December 17, 2015
Supply chain management is a growing field, as increased globalization and market uncertainties have forced organizations to reassess how they coordinate the production and delivery of goods and services. Today, a company's ability to keep costs down while yielding high profits can make a difference regarding market dominance and relevance. For those working in logistics and supply chain management, the opportunities to contribute knowledge and expertise in ensuring the successful and efficient flow of products, information and funds between companies, suppliers and customers are great.
New technologies, the influence of massive data sets, the need for effective risk management practices and the ability to navigate regulatory issues have all become significant areas of focus for supply chain management professionals. Now more than ever, there's a high demand for trained industry leaders who are well-equipped to handle current and emerging challenges that are shaping the future of this industry.
A growing number of people have taken note of these rapidly evolving trends, and have chosen to return to school to advance their knowledge and sharpen necessary skills needed to face these challenges head-on. If you've been wondering how you could take the reins in strengthening your organization's operations and competitiveness in these vital times, then perhaps pursuing an online MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management or an International MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management is the right choice for you.
By advancing your knowledge of logistics and supply chain management principles, you're sure to gain the requisite technical and professional competencies needed to solidify your standing as a skilled and capable supply chain professional for years to come.
A combination of factors have driven the drastic need for a well-educated and capable workforce with the capabilities to respond to challenges faced within the field. The success of organizations is contingent upon their ability to provide reliable and predictable service and their penchant for creating cross-cultural business relationships in this global landscape.
The minimization of traditional roles, such as procurement, due to outsourcing and automation have emphasized the need for a focus on strategizing as a core competency of supply chains. As a result, technology is playing an increasingly dominant role in assisting with more rapid decision-making and problem-solving to aid business growth. Newly available technology is transforming the way supply chains are developed and managed. Thus the demand is high for tech-savvy professionals who can exert their knowledge in directing these accelerating technological developments and guide organizations through this change.
The adoption of these technologies to provide faster, cheaper, more reliable and sustainable delivery is steadily becoming commonplace in this industry, creating a need for professionals who can effectively leverage these digital tools to meet consumer demands and ensure market viability.
"New and modern techniques are being applied for the sake of greater efficiencies throughout the supply chain. It's all about improvements in performance and moving the product or service faster from company to consumer. Many of these improvements are originally identified and driven through data analysis," said Dr. Alex Manus, associate dean of Graduate Business Programs at Southern New Hampshire University.
According to a 2012 Bloomberg Businessweek survey, companies are using business analytics to aid in decision-making to a much larger degree than in the past. This wealth of accessible data requires shrewd analytical and critical evaluation skills to determine how these large datasets can be used to drive competitive advantages, aid strategy and planning and reduce risk.
"Our students learn to analyze primary and secondary data using quantitative and qualitative techniques and information technology skills for effective problem solving and decision making," Manus said. "They also learn to create opportunities in a global environment that add value to an organization through the integration, synthesis, and application of best business practices. This will serve them well in today's business climate."
Individuals who have received the proper training through a master's in supply chain management degree may be placed at an advantage in sourcing and comprehending such complex data while utilizing data to make critical decisions that benefit their companies, their supply chains and their customers.
Another factor shaping the progression of supply chain management is the increase in globalization. With greater interdependence among nations, the impact of governmental regulatory bodies on global commerce will be profound. The responsibility of weighing these impacts and the effects on business operations will fall on knowledgeable supply chain professionals who can make strategic decisions to circumvent potential issues. They'll need to make decisions such as where to locate warehouses and distribution centers, what types of transportation modes to use and whether to source materials locally or offshore.
Given the emergence of these challenges facing supply chain management, and because of the vital role efficient supply chains play in the growth and development of economies, industries and organizations, supply chain professionals with training and extensive skill sets needed to meet industry demands are a hot commodity. By earning an online MBA or IMBA in Supply Chain Management, you can help ensure a future that's bright and filled with rewarding opportunities.
With an emphasized focus on minimizing risk, improving customer service and gaining a competitive advantage at the forefront of supply chain priorities, the search for expert talent has gained increased momentum. With baby boomers reaching retirement age, the need for talent is even more critical.
Unfortunately for corporations, the supply does not meet the demand for candidates. That could be a boon if you're on the demand side of the equation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that logisticians earned a median salary of about $74,000 in 2016.* The top five industries for supply chain professionals include the federal government, aerospace, transportation, manufacturing and professional, scientific and technical services, according to BLS data.
What does this mean for you? By earning your master's in supply chain management degree, you will be well positioned to secure position in today's highly competitive job market.
