The Supply Chain Management Institute at the University of San Diego is planning a makeover to provide a more comprehensive supply chain management education, Managing Director Joel Sutherland said in an interview.
“A university is similar to a manufacturing company in that, to survive and prosper, it must produce a product that is in demand,” he wrote in the latest edition of Distribution Business Management Journal.
San Diego’s program in the past was geared towards upstream functions such as procurement and demand forecasting, as well as inbound logistics for production operations. What it lacked was a concentration in distribution management. Many schools tend to be strong in transportation or another subset of the supply chain, Sutherland told American Shipper.
At the direction of its board, the Supply Chain Management Institute undertook a review of its entire curriculum to create an end-to-end supply chain approach that mirrors how businesses view their requirements. As part of that process, the department recently completed a survey of companies involved in logistics and executive interviews to find out what types of knowledge and skill sets they expect from students.
Once the new courses are established the school must make sure it has the appropriate faculty to teach them, Sutherland said. The institute plans to pull in faculty who specialize in industrial engineering and other disciplines from around the university.
The proposed curriculum must still go through several rounds of university approval before it becomes a reality.
Sutherland, whose background is in operations for major transportation companies such as Sealand Services and J.B. Hunt, said schools would do well to hire more professionally qualified instructors, who often are less expensive than Ph.D.s and have the real-world experiences that make them more credible than many junior faculty members.
Another reason to hire former business people as faculty members, according to Penn State logistics professor John Langley, is they are not fighting to get tenure and can focus on the teaching mission.