If you are interested in a career in supply chain management, then an online supply chain management MBA program might be for you. It offers students insight on how supply chain management works within the overall structure of business sustainability. They help professionals develop their management and leadership skills, while leveling up their supply chain management.
But, you might still have some questions that need answering. About the degree? The sector? Let’s dive in!
What is supply chain management?
Supply chain management oversees and handles the entire production flow of goods and services. It begins with the raw components and ends with the final product delivery to the consumer. An organization creates a network of suppliers. These act as links in the chain. The entities move the product from raw material suppliers to organizations that deal directly with customers.
How can I understand how supply chain management works?
According to CIO, there are needed components of traditional supply chain management systems.
- Delivery and Logistics
Planning in Supply Chain Management
Planning and managing are required for all resources. Producers must meet customer demand for products and services. When the supply chain is realized, one determines metrics. These show how the supply chain is effective, efficient, delivers value to consumers, and meets organizational goals.
Sourcing in Supply Chain Management
This process involves choosing suppliers to provide a good or service needed to create the product. Sourcing includes establishing procedures to monitor and manage supplier networking. Key processes include authorizing supplier payments, ordering, receiving, and managing inventory.
Manufacturing in Supply Chain Management
Managers must organize the activities needed. They include accepting raw materials and manufacturing products. They test for quality, package for delivery, and schedule for shipping.
Delivery and Logistics in Supply Chain Management
This process involves coordinating customer orders, scheduling deliveries, dispatching loads, invoicing customers, and processing payments.
Returning in Supply Chain Management
This last step involves creating networks or processes to replace defective, excessive, or unneeded products.
Why is supply chain management so vital to business?
Productive supply chain management systems control cost, time, and waste in the production cycle. The industry standard has transformed into a just-in-time supply chain. Retail sales automatically signal replenishment requests to manufacturers.
Retail shelves can then be replenished as quickly as products are sold. One way to further improve the process is to analyze the information from supply chain partners. They can see where advanced improvements can be installed.
By analyzing data, effective supply chain management adds value to the supply chain cycle:
- Identify potential issues
- Dynamically optimize price
- Streamline the allocation of available to promise inventory
Identify potential issues
Many times, consumers order more product than a manufacturer can provide. The customer then complains of poor service. Through practical data analysis, manufacturers can anticipate the shortage before the consumer gets disappointed.
Dynamically optimize price
All seasonal products have a pre-determined shelf life. These products are typically tossed or sold at deep discounts at the end of a season. Hotels, airlines, and other entities with perishable products adjust prices dynamically. They remain consistent with demand. Analytic software allows companies to use similar forecasting techniques to improve margins. This process includes offering hard goods.
Streamline the allocation of available to promise inventory
Analytical software tools help to allocate resources and schedule maintenance based on factors. These variables include actual orders, sales forecasts, and promised delivery of raw materials. Manufacturers using the software can verify a product delivery date when the order gets placed. This step significantly reduces incorrectly-filled orders.
What are some essential features of effective supply chain management?
The supply chain acts as an organization’s “face” for customers and consumers. The more effective a brand’s supply chain management is, the better it protects its public reputation and long-term growth.
Simon Ellis wrote “The Path to a Thinking Supply Chain.” He defines supply chain management by identifying the five “Cs” of the future’s healthy supply chain management:
Staying Connected in Supply Chain Management
Organizations need access to unstructured data from social media. They also need structured data from the Internet of Things (IoT). More traditional data sets are available through conventional B2B integration tools and ERP.
Fostering Collaboration in Supply Chain Management
Improving collaborative relationships with suppliers is vital. It means increasing cloud-based commerce networks that enable multi-enterprise engagement and collaboration.
Remaining Cyber-aware in Supply Chain Management
The supply chain must fortify its systems and defend them against cyber-hacks and intrusions. This concern should be an enterprise-wide priority for all organizations.
Supply Chain Management Must Remain Cognitively Enabled
The AI platform is the modern supply chain’s control tower. It coordinates, collates, and conducts actions and decisions across the supply chain. The current supply chain is automated and self-learning.
