Supply Chain Shortage Could Find Solution in Online Education


A recent report from the Haslam College of Business suggests there is a shortage among supply chain talent across the country — and a solution to the shortage could be found in online education.

An increase in supply chain volume and complexities in operations are creating higher demand for professionals at every level.  As the economy continues to regain strength and more baby boomers retire, that need is likely to increase, as new hires do not have the experience necessary to enter the workforce as mid-level managers.  According to the Corpu website, only 20% of current employees have the skills they need to compete in today’s global economy.

According to the recent report, Supply Chain Talent, Our Greatest Resource, executives find new talent through internships and relationships with top universities, with existing labor receiving additional education through mentorship.

Recent analyses show that the demand for supply chain professionals is now greater than what is available by 6 to 1.  In order to deal with this need, Corpu has partnered with Penn State’s Smeal College of Business in the creation of the Supply Chain Leadership Academy in an effort to increase the number of professionals that are tailored to meet the needs of individual businesses.

“Today, only a small portion of available talent has the technical, tactical, and strategic supply chain skills needed to function in a knowledge-based global economy. Achieving supply chain excellence is an urgent need for many of the world’s largest companies in an ever more complex environment,” said Steve Tracey, executive director of the Center for Supply Chain Research at the Smeal College of Business. “Our partnership with CorpU seeks to help companies build the full range of capabilities across all levels of the organization needed to remain competitive.”

The program consists of five-week courses that use situation-based learning to create student competencies and improve organization through end-to-end supply chain management.  In addition, live events are offered to participants that feature globally recognized supply chain experts.

California State University’s business school at Long Beach is also planning to launch a master’s program in supply chain management, which can be completed in 16 or 21 months, offered jointly by the university’s Center for International Trade and Transportation and College of Business Administration.

The W.P Carey School of Business in Arizona launched a similar program last month, which can be completed in 6 months through an online platform.

“This new online certificate program will help participants think more about the company as a whole – about how to manage complex supply chain problems,” said Professor John Fowler, chair of Carey’s supply chain department.