Great news this week for NC State as SCM World announced its top 25 supply chain management programs globally. The NC State Supply Chain program was listed as one of the top 25 programs in the world, which says a lot about the dedication and work of our faculty and students over the past few years. Kevin O’Marah, the Chief Content Officer for SCM World, notes that the list naturally rewards the famous like Michigan State, MIT and Penn State, but it also flags a few that stand out more because of their connection to industry than their historical prestige. The list also reflects the comment by a 2016 SCM World survey respondent: “I don’t mind the brand of university, as much as his/her hands-on experience with supply chain.”
In my opinion, “hands-on” is what we do, and is the primary reason we are on this list. An element that has been a core part of the NC State supply chain program since 1999 (when the SCRC was founded) is the hands-on experience that supply chain students get, which gives them an extra edge in the marketplace. Specifically, every MBA and undergraduate student works on at least one (and often two) 3 credit projects, involving a real company, a real supply chain problem, with real data, and by the end of the semester is accountable for delivering a real result! It doesn’t get much more hands-on that this.
When I tell people that our students are doing actual supply chain projects, sometimes they don’t really believe me. So in this post, I’ve listed the projects that my online MBA class will be working on this semester with our partner companies. Each of these projects will involve weekly meetings, regular sharing of data, online discussions and presentations, and continuous learning and applied research. Many of them are heavily analytically focused, and require market research, analysis, heavy data crunching, and strategic thinking and recommendations. Every project has an executive at the company sharing their insights, and in effect, helping to educate each of our students in how their organizational supply chain functions, and the context of the project in their strategic decision-making process.
American Red Cross – Benchmarking best practices for IT procurement, and exploring opportunities to consolidate spending, develop improved visibility over IT assets.
Bayer Crop Science – Energy market intelligence research to explore the advantages of de-regulated market as well suggest alternative Energy installations for sites that are in regulated Energy markets.
Center for Environmental Farming Systems – Market research project for Working Landscapes, a local food distributor, which seeks to “dominate the plate” by collaborating with other farms and food enterprises to offer a wider array of locally grown/made foods—both raw and lightly processed—for schools.
John Deere Ag & Turf Division – Develop a analytical approach for costing out landscaping jobs based on job size, selected equipment & product costs.
John Deere Ag & Turf Division – Develop an analytical approach for managing tractor, tractor implement and tractor attachment market intelligence.
Lenovo – Defining and applying industry-best processes to establish a detailed value chain cost breakdown analyses for highest volume products, to benchmark and identify value opportunities.
Merck – Delivery Visualization tool that can differentiate / show supply misses that have impact to flow within the plant / downstream customers with tracking and trending capability.
MetLife – Supplier segmentation tool that provides an automated way to determine and validate the services offered by suppliers and a scoring (rating) model based on supplier project delivery.
RJ Reynolds – Review historic data to determine effects of weather, geographic location and grower performance on the outcome of a particular year’s tobacco production.
Vinimaya – Conducting research on long-tail spend in procurement and research on the markets organizing around the challenges and opportunities that it presents.
Vinimaya – Quantifying the extent to which “rogue spend” exists in companies, and understanding the magnitude and reasons for this type of spending in the procurement process.
As you can see, these are very real and very challenging problems. And having our students work on these types of projects is what makes our supply chain program ranked as one of the best in the world.