Why Study Operations and Supply Chain Management?


Hear what professionals say regarding the importance of operations in business.

Professionals’ Comments

Scott P. Nelson, Chief Operations Officer – Resource Optimization and Innovation

Within the health care industry, supply chain represents the single largest expense behind labor, accounting for between thirty to forty percent of an organizations overall cost structure. It also is an area that has traditionally been loosely managed, providing significant opportunity for professionals with strong knowledge of supply chain principles to bring discipline and progressive thinking that can be the difference between a health care provider surviving or ceasing to exist in an industry under intense pressures to transform how it operates. As Mercy Health’s clinically integrated supply chain organization, ROi is always on the lookout for talented individuals who have undergraduate and graduate degrees in Supply Chain Management and a passion for helping us “get health care right” through the application of the best people, processes and technologies. We believe the competencies learned through effective supply chain management will be key enablers to health care industry reform and allow providers to operate more efficiently and continue to remain relevant in this ever-changing industry.

Jeff Kuhn, Vice President – Supply Chain Planning & Operations - Brown Shoe Company

Supply chain management is a multi-faceted discipline that plays a critical role in the competitive success of virtually every business. Its primary objective is to plan and secure the necessary supply or resources a company offers, and deliver those goods or services in the most efficient way possible to meet customers’ requirements. At Brown Shoe, supply chain management professionals work closely with our footwear brand teams to plan raw material and production factory space, drive execution and continuous improvement in operating practices and use of system tools, and manage the flow of inventory thru warehouse operations and ultimately distribution to our customers. The diversity of supply chain management roles provides a wide variety of rewarding career opportunities in a dynamic global business environment.

Gary Proctor, Vice President - Global Supply Chain Energizer

“Supply chain management decisions impact corporate and customer financial and market share, domestically and globally. Here at Energizer, supply chain management teams work cross-functionally in a process-oriented environment focused on continuously improving every element of our global supply chains incorporating planning, procurement, production and final distribution to customers. A key success factor for a colleague in supply chain includes a degree in supply chain management where they have gained exposure to general management and logistics technical skills, innovations such as lean or six-sigma, and practiced working in teams to solve business and/or supply chain-related problems. Energizer has hired over a dozen new graduates with undergraduate degrees in supply chain management and logistics during the last several years. We view this degree as a strong foundation for working and succeeding in the consumer packaged goods supply chain arena.”

Kurt Grimminger, Vice President -of Supply Chain Operations - World Wide Technology

“In today’s globally competitive environment, companies are looking at all aspects of their business model to reduce cost and improve the customer experience. The typical supply chain can include off shore sourcing, customized configurations, multiple sales channels, and a demanding customer base. To compete in the global marketplace, the need for continuous improvement across the entire order fulfillment process is constant. Exposure to and understanding the ever evolving strategies to address these business challenges, including the adoption of technology supporting automation to improve supply chain performance, will allow our employees to operate more effectively and meet these challenges head on. Over the last few years, we have seen more graduates with supply chain degrees both within the organization as entry level hires and with our subcontractors. This also includes current employees going back to school to pursue supply chain related degrees.”

Kevin Lawrence, Vice President for Global Logistics and Supply Chain - Monsanto

“Supply chain management professionals are critical contributors to our company performance and results as the importance of an effective company supply chain function, to not only improve cost performance and customer satisfaction, but also to provide competitive advantage and to continue to gain momentum in corporate America today.” 

David Thole, Director of Operations - The Boeing Company

“Supply chain is core to the success of the Boeing Company. Boeing works with more than 22,000 suppliers and partners globally and is the largest U.S. exporter and one of the top 20 U.S. importers, making our ability to manage our supply chain imperative to our success. Our supply chain managers are entrusted to guarantee all participants in the chain are competent, synchronized and executing at the level necessary for our products and services to be delivered with the level of excellence demanded by our customers. We actively seek new talent in our supply chain ranks that have a solid knowledge and education in the field of supply chain to ensure we remain on the leading edge in this critical business area.” 

Thomas Goldsby, Ph.D Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management - University of Kentucky at Lexington

“Supply chain management offers the critical linkage between demand creation and the fulfillment of demand. Students versed in the cross-functional nature of supply chain management are prepared to address one of the greatest opportunities for a sustainable competitive advantage by understanding key business processes that drive profitable business growth. Supply chain management professionals participate in fundamental decisions associated with current and future business success, such as the determinations of which goods/services to provide, with whom to work closely both downstream (customers) and upstream (suppliers), when to walk away from business and when to proceed, and how to structure activity within the company and with supply chain members for concerted action. The skills and techniques developed by SCM students find ready application in all organization forms — whether for-profit, not-for-profit, or governmental. As demand for SCM professionals grows, the supply of trained professionals remains limited. The escalation in demand and constrained supply yields excellent job placement and career advancement opportunities for students versed in SCM.” 

Gary Welker, Former Vice President of Logistics - Anheuser-Busch

“A well managed and properly integrated supply chain is necessary for companies to control/reduce their “cost of goods sold” category and at the same time meet or exceed their customer expectations, such as on time product delivery and quality of the product. This applies to both domestic and international business transactions. Supply chain management, executed properly, provides companies a competitive advantage in their industry and a source of revenue in addition to the sales revenue. Hiring graduates with supply chain / logistics experience was a real “win” for Anheuser-Busch because this person could immediately add value / results to the company’s supply chain efforts. Also, supply chain / logistics graduates moved quicker through the Logistics division succession planning model.” 

Marty Tendler, Vice President of Logistics and Global Procurement - Nestle-Purina

“The importance of supply chain management is more critical today than at any time in our history. The competitive environment throughout the world requires knowledgeable people that understand the entire value chain from raw materials to the delivery of products to the consumers. Today’s supply chain manager requires people that are capable of managing trade-offs throughout the supply chain to deliver the best value to our consumers. At Nestle-Purina PetCare, we continuously are looking for graduates with degrees in supply chain / logistics. The positions range from working in our factories and distribution facilities, corporate procurement and logistics, as well as customer supply chain positions in our sales organization.”