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What Is Supply Chain Management?

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) offers an online MBA with a concentration in Supply Chain Management. The program prepares graduates to enter a $26 trillion, fast-growing global industry that has a shortage of job candidates with specialized business school training.

The Supply Chain Drives the Global Economy

Managers and other professionals in the supply chain are charged with linking the production, shipment and distribution of products across the nation and around the world. Through effective supply chain management, companies are able to compete in a global economy that demands lean pricing and the fastest possible delivery of products to end consumers.

As a consumer, for every pizza you have delivered to your home in thirty minutes, every next-day book shipment you order online, and every farm-fresh piece of produce you find in the grocery store, a complex network of supply chain professionals is working for you. Supply chain professionals work in planning and strategy, sourcing materials and services, manufacturing, delivery and logistics, and returns systems. They work to reduce the time involved in each step of the process, maximize output from materials and labor, and minimize labor costs.

This UNCP MBA program was developed with input from employers in the supply chain field and is designed to provide graduates with a foundation in the essential aspects of management major corporations seek. These include product and service development, logistics, operations and materials, strategic sourcing, information processing systems, distribution, and quality issues.

Managing the Supply Chain Requires Unique Skill Sets

Logic: Professionals in this industry must be highly logical, with analytical skills similar to those of engineers. They must think holistically, understanding how their part fits into the rest of the company's, suppliers' and customers' objectives. Logical ability enables them to coordinate the logistics of physical activity and movement of products in volume, from one location to another. Breakdowns anywhere in the supply chain can have catastrophic consequences, so the expectation is for continuous pursuit of perfection.

Mathematics: They must be quantitative thinkers, similar to financial analysts, in order to create shipping and manufacturing algorithms and to solve complex problems with many variables. Like mathematicians, they must know that their work is highly objective; there are right answers that must be found.

Organization and Communication: Each professional in the supply chain is accountable to every other "link" in managing the flow of materials, money and time through the business. Every role in the supply chain is cross-functional and requires knowledge of the complete supply chain, as well as the ability to organize and communicate effectively with various players. Raw materials suppliers exert influence on product designers; professionals in sales and marketing collaborate with shipping on product launches; and finance negotiates with shipping on volume logistics.  

The Value of a Targeted Business School Education in the Supply Chain

Students in a supply chain-focused MBA program collaborate to address supply chain issues, solve inventory and shipping logistics problems, and brainstorm solutions together. They work to overcome real-world challenges experienced in the field, without the pressure of making real-world mistakes. This enables them to explore options, pursue innovation and train their logical, mathematical and organizational minds to synchronize with the supply chain. In the process, students also gain valuable experience building professional relationships that can help them in their careers.

Employers show great preference for business school graduates with specific supply chain training, and they often invest in that training for their own employees. Professionals in the industry value concentrated MBA programs as a means of improving their skillsets while enhancing opportunities for raises and promotions.

If you have the prerequisite capabilities, an MBA with a concentration in supply chain management might be for you. UNCP offers a specialized program online to meet the demands of both employers and professionals in the supply chain.

Learn more about the University of North Carolina at Pembroke's online MBA with a Concentration in Supply Chain Management program.


Sources:

Supply Chain Management Review: Measuring Value of the Supply Chain Executive Education

Investopedia: Supply Chain Management

Forbes: Ten Timeless Truths of Supply Chain

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