Proper Supply Chain Management is Comprehensive
Analytics must be scaled with data in real time for optimal success. Insights will be fast and comprehensive. Latency has no place in the supply chain of the future. Many supply chains already utilize this process. Their participation in cloud-based commerce networks has proven itself. We are at an all-time high with efforts underway that bolster analytics capabilities.
How Has Supply Chain Management Developed Over the Years?
Yesterday’s supply chains concentrated on physical assets’ availability, cost, and movement. Modern supply chains deal with data management and products and services bundled into solutions. Today’s supply chain management systems deal with more than merely where and when. Relevant supply chain management influences product and service quality and delivery. It sets price, customer experience, and ultimate profitability.
Just a few years ago, a typical supply chain accessed 50 times more information than five years before that. However, less than 1/4 of this data is being analyzed. This measure indicates the value of critical, time-sensitive data can be lost. This information can include weather data, unexpected labor shortages, political turmoil, and microbursts in demand.
Today’s supply chains take advantage of large amounts of data generated by the chain process. Data scientists and analytical experts curate them. Supply chain managers focus on optimizing this data’s potential. They will analyze it in real time with minimal latency.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted Supply Chain Management?
Lots of research shows how the pandemic of 2020 severely disrupted supply chains. Covid-19 influenced many enterprises to adjust their supply chain management. They came out of the process more resilient, networked, and collaborative.
Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) pointed out a survey of 200 senior-level supply chain leaders in late 2020.
The survey included topics like COVID-19’s impact on supply chains and organizational priorities for the next few years. It includes accelerated development of digital/autonomous supply chains.
There are some essential findings from the report as they reveal what we can expect for the future of supply chain management:
- The 2020 pandemic had adverse effects on supply chain management
- Large changes are on the horizon for supply chains
- Supply chain management’s future is autonomous and digital
The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges for global supply chains. Multiple national lockdowns slowed or temporarily stopped the flow of raw materials and finished goods. As a result, there was a disruption in manufacturing. However, the pandemic did not create new challenges for supply chain management. In some sectors, it brought to light previously unnoticed vulnerabilities. Many organizations have endured staff shortages and losses during and since COVID-19. But overall, it accelerated and magnified problems that already plagued the supply chain.
Ernst & Young LLP survey sheds light on Covid’s effects on supply chain management. The 200 participants were senior-level supply chain executives at companies across sectors. They included retail, consumer products, life sciences, high-tech, industrial products, and automotive organizations in the United States that report over US$1b in revenues.
There was an aftermath of disruption from the 2020 pandemic. The survey found that organizations in the US plan to alter their supply chain strategies. They will become more networked, resilient, and collaborative with suppliers, customers, and stakeholders. They will continue to invest in supply chain technologies. These include robotic process automation and AI while retraining workers to meet goals.
The 2020 Pandemic had Substantially Negative Effects on Supply Chain Management
Some business sectors fared worse than others. Life sciences organizations reported few effects. The COVID-19 pandemic caused worldwide disruption across education, trade, finance, and health systems. Businesses and societies had little to compare these effects over the past 100 years. Only 2% of survey-responding organizations reported they were fully prepared for the pandemic. Significant disruptions affected 57%. Seventy-two percent reported a negative effect while 17% reported a “significant negative” impact, and 55% reported “mostly negative.”
Substantial Changes are on the Horizon for Supply Chains
Leading the list of improvements includes supply chain visibility, efficiency, and resilience.
The executive supply chain survey indicates something. Reskilling supply chain workers and efficiency will be top priorities for the next few years. These findings are expected as cost optimization in the supply chain is always a priority. This fact remains even considering building out additional resiliency. Supply chain visibility has become the number one priority from now on. This attitude closely matches a 2019 EY supply chain survey where visibility ranked as the top factor in an effective supply chain.
