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Building and sustaining university supply chain management programs

During the past decade the number of university level supply chain management programs has expanded tremendously in recognition of the greater visibility of our discipline, its growing importance in global commerce and the robust market for students with a concentration in the field.

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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the July-August 2019 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

July-August 2019

If you’re a long-time reader of Supply Chain Management Review, you’re familiar with Larry Lapide’s “Insights” column. Typically, Larry is writing about the many facets of planning, but occasionally, he takes on a provocative topic. One year, he questioned whether it was necessary to be a Top 25 supply chain leader, especially if in your industry, good enough gets the job done.
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Several years ago at the Academic Reception at the annual Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals meeting I was talking with several of my peers from other institutions. We calculated that collectively the four of us had been in this field for about 160 years. One of my colleagues looked around the crowded room and said it was great to be a part of this burgeoning field, to which I observed that the field had taken one hell of a long time to burgeon. When I first entered the field it was called “transportation and physical distribution management.” It evolved into “transportation and logistics,” then “logistics” and now “supply chain management.”

During the past decade the number of university level supply chain management programs has expanded tremendously in recognition of the greater visibility of our discipline, its growing importance in global commerce and the robust market for students with a concentration in the field. That has brought some degree of euphoria with it, and as I reflect upon those developments it concerns me that the next generation of professors who will lead this field in the coming years doesn’t necessarily understand what it took to get the larger programs to this point.

There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved; the progress was very slow, and often very political. In many cases alliances with faculty members in other disciplines were required to support those development efforts because making room in curricula for supply chain management courses/concentrations often involved giving less emphasis to more traditional areas of business. That in turn often involved explaining to our academic colleagues, in very basic terms, what our field was and why it was important. It also entailed designing courses and programs from scratch, bargaining for meager university resources, selling the programs to students, administrators and employers and building a faculty base.

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Sorry, but your login has failed. Please recheck your login information and resubmit. If your subscription has expired, renew here.

From the July-August 2019 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

July-August 2019

If you’re a long-time reader of Supply Chain Management Review, you’re familiar with Larry Lapide’s “Insights” column. Typically, Larry is writing about the many facets of planning, but occasionally, he…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the July-August 2019 issue.

Several years ago at the Academic Reception at the annual Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals meeting I was talking with several of my peers from other institutions. We calculated that collectively the four of us had been in this field for about 160 years. One of my colleagues looked around the crowded room and said it was great to be a part of this burgeoning field, to which I observed that the field had taken one hell of a long time to burgeon. When I first entered the field it was called “transportation and physical distribution management.” It evolved into “transportation and logistics,” then “logistics” and now “supply chain management.”

During the past decade the number of university level supply chain management programs has expanded tremendously in recognition of the greater visibility of our discipline, its growing importance in global commerce and the robust market for students with a concentration in the field. That has brought some degree of euphoria with it, and as I reflect upon those developments it concerns me that the next generation of professors who will lead this field in the coming years doesn't necessarily understand what it took to get the larger programs to this point.

There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved; the progress was very slow, and often very political. In many cases alliances with faculty members in other disciplines were required to support those development efforts because making room in curricula for supply chain management courses/concentrations often involved giving less emphasis to more traditional areas of business. That in turn often involved explaining to our academic colleagues, in very basic terms, what our field was and why it was important. It also entailed designing courses and programs from scratch, bargaining for meager university resources, selling the programs to students, administrators and employers and building a faculty base.
.

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MR

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