Peter Canellis, associate professor of management at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, describes how the teaching of supply-chain management is changing in a time of lockdowns and sheltering-in-place caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Supply-chain management is becoming increasingly attractive as a subject of study, not just at the college and university level, but even in some high schools, says Canellis. The trend was evident before 2020, but has gotten a substantial boost from the coronavirus pandemic, which has driven home to many the importance of resilient global supply chains. Canellis believes the subject will continue to gain in popularity even after the virus subsides.
The pandemic has done more than raise awareness of the supply chain; it’s altering the way it’s taught. The traditional model of “just-in-time” delivery of parts and finished goods, thereby minimizing inventories, is being supplanted by the realization that some level of safety stock is needed to offset the inevitable disruptions that will occur. What hasn’t changed, says Canellis, is the need for “getting the right product at the right time, place and price.” And of that requires striking a careful balance between inventory and cost-consciousness.
Despite the economic downturn, Canellis believes this is a good time for those now graduating with a degree in some aspect of supply-chain management. It’s a matter of demographics, with many Baby Boomers retiring. He urges job candidates to “have your tentacles” out to multiple parts of the supply chain, including shippers, carriers and support companies such as logistics providers.
Internships, of course, are more difficult to obtain in a time of remote work and lockdowns, placing obstacles in the way of students looking to acquire industry experience before seeking full-time employment. “New curve balls are coming at us all the time,” Canellis says.
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.