Supply Chain Management’s Future is Autonomous and Digital
The journey to lights-out operation and digitization has begun in earnest. The pandemic has accelerated many preexisting trends. Supply chain management is no exception. 64% of surveyed supply chain leaders say digital transformation will increase due to the pandemic. The race is on for digital automation. Over half of surveyed executives report the autonomous supply chain is either here or will be by 2025. These components include robots in warehouses and stores, fully automated planning, driverless forklifts and trucks, and delivery drones.
Initiating digital technologies does not equate to creating a fully digitized and autonomous supply chain. It also requires networked supply chain technologies. Planning, procurement, manufacturing, and logistics must combine. They must work beyond the organization’s four walls. This reality is the difference between merely doing digital and actually being digital.
Consider autonomous operations in terms of “self-driving,” “lights-out,” and “hands-free.” Enterprises use AI technologies across the supply chain to help make prescriptive and predictive decisions. This principle can include responding to adjustments in customer demand. Changes are seen instantly in the value chain (the organization, its supplier, and its supplier’s supplier). They can immediately adjust supply plans and production schedules. Digital and autonomous technologies help make people’s tasks easier. They result in a more efficient and optimized supply chain.
How Can I Begin a Career in Supply Chain Management?
Get an MBA
The Master of Business Administration degree is the world’s most popular graduate management program. Employers trust it, and business students flock to it in droves. Thousands of ambitious students and working professionals apply to various MBA programs annually.
As a generalist degree, the MBA gives you fundamental management training. Enrolled students get a holistic view of business across the accounting, marketing, and finance sectors. These learners also develop vital soft skills and leadership capabilities.
Well-known MBA alum includes CEOs of multinational organizations, successful entrepreneurs, and even former Presidents. George W. Bush, Sheryl Sandberg, Michael Bloomberg, Sundar Pichai, Tim Cook, and Satya Nadella all have MBAs.
Listing an MBA on your resume can put you on the top of the stack for employers. The true value of the MBA goes beyond three letters on a sheet of paper. During an MBA, enrolled students build their business knowledge. They grow their professional network and boost their career and salary potential.
What Kind of Business Professional Benefits from an MBA degree?
There is no stereotypical MBA student. Historically, MBA students went on to attain careers in finance or consulting. Today’s average MBA class is equipped with students from a wide range of professional experiences and backgrounds.
Over sixty-five nationalities were represented in Harvard’s MBA class of 2022. Half of those students were women, and 45 percent were US minority students. Graduate students come from healthcare, technology, manufacturing, nonprofits, the military, and the media. Professionals in finance and consulting complete MBA programs.
At INSEAD, nearly 90 nationalities are represented in the MBA class. Students come from academic backgrounds in business, engineering, the arts, and political science.
Reasons to Get an MBA
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reports the top motivations for prospective MBA students to include:
- Salary increases
- Promotions to senior positions
- The chance to manage people
- International work opportunities
These benefits are just some of the many reasons to consider an MBA.
Many of the nation’s best business schools accept students lacking an academic business background. These students want to learn management skills and advance their careers. The MBA is a perfect program for students wishing to start their own business or progress within their current organization. MBA students also switch functions, industries, locations, or all three simultaneously.
An MBA does more than equip students for their next job after graduation. It is a life-changing experience that enables professionals to make career changes five, ten, and fifteen years after they complete their program. The skills they acquire and the network they build last long after graduation.
What Types of MBA Programs Exist?
The traditional full-time MBA degree remains a popular option. But modern MBA programs come in all shapes and sizes. Business schools offer many types of MBA programs. Each is suited to the unique needs and profiles of graduate students.
The Full-time MBA
Full-time MBA programs offer an authentic, immersive, and on-campus experience. These degrees are designed for early and mid-career students. They are interested in completely changing their career paths. The United States two-year, full-time MBA program is the most popular.
One-year MBAs are especially popular in Asia and Europe. These programs offer an expedited experience with less time out of the workplace. Full-time MBAs come in many formats. INSEAD’s MBA takes only ten months to complete. London Business School offers flexible exit points. These are after fifteen, eighteen, and twenty-one months of study.
