February 2015 | Commentary | Checking In

Supply Chain Education and the Integration of Things

Tags: Education & Careers, Supply Chain Management

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

You've heard about the Internet of Things? Well, today's supply chain education is about the Integration of Things. Integration is a buzzword you're used to hearing nearly everywhere you turn in today's supply chain—in the context of technology deployment, data validation, business process change, or logistics outsourcing. Enabling systems and solutions to perform seamlessly when change is a constant churn is no easy task. That's why companies are embracing integration as a continuous process of improvement.

Like integration, upgrading the knowledge and skills of today's supply chain professional is a continuous process. The role of supply chain practitioner is evolving by integrating technology, functional expertise, and experience to identify problems and engineer solutions.

Where does the new generation of supply chain professionals gain these integrated skills? From universities and schools that are evolving to integrate into their curriculum new skills that companies like yours demand. It's no longer enough for new recruits to just know transportation, or purchasing, or marketing. And industry veterans have just as much opportunity to step up their game and take advantage of postgraduate programs and career development certifications to boost their skills in these new directions.

Today's supply chain education curriculum, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, in the classroom and online, embraces perspective. Whether it's tying marketing to logistics, automotive to consumer packaged goods, or materials engineering to procurement, there's a lot to be learned by eschewing convention and opening new doors.

Take, for example, the role of procurement. Traditionally, purchasing has been driven solely by cost. But that's changing. Chief purchasing officers now have the power to facilitate collaboration by inviting different functions—transportation, finance, operations—into the decision-making process and taking a more strategic approach to sourcing. Today's supply chain education reflects that.

The feature article in our annual Education and Career Development issue follows a similar thread. In Today's Supply Chain Education: It's All In Your Head, Merrill Douglas talks with a number of university professors and administrators to explore how the classroom is preparing a new crop of graduates armed with the skills your company needs to meet market demands and competitive pressures.

And if you are interested in integrating new supply chain skills into your professional career plan, the Logistics & Supply Chain Education Resource Guide is a good place to start.






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