Daniel
    July 31, 2013

    “This is really good story. I wish many young students are reading it. Best wishes to upcoming new SCM professionals”

    Hm, apart from reading we can refer such articles to, those who are interested to know more about supply chain. This will help them to build a career in similar line.

  6. Daniel
    July 31, 2013

    “According to the Wall Street Journal, corporations are scrambling to hire supply chain experts and many universities are introducing new programs to meet that demand.”

    Tam, that's a good initiative and will help to bridge the gap between requirement and job opportunities,. I had seen that many of the peoples are working in supply chain team without any formal education in same line and such drawbacks can be minimized by this way.

  7. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 2, 2013

    @Lily, i'd be interested in reading more about that. Do you have a  link you could post?

  8. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 2, 2013

    @Jacob, thanks and what a great idea! We'd be a great source of mentoring for students thinking of a supply chain career.

  9. FLYINGSCOT
    August 2, 2013

    It is encouraging to see these new university courses.  Once future grads see that there are interesting well paid jobs to be had out there then more will get involved. Companies should set up affiliations with universities and promote this also.

  10. _hm
    August 2, 2013

    @Hailey: Is it possible to compile list of different programs available for SCM with its links and create web page on EBN? Also, if you can add pre-requisites for this, EBN will help thousands of students and few future CEOs of fortune 500 organizations.

     

  11. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 2, 2013

    Tam mentioned to Institute for Supply Management. I wanted to share a link to the 2013 Salary Survey results. It's got some interesting results because they parse the information in a variety of ways including by gender, geogrpahic location, experience, title and more.

  12. Daniel
    August 5, 2013

    “thanks and what a great idea! We'd be a great source of mentoring for students thinking of a supply chain career.”

    Hailey, that's the simplest way of extending our helping hands to younger generation.

  13. t.alex
    August 6, 2013

    This is very encouraging for students to think seriously about this career. Supply chain management is still of rare choice and the current people in the field (most) were not specialized at the beginning. They were trained in something else and then decided to switch over to SCM.

  14. Daniel
    August 8, 2013

    “This is very encouraging for students to think seriously about this career. Supply chain management is still of rare choice and the current people in the field (most) were not specialized at the beginning. They were trained in something else and then decided to switch over to SCM.”

    Alex, you are absolutely right. Now a day's peoples especially engineers are considering supply chain as their last choice because they don't know much about the field. Moreover these is no formal education about this particular profession.

  15. Wale Bakare
    August 8, 2013

    I cant disagree with you on that. I think generally people dont see supply chain as a worthwhile career path in the past but now that markets development in other part of the world are growing, this would boost supply chain sector as another worthy option. Besides, with many universities start offering it as a course of its own, a very welcome development.

  16. t.alex
    August 8, 2013

    In fact I can see in lots of companies the management equate good supply chain manager to someone being able to buy things at extremely low costs, perhaps with good connections to China suppliers, and nothing more than that. Perhaps we should send these management to university courses as well. 

  17. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    August 21, 2013

    It occurs to me that with all the talk about Apple and its supply chain hitting mainstream media over and above the converatoins we have in industry outlets, that general awareness of the importance of the supply chain will only get greater.

  18. Daniel
    August 22, 2013

    “In fact I can see in lots of companies the management equate good supply chain manager to someone being able to buy things at extremely low costs, perhaps with good connections to China suppliers, and nothing more than that. Perhaps we should send these management to university courses as well. “

    Alex, now a day's the trend is Engineering degree with a Post graduation in Management side. So the person can have both the technical and management knowledge.

  19. t.alex
    August 23, 2013

    Jacob, yes that would be the best combination of knowledge for such positions. And I believe that would make them great managers too.

  20. Daniel
    August 27, 2013

    “yes that would be the best combination of knowledge for such positions. And I believe that would make them great managers too.”

    Alex, am not sure about that 'they can be great managers'. But technically they will be qualified for that job/post.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.