The Online MBA
Online MBA programs are known for their flexibility and convenience. These super-flexible, part-time MBA experiences allow students to continue working. They can study from the comfort of their homes. Some online MBA programs require a short residential component. These residencies can be over a weekend or a week out of the year. There are an increasing number of entirely online MBA programs. Many online MBAs allow students to pay per module and schedule a customized study time. Durations for online MBA programs vary. Most degrees take two years to complete.
What Type of Specializations Accompany MBA Programs?
The MBA is a generalist degree in business. However, MBA students can specialize in areas that interest them. Business schools offer many MBA specializations. There are MBA programs in healthcare management, finance, and business analytics. You can study entrepreneurship, marketing, human resources, and supply chain management. These programs usually combine core MBA courses in management with a track of concentration courses emphasizing your area of interest.
In the US, STEM MBA programs have concentrations that incorporate STEM components. International graduate students from STEM MBAs can remain and work in the United States for up to three years without a required H-1B visa.
MBA students can also pursue dual degrees at many elite business schools. Graduate students can combine their MBAs with a business master’s or cross-university program. MBA students interested in law may choose a JD MBA. That program is offered within law and business school partnerships.
What are Some of the Nation’s Best Online MBA Programs in Supply Chain Management?
Here are 50 of the best Online Supply Chain Management MBA programs that top business schools have to offer. All are fully online and AACSB accredited. Schools are listed in alphabetical order.
Abilene Christian University
The College of Business Administration at ACU delivers an excellent online MBA in supply chain management. This stellar program can be accessed virtually anywhere in the world.
Alabama A&M University
Online MBA students ready for a top-notch program in supply chain management will want t discover Alabama A&M University. Its College of Business and Public Affairs features a program worth its weight in gold.
Arizona State University
The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University works hard to offer graduate students excellent programs. Its online MBA in supply chain management features relevant coursework at an attractive price.
Arkansas State University
Graduate students at the College of Business at Arkansas State University thrive in the online MBA in supply chain management program. This 100% online degree features a solid curriculum and access to mentors.
Ball State University
The Miller College of Business at Ball State University combines academic rigor with schedule flexibility. Its online MBA in supply chain management gives distance learners a competitive advantage.
Online MBA students looking for a program in supply chain management need to look no further than Baylor University. The distance degree shines as a program in the stable at Hankamer School of Business.
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University’s College of Business has the right stuff. Its online MBA in supply chain management equips today’s business leaders for tomorrow’s success.
Central Connecticut State University
Graduate students looking for an entirely online MBA in supply chain management will enjoy Central Connecticut State University’s offering. The School of Business features a stellar degree.
Clayton State University
Online MBA students interested in supply chain management will appreciate Clayton State University’s offering. The College of Business off-campus program goes the distance in many ways.
East Carolina University
The College of Business at East Carolina University specializes in offering graduate programs with value in mind. Its online MBA in supply chain management gives enrolled students a competitive edge.
Fayetteville State University
The AACSB accredits the online MBA in supply chain management at Fayetteville State University. The Broadwell College of Business and Economics program has a lot to offer today’s graduate students.
Florida Southern College
Florida Southern College’s Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise delivers the goods. Its online MBA in supply chain management offers prestige and value.
Governors State University
Graduate students needing a remarkable business program will appreciate Governors State University. An excellent online supply chain management MBA program is at the College of Business.
The Lewis College of Business at Marshall University features graduate programs for the nation’s top graduate students. Its online MBA in supply chain management outperforms its competitors.
Missouri University of Science & Technology
Missouri University of Science & Technology’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Business maintains one of the nation’s best online MBAs in supply chain management. This degree features a solid curriculum and seasoned staff.
Distance learners are looking for an online MBA in supply chain management. They will discover the College of Business at Ohio University has what they need.
Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University leads the way with a supply chain management-focused online MBA. The distance degree shines as a program featured at Strome College of Business.
