College of Business celebrates, recognizes supply chain major

Sequan Gatlin

A trip from Ames to China is just one of the possibilities students in the supply chain management major have, and the College of Business is celebrating the major with a week of recognition.

The department of supply chain and information systems, along with the Supply Chain Management Club, conducted the College of Business’ first ever week of major recognition. The week was created to promote awareness of the supply chain management major and careers in the field.

Students in the supply chain management program learn about the four stages of any product production: planning, sourcing, making and distributing. Students must manage product production, purchases, assembly and distribution to complete this process.

Every year, students have the opportunity to oversee a 10-day supply chain process from Ames to China to witness this four-stage process.

Students start with the distribution of a product in Ames, travel to California for experiences with delivery and finally to China to observe how the product is made and loaded for delivery. Once the students get to China, the process is reversed back to America as they must oversee the production to distribution.

Sree Nilakanta, chairman of supply chain and information systems, said this opportunity allows students to see the human, social and machine aspects of production.

Nilakanta said the awareness week was needed because many students are uncertain of what supply chain management truly is.

“If you asked students about accounting or finance, they may have a better idea of what professionals in these fields do rather than if you asked about supply chain,” Nilakanta said. “The week was used to inform students and faculty within the college and the university of opportunities involving a supply chain major.”

Employers from 12 companies, including John Deere, JB Hunt, Ruan Transportation and 3M Company, sent executive representatives to the Gerdin Business Building to answer students’ questions about the supply chain field.

Representatives interacted with students at conference tables in the granite hallway for three to four hours each day of the week to talk about the positions and pay a person with a supply chain degree may receive. The companies were not here to advertise themselves, but to lay out the expectations of a supply chain management position.

Danny Johnson, associate dean of undergraduate programs, said the College of Business plans to continue Supply Chain Major Awareness Week, depending on the participating employers’ feedback.

“Though this [awareness week] is the first to happen in our college, we plan to have more awareness weeks for the supply chain major and all of our majors once the employers inform us of how much traffic came through,” Johnson said.

The college would have to make additional awareness weeks for accounting, finance, management, marketing and information systems if they choose to make a week for the remaining college of business undergraduate majors.