Medcave Journal of Business Management

Current Issues.

Research Article

What are we teaching our Operations and Supply Chain Students

Joseph Walden

Supply chain management is a new but ever evolving field, which results in an ongoing gap between what the field requires and those possessing the skills necessary to meet the field’s requirements. While academic preparation of supply chain management professionals is one critical way to address this gap, research suggests that such academic programs possibly are contributing to, rather than closing, that gap. As noted, by Birou et al. [1] though, there are few studies that have examined the substance of the undergraduate supply chain management curriculum. Using a mixed methods approach, this study is the largest analysis of undergraduate syllabi of introductory supply chain management courses by looking at seventy-eight introductory supply chain management syllabi from both Gartner Top 25 Schools and those not on the Gartner list, as well as job announcements for entry level supply chain management position. The syllabi revealed that inventory management and procurement/ contracting were the most frequently listed topics, however, the syllabi analysis also revealed a number of courses containing a large content of traditional operations management topics. This gave credence to the claims of Alakin et al. [2] that some courses were operations management courses that had their titles changed to supply chain management. The syllabi of the Gartner Top 25 Schools when compared to the frequency distribution for the job announcements revealed an 88% match between what is being asked for and what is reflected in the syllabi. The syllabi for the non-Top 25 Schools revealed a 41% match after doing a thematic grouping of similar topics. The thematic groupings were created by using the APICS Dictionary and APICS Body of Knowledge for related terms. The thematic grouping helped to link related terms into related groupings of key terms and helped to compare the terms from the syllabi to the groupings used by Johnson et al. [3] in their initial supply chain management education framework. My research removed the modules of location analysis and product design and relocated these topics to a module or grouping titled “Operations Management Topics” with the understanding that some operations management understanding is necessary for teaching supply chain management. The new framework also moved the Johnson and Pyke grouping of service and after sales support to a new grouping titled “Customer Support.” The new framework also added modules or groupings for supply chain management basics and terminology, professional development and emerging supply chain management concepts. The 2000 framework also included a module for marketing which is a separate business discipline and while students need to understand the link between marketing and supply chain management, eliminating this module frees up classroom time for other critical topics