The State of Supply Chain Education: Less Theory, More Practice Needed

Findings from ChainLink Research Survey on Supply Chain Education Requirements for 2011


ChainLink Research recently conducted a survey on the state of supply chain education and needs for 2011. People feel lukewarm about how well we are doing in supply chain education. Are existing supply chain education programs covering the right subjects and with good content? Sort of. Do they have great instructors? Not really. And are courses convenient to attend and reasonably priced? No!


. . . . . views perpetuate myths and drive the wrong solutions.” Not exactly a resounding endorsement.
Some comments were even harsher, which we won’t publish here as they would be considered “flaming” if this were a blog.

Less Theoretical, More Practical
By far the most common comment on the state of supply chain education today was that it needs to be much less theoretical and more grounded in reality, taught by people with industry experience. There were many dozens of comments on this theme—here are a few cogent examples:

  • “There is a significant lack of operating experience in the academic ranks. We need experienced executives teaching—real supply chain people from the industry as part of the program—rather than educated PhDs who never worked in the business.“
  • “Most of the programs result mainly in just creating awareness. Rarely do participants get a solution for their real problems.”
  • “We need practical training that can be put into actual use, exercise-oriented and hands-on experience with the tools being used today. Taking it from the theoretical into the practical and addressing key topics from a business perspective including risk, sustainability, etc.”
  • “Focus on how to get the job done in daily work—how to convert the business decision into supply chain parameters to formulate a sustainable supply chain towards the customer.”

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