Every year, SCM World surveys hundreds of supply chain executives to find out which universities they consider the best at producing graduates with practical, as opposed to philosophical, approaches to supply chain management. The result is a list of the top schools for supply chain talent. This year's list includes opinions from 2,300 supply chain professionals.
Kevin O'Marah, chief content officer with SCM World, admits that the rankings are not scientific and include some bias in favor of PR-savvy schools adept at "getting out the vote." Even so, this ranking offers a good look at the university programs that do a great job at developing supply chain talent.
Michigan State’s Eli Broad College of Business recently established a research institute, located in Midland, Mich., focused on value chain management. The Midland Research Institute for Value Chain Creation (MRIVCC), which was bankrolled by $15.5 million in pledges, focuses on evidence-based tools; quantitative assessment, monitoring and management of integrated supply chain solutions; and food- and water-focused research projects. Institute researchers work with undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers and corporate collaborators. Research areas include water quality and delivery, food safety and sustainability, global manufacturing, and value chain integration. The institute also offers executive education programs in value chain creation. Founding partners include The Dow Chemical Company and Dow Corning Corporation as well as several Midland-based foundations.
2. Penn State University
The Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems at the Penn State Smeal College of Business offers undergraduate, Masters, PhD and executive education programs in supply chain management. The curriculum looks at the full spectrum of traditional supply chain processes, from procurement to manufacturing to fulfillment to logistics and reverse logistics, while also offering opportunities for students to develop information systems skills.
3. University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee Haslam School of Business’s Global Supply Chain Institute is well regarded for its supply chain research projects, such as a study on the effects of the Hours of Service regulations on the trucking industry as well as a recent study on the challenges of integrating purchasing and logistics. UT also hosts twice-yearly Supply Chain Forums that include over 150 senior executives from top corporations, aimed at addressing key supply chain strategies, as well as recruiting UT’s business students. In addition, UT offers auditing capabilities to help companies benchmark their supply chains versus a best-in-class database.
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In addition to housing the prominent research Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) on the Cambridge, Mass., campus, MIT has established an international presence on several continents. The MIT Global SCALE (Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence) Network began about a decade ago with the Zaragoza Logistics Center in Spain, and the SCALE Network has since expanded with centers in South America (Colombia) and Asia (Malaysia). SCALE aims to create local supply chain talent in different regions of the world while opening up new opportunities for innovation. Last year the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation, in partnership with Infosys, formed the Global Risk Advisory Group to help industry identify, quantify and mitigate operational, financial, supply chain and cyber risks using analytics and data science. The goal of the group is to help industries monitor and mitigate risks using analytics and data science.
5. Arizona State University
Arizona State's Master of Science in Supply Chain Management and Engineering degree program is a joint effort between the W. P. Carey School's Supply Chain Management Department and the Industrial Engineering program in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Course work takes 21 months, culminating in a “capstone” project where students will apply their supply chain skills in a business environment. ASU also boasts a School of Sustainability, which focuses on assessing issues like corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate-change mitigation, supply chain standards and labor practices.
6. University of Texas at Austin
The Supply Chain Management Center (SCMC) at the University of Texas supports and promotes scholarly research in supply chain management and related fields. Last year, in partnership with Dell, n partnership with Dell, the school launched its first Supply Chain Labs program. The goal of the program is to develop superior supply chain skills in select McCombs MBA students by providing experiential learning opportunities across a range of supply chain roles with SCMC executive sponsors. In the Dell Supply Chain Labs, two MBA students will get full-ownership of a yearlong project in one of Dell’s leading strategic supply chain areas: Customer Centric Planning.
7. Western Michigan University
The state of Michigan has become something of an epicenter for supply chain research. In addition to the two Big Ten schools (MSU and UM), a new addition to this year's list of Western Michigan University and its Integrated Supply Management program, an undergraduate program that integrates information technology along with an engineering core to provide students with a in-depth supply chain education. WMU students have been working with medical device manufacturer Stryker to create solutions and then apply them to improve the company’s production management, including a focus on lean supply chains.
8. University of Michigan
The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business offers a Master of Supply Chain Management degree. This one-year program is designed to provide students with deep, functional supply chain management experience with the perspective of a general manager. Looking at supply chain management as a business, rather than tactical, function, the program encompasses marketing, sourcing, manufacturing, logistics, inventory management, IT and customer relations.
9. Harvard University
In addition to publishing numerous influential supply chain studies in the Harvard Business Review, the Harvard Business School has conducted research in several areas of supply chain management, focusing in particular on the role of SCM in sustainability, climate change, regulatory issues and risk management. A recent study looks at how various social factors can influence the auditing of supply chains in developing countries, and the role of international labor laws and codes of conduct in ensuring that workers are not being exploited. As SCM World points out, Professor Michael Porter, who among other things is believed to have coined the term "value chain management," deserves much of the credit for the regard Harvard has as a place of supply chain learning.
10. Auburn University
Researchers from Auburn University’s Center for Supply Chain Innovation (CSCI) recently produced a report on retail supply chains, looking in particular at the impact of omni-channel distribution. The Center focuses on applied research into evolving business problems, working with industry leaders from retail, manufacturing and service industries on projects related to supply chain strategy, process improvement, performance analysis and talent management.