Why Study Supply Chain Management?

The next time you go to the store, take a moment to imagine all the steps it takes for those products to end up on the shelves. We often forget about the hidden global network of processes that supply, create and distribute the simple luxuries in life. 

If you are interested in learning about project management, cost accounting and global issues, among many other topics, supply chain management may be a rewarding field for you to consider.

Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management offers a variety of supply chain management degree programs, including an undergraduate major and minor, Master of Science, MBA concentration and a Ph.D. program.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how critical supply chain management is to the world,” says Patrick Penfield, director of executive education and professor of supply chain practice. Even before that, the 2015 Allianz Risk Barometer listed supply chain risk as to the No. 1 danger factor for business disruption, even above political and environmental factors.

Interested in learning more? Below, Penfield answers some of the most popular questions that students have when choosing the supply chain management major at The Whitman School.

What is supply chain management?

Professionals in the supply chain management industry are responsible to plan, source and create products. Additionally, they are tasked with figuring out how to distribute and sometimes even plan the disposal function for products. Often, they hold the key to corporate profitability. 

Supply chain management is taking input, transforming it into an output at the highest quality and completing that with the lowest cost. It is very important for a supply chain manager to strive for efficiency, as well.

One example within a manufacturing company would be the Ford Motor Company. It gets parts from suppliers, assembles these parts into vehicles and ships them to its dealer network.

What relevance does supply chain have to you?

Supply chain management is a critical part of an organization’s structure. Effective supply chains promote efficiency and competition in markets. This can influence cost reduction and lead to overall customer satisfaction with an organization. 

The success of an organization’s supply chain does not solely impact consumers. Many case studies have shown that if a supply chain is failing, the net profit of an organization will also begin to slip. This type of impact can decrease possible shareholder earnings and impact the ability of the organization to retain employees.

What types of jobs can you apply for with a supply chain management degree?

Concern regarding career placement post-graduation is normal, and a big factor to consider when deciding on your major. Forty percent of the jobs within a business are supply chain management positions. These range from entry-level supply chain management positions, such as buyers, planners and analysts to mid-level positions, such as supervisors, managers and directors. Experience and dedication to the field may also enable you to fill upper-level positions eventually, such as chief operations and procurement officers.

To further support that point, The 2019 Whitman School supply chain management graduates saw a return on their degree investment with a median starting salary of $60,000. 

How is the Whitman School supply chain program unique?

The world needs effective supply chain professionals, making the discipline a fantastic sector of business to major in. The Whitman School, which in 1919 established what is now the oldest program in the country, is a great first step to kickstart a career. 

We have a nationally ranked program and many Fortune 500 companies hire our students. Some Whitman supply chain management graduates to on to work at places like Amazon, Boeing, IBM, Oracle and PepsiCo. 

Learn more about Whitman’s supply chain management program.

Maya Bingaman
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