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Supply Chain Innovation Unloads Elevated Demand For MBA Talent

Supply chain innovations like predictive analytics, 3D printing and wearable technologies are delivering jobs for talented managers across sectors.

Tue Apr 7 2015

The global supply chain has become an increasing focus at companies across sectors as innovative technologies have evolved the supply chain landscape.

But an ageing workforce and a shortage of talent are stifling implementations of innovations like predictive analytics, 3D printing and wearable technologies.

There is a “workforce crisis” and a lack of adequate talent, according to a new survey of more than 400 supply chain executives by professional services firm Deloitte and MHI, the international trade association. Business schools report intensified demand for supply chain managers.

An estimated 600,000 manufacturing positions in the US are unfilled for a lack of qualified workers. In addition, between last year and 2018, there will be 1.4 million new jobs in the logistics and supply chain field, according to a seperate study by MHI.

There has been an increase in demand for business students to fill supply chain positions in the past two years, said Sara Williams, MSc careers relationship manager at Cass Business School.

She said that both pure logistics and delivery firms like Khune + Nagel and GIST, as well as companies that rely on supply chains, such as Amazon and Nestlé, are recruiting supply chain managers.

“Supply chain efficiency is becoming an increasingly significant issue for a widening pool of organisations,” she added. The energy and pharma sectors are also hiring in this area.

The talent demand in e-commerce in particular is a reflection of the changes that technology is bringing to retail, according to Conrad Chua, head of MBA careers at Cambridge Judge Business School.

He said that the jobs for MBAs in e-commerce are now in areas like logistics and managing partnerships with third party sellers.

Traditional supply chains will radically change over the next five to 10 years as a result of new technologies. Companies surveyed by Deloitte and MHI expect to invest heavily in new supply chain tech in the next two years, with the top 17% spending over $10 million.

But the lack of suitable talent and the speed of innovation, with consumer expectations rising, are stressing traditional supply chains to “near breaking points”, said George Prest, chief executive of MHI.

He added: “Companies that continue to use traditional supply chain models will struggle to remain competitive and deliver orders that are accurate and on-time.”

Top business schools including USC Marshall, Cranfield SOM and Warwick Business School run supply chain master’s programs to help fill the gap in supply and demand at the management level.

A wave of schools followed suit recently, including Mannheim Business School and C.T Bauer College of Business. The OneMBA, taught by a group of top schools, recently ran a logistics program at European aerospace firm Airbus.

Companies are adopting data analytics, robotics and automation, and sensors and cloud computing to power their supply chains.

Scott Sopher, principal at Deloitte Consulting, believes we are at the “dawn of an innovation” in the material handling industry. He said: “The convergence of big data, faster and cheaper computer power, and the increasing demands of customers will likely accelerate the adoption of innovative products and services.”

The adoption of data and wearable and mobile technologies are only at roughly 20%, but are expected to grow significantly to about 70% over the next three to five years, according to the study.

The use of big data in particular has ramped up quickly, said Arnold Maltz, associate professor at the supply chain department at W.P Carey School of Business. “We have alumni at Amazon looking at these kinds of issues right now,” he added.

Experts say such innovations are about lowering costs but also to gain strategic advantage.

“The potential is huge,” said Kasra Ferdows, professor of global manufacturing at Georgetown McDonough Business School. Technologies have been rolled out as globalization has made supply chains more fragmented, he added.

According to the survey data, 31% of respondents cited the lack of adequate talent to implement and deploy new technologies as a significant barrier to their implementation.

George at MHI said an ageing workforce has contributed to the talent shortage, but that the changing skill-sets needed for jobs in the supply chain is the biggest factor.

He added: “Company leaders should understand the current and near-term uses of technologies like drones and 3D printing, and prepare for significant industry disruption.”

Supply chains have become departments with senior-level management, according to Eugene Spiegle, vice chair of the supply chain management department at Rutgers Business School.

He added that they are also a way to “sustain competitiveness and manage the fast-paced changes caused by both global markets and changing consumer demands”.

Logistics providers including DHL and software companies are particularly active in recruitment of supply chain managers, said Zeynep Flouret, assistant director of the career development centre at INSEAD, a global business school.

“We see many large businesses demanding talent for SCM [supply chain management] roles, as well as tech companies and large NGOs,” she said.

There are also positions available within consultancy firms, said Sara at Cass, such as Bain & Company, Capgemini and Crimson & Co, a specialist supply chain consultancy.

Student Reviews

Bayes Business School




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Best Journalism school in Europe

When I first stepped onto the campus of City, University of London, I knew I was in for a ride - and not just on the Tube! With its vibrant energy and an impressive repertoire of programs, City U became my home away from home. The Journalism program was kind of a big deal. Rumour was that we were the best in Europe! The lecturers were not just experts in their field; they’re practically journalistic royalty. They were invested, passionate, and had a knack for turning the most flat press release into a riveting news story. With their guidance, I’ve learned to navigate the chaotic world of media like a pro. The campus was a melting pot of every culture, being that we had such a diverse international crowd. Being in the heart of London, I had the world at my fingertips - there was always a new corner to explore, a hidden gem of a cafe to discover, or a street performer! City, University of London wasn't just a university; it was a chapter in my life story that I’ll never forget.




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The teacher-learner ration is manageable, giving each learner a chance to gain personal attention. It is also easier following up on the progress of a student, as the numbers per class is not large. the conducive environment for learning includes clean classes, standard desks, world class instructional facilities and the opportunity to engage lecturers even after their sessions. The team spirit at City is above board, with learners getting chance to learn both from instructors and colleagues. This is the university of choice; the place to be.




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I liked that each class had a manageable number of learners, making the professor-learner ratio favor knowledge acquisition. I also liked that study schedules were manageable, and not overwhelming. The focus on talents and gifts even within the learning environment makes it possible for learners to achieve the best of their potential, and this has worked to the advantage of those that have schooled at City, University of London




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The diversity at City University facilitates interactions and is a direction toward the unity of the world. The classes are well built to match the number and needs of all students regardless of the elements of diversity that set people apart. The use of technology in delivery makes learning even more interesting and achievable. At City University there is no distinction pegged on the issues that make people unique.




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The team of lecturers at the Uiversity are well experienced. Their level of insight and the methodologies of delivery works for the interes of the leaeners. My learning experience was largely boosted by the level of knowledge of the professors at the institution, and their passion to transfer the same to learners. I appreciate every class I attended because of the level of insight I was able to gather




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The best university I’ve been to

The campus and the people I've met have made it a wonderful experience. I was reared in a small town with a graduating class of only 88 individuals, so moving to City University was a huge adjustment for me. My dorm has more residents than my whole high school combined! I enjoy the atmosphere here, and everyone is so friendly. Outstanding academic options and a stunning campus. Really great from beginning to end. The educators genuinely love what they do, and the students are ready to learn. On or around college, there is always something to do with friends, and the social scene is particularly warm.




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Bayes Business School

As a student at City university attending Bayes Business School I would totally recommend choosing this university as the experience is exceptional with great social networking opportunities . Professors are significantly helpful, delivering with excellence and professionalism. Everyone is happy to help and make you feel welcomed in such an esteem university as City, offering exceptional development and guidance through out the course.




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Economics and Politics

Incredibly amazing university, the way they polish students and help them boost their morale and think intellectually is worthwhile. Many universities have international partnerships to allow exchanges between their students. The most obvious subjects for these opportunities would be those that involve languages, and the study of people and places.




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I really like it it’s perfect for me with not too many people and not too few either. All the modules are amazing. I love the toy bar. I love all the societies that I’ma part of. Especially the colour Bollywood society