Lifelong Learning: Enhancing Your Supply Chain Skill Set at Any Age
Even the most seasoned supply chain professional will tell you they can always learn a little bit more about their field. Whether it’s mastering a new software program or simply brushing up on your business skills, the more you learn the better you can invest that education into growing your business.
Work experience will only get you so far. That’s where supply chain education programs come into the picture. From degree programs at top-tier universities to certificates at trade schools and distance learning facilities, today there are more continuing education options than ever before.
If you are considering returning to school to brush up on or better hone your supply chain education skills, or even looking to recruit new employees with the most cutting-edge education, check out these programs, and get some ideas about what to look for when searching for a supply chain education program.
TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS
A training or certificate program can boost your skills and resume without the heavy investment in a degree program. They also generally take less time to complete than degree programs, but they may not carry as much weight as degree programs would, either. Still, they provide valuable education and insight into many specific aspects of supply chain, and those skills can still be very useful to your business. Check out:
Northwestern University-Kellogg Executive Education. This program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management runs just three days and offers executive training on transportation, outsourcing, facilities management, inventory and more. It gives students a further peek into the latest supply chain technologies and techniques to help them keep running their businesses in a way that works for today and the future.
American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). A professional supply chain organization with its own certification program, APICS is open to Association of Supply Chain Management (ASCM) members as well as non-members. The program offers students strategies to level up their skills, earn the APICS certification and do so without the time investment of a major degree.
Though they require significant time and often a significant financial investment, degree programs not only provide valuable education, but they also pad your resume so you can carry the education with you should you ever transfer jobs. Degree programs can also help improve your salary and position at your current job. Here are some of the top supply chain higher education programs in the country.
Michigan State University. Ranked No. 1 in supply chain and logistics management programs by U.S. News & World Report for three years running, Michigan State’s full-time MBA program covers everything from supply-chain management to logistics systems and technology. The program offers certificates ranging from Master to Advanced Master in topics such as global supply chain management and integrated supply chain management. Many other MSU-specific certificate options are also available.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The supply chain management program at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the No. 2 ranked program by U.S. News & World Report, which also places MIT’s business school at No. 3 overall. Meanwhile, Eduniversal ranks MIT’s supply-chain program the No. 1 program of its kind in the world. The MIT program will earn you your master’s in supply-chain management in just 10 months. The program covers all aspects of supply-chain management, and the school is the founding member of the MIT Global Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence Network (SCALE), an organization that allows for collaboration between students, faculty, researchers and industry experts. The SCALE program was designed to promote new research, processes and technologies for the betterment of the industry.
UNDERGRAD AND HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMS
Whether you’re in a professional setting and never got a complete supply-chain education, you’re looking for programs for someone else, or you’re trying to recruit new supply chain graduates, undergraduate and high school or vocational supply chain programs are excellent resources. These programs are often taught by industry insiders and have access to some of the newest technology and techniques, giving program graduates an up-to-date education in the supply-chain industry. Also, because they are focused on supply chain and generally nothing else, these programs can be completed faster than traditional college degree programs, which means less time waiting for the right candidate.
Rutgers University. The Supply Chain Education Partnership at Rutgers in Newark, New Jersey, is a comprehensive program for high school students who would like a career in supply-chain management. Though the program is just one week long, it covers a great deal of information, including business logistics, global procurement and sourcing as well as information technology systems and systems, applications and products (SAP). Open to local students, the program is designed to introduce students to the world of supply-chain management and hopefully attract them to the field as a university major and future professional.
Other vocational/high school programs. Many high school programs offer hands-on training through classes, vocational school and internships to help train the younger generation in all facets of supply-chain management. For some, these programs may be enough of a baseline education to be hired straight out of school without needing a degree; for others the classes may pique an interest in the field and help students determine their college major. Check your local school district for schools that may offer these programs.
Online classes allow students to attend a supply chain education program from anywhere in the world, which is especially helpful when no such program exists at your local university. Many prestigious universities offer online classes, so there is no need to miss out on a top-quality education simply due to geography.
University of Texas, Dallas. The university boasts of a distance learning master’s program that includes supply chain management courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. However, the distance learning program also makes it easy for busy professionals to get a world-class education without having to live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The comprehensive program covers every facet of the supply-chain industry, including management, operations and quality of service and goods.
With so much changing in the supply-chain industry, there’s only so much you can learn by doing things one way, whether it be reading textbooks, attending webinars and lectures, or simply working in the field. Both education and hands-on experience in the supply-chain industry are necessary for comprehensive mastery. From the highest person at the executive level to middle management or the newest worker on the warehouse floor, a combination of skills from all ends of the spectrum are invaluable keys to your supply-chain education—and to the success of your business.