A number of trends are changing the way supply chains are managed in our global world. In turn, supply chain professionals have had to acquire new skills to remain competitive in this field. The Economist stated that modern supply-chain managers oversee a complex web of interactions that enable a vast array of business activities. For example, a focus on innovation and the embracing of new technologies and big data means that advanced training in technical competencies - including areas such as mathematics and statistics, financial reporting and analysis, marketing and accounting - is critical.
Deloitte reported in its third annual supply chain survey that compliance and regulatory expertise, sourcing and procurement practices, logistics and distribution processes, analytics and manufacturing and operations practices are key technical competencies for industry professionals as supply chains increasingly cross borders and take on heavier globalization emphasis.
Along with these technical skills, supply chain professionals need to gain critical skills in management and leadership. The Deloitte survey of supply chain leaders showed that 79% identified having employees who are skilled in problem-solving, change management and talent development as extremely or very important. Such skills, including the ability to negotiate and collaborate with partners, work across functions, persuade and communicate effectively, lead and develop others are increasingly important. Additionally, a broad foundational grasp of business and the ability to apply finance, accounting and marketing principles to job functions is integral.
For those seeking career advancement in this field, the attainment of these essential skills is necessary. By pursuing an online MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management, graduates can set themselves apart from the field.
Greater investments in their supply chains has meant that companies are more dedicated than ever to building a well-educated and skilled workforce. Whereas in the past these companies employed individuals with varying levels of education and subject backgrounds, today they are almost exclusively seeking people with formal and advanced educational training in logistics and supply chain management.
Degree concentrations at the MBA level are particularly favorable to employers, as they enable graduates to assume more advanced roles in the field. Positions such as an operations or supply chain manager, a production planner, a logistics engineer or a quality assurance manager are just some of the opportunities that await individuals who have gained the necessary skills and education. These top-level positions come with the responsibility of supervising all aspects of logistics and supply chain management and are also associated with a higher earning potential.
Educational advancement in this field is critical, as it allows for career growth, a deepened knowledge of industry developments and trends, greater networking opportunities and the competitive edge individuals need to distinguish themselves from their peers. Also, according to the BLS, advanced formal training in logistics and supply chain management is increasingly becoming a standard for companies' hiring practices.
Those who have the specialized skills needed in logistics and supply chain management could have a significant advantage. These individuals are granted the flexibility to occupy a variety of roles across departments within this field. As a result, professionals who obtain this degree often describe the accomplishment as highly rewarding-personally, professionally and financially.
An MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management can prepare you to take on key positions in an organization by arming you with the ability to navigate continuous process improvement and strategic management, as well as to make critical management decisions. You'll be exposed to trending topics in the field, including the emergence of technology and information systems in supporting operations and managing supply chains, and bolster your leadership, communication, problem-solving, planning and coordination skills.
Real-world applicability. That phrase rings true for Trent Lewis, a student who has been able to apply gained knowledge and expertise to a variety of roles in the healthcare and manufacturing sector. An online MBA logistics and supply chain management degree program enabled him to supplement his work experience with valuable informative material that prepared him to meet his goal as an operations manager. "Every course contains information that I am able to apply right away to my projects and management approach," he said.
In addition to gaining a solid background in finance, business and the use of industry-endorsed software, program courses also help students in preparing for the Six Sigma Green Belt certification exam. This certification showcases a commitment to improving business acumen and analytical skills and demonstrates knowledge of various methods used to reduce costs, increase revenue, streamline business processes and improve a business' bottom line.
An International MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management presents the opportunity to examine how supply chains operate at a global level. Students are given a first-hand look at how influencing elements such as politics, international law, economic policies, regulatory systems and cultural beliefs impact decision-making and supply chain operations. If you're interested in working abroad or with an international customer base, an International MBA may be the perfect fit.
A supply chain management MBA curriculum is primarily centered on core business courses, as well as a number of elective and specialized classes. With the ability to tailor course selections to match interests, students can delve into coursework ranging from the Economics for Business to Innovations and Entrepreneurship. As a bonus, students in an online MBA program can pursue a graduate certificate beyond the standard degree program, further boosting their credentials.
An online MBA program allows you to schedule your classes around these obligations through 24/7 accessibility to courses from virtually anywhere in the world: study whenever and from wherever is most convenient - even if you're traveling abroad for work.
With a master's degree in supply chain management, you have the opportunity to pursue a wide variety of high-level positions in this field. You can gain the necessary business skills, knowledge of logistic and supply chain processes and essential technical capabilities required to make a lasting impact in the evolving supply chain landscape.
The developing role of supply chains in the global economy has resulted in this discipline becoming one of the fastest growing sectors in the business world. As a result, the demand for well-experienced and knowledgeable professionals has become paramount, and an increasing number of individuals are returning to school to emerge as worthy contenders for scores of high-paying and respected positions.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/logisticians.htm (viewed online July 27, 2017). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
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