Oregon State University
There is a supply chain management online MBA degree at the College of Business at Oregon State University. This program balances sold business theory with hands-on opportunities.
The Krannert School of Management at Purdue University delivers an online MBA specializing in supply chain management. This distance degree offers a top-shelf curriculum with no campus visits.
Robert Morris University
Robert Morris University is committed to training tomorrow’s business leaders. It features a high-quality online supply chain management MBA at the School of Business.
Online MBA programs in supply chain management train tomorrow’s logistic experts. Rowan University’s exceptional distance degree is featured at the Rohrer College of Business.
The Grove College of Business at Shippensburg University delivers a high-quality online MBA in supply chain management. This business degree will equip tomorrow’s leaders with relevant business training.
Southern Arkansas University
Online MBA programs in supply chain management give students convenience and flexibility. Southern Arkansas University’s David F. Rankin College of Business distance degree has many excellent features.
Southern University and A&M College
The College of Business at Southern University provides distance learners with hands-on application and solid business theory. This online MBA in supply chain management is a winner.
Texas Wesleyan University
Online MBA students interested in supply chain management will thrive in an accelerated program. Texas Wesleyan University School of Business Administration allows students to move quickly through the program.
The McAfee School of Business at Union University is no stranger to high-quality business education. Its online MBA with a concentration in supply chain management gives students a stellar curriculum at an attractive price.
University of Dallas
The University of Dallas Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business delivers a top online MBA in supply chain management. This degree focuses on equipping students with relevant business training.
University of Hartford
An online MBA in supply chain management trains graduate students to work in an exciting field. The Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford empowers business students with an excellent program.
University of Houston-Downtown
The Marilyn Davies College of Business at UH Downtown features one of the best online MBA programs in the nation. The specialization in supply chain management gives graduate students a competitive advantage.
University of Illinois at Springfield
The University of Illinois at Springfield’s College of Business and Management offers an incredible graduate program for distance learners. Its online MBA in supply chain management is big on value and quality.
University of Maryland, College Park
A supply chain management online MBA is available at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. This distance degree fuses academic rigor with a flexible schedule.
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Charlton College of Business holds a tradition of providing stellar distance degrees. Its online MBA in supply chain management is no exception.
University of Michigan-Flint
Distance learners are looking for value from a reputable business school. They need to check out the supply chain management online MBA at the School of Management at the University of Michigan-Flint.
University of Missouri, Columbia
The Trulaske College of Business at the University of Missouri, Columbia, has created an online MBA in supply chain management. This degree features excellent networking potential.
University of Nebraska Omaha
Today’s online MBA students in supply chain management need value and prestige. The College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha delivers in both areas.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Distance learners interested in an online MBA in supply chain management need to discover the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The university’s College of Business delivers a top-notch degree at an attractive price.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The Bryan School of Business and Economics at the UNC Greensboro leads the way in distance learning. Graduate students with an online MBA in supply chain management thrive.
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Online MBA students at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke enjoy first-rate instructors. The School of Business’s stellar curriculum delivers an excellent program to nationwide learners.
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Discerning graduate students will want to research the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s online MBA in supply chain management. This degree from the Cameron School of Business features a challenging and rewarding curriculum.
University of North Texas
For years the G. Brint Ryan College of Business has built a reputation for providing distance learners with excellence in business education. The business school’s online MBA in supply chain management at the University of North Texas shines.
University of South Dakota
The AACSB accredits the online supply chain management MBA at the Beacom School of Business. This stellar program at the University of South Dakota is one of the state’s best degrees.
University of Texas at Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas award-winning Naveen Jindal School of Management sets graduate students up for success. Its online MBA in supply chain management offers convenience and premier business education.
University of West Florida
An entirely online MBA in supply chain management can be a game changer in business leadership. The College of Business program at the University of West Florida gives students benefits that will last a lifetime.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Lubar School of Business is well known for quality business education. Its online MBA in supply chain management delivers insight and value.
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Leaders at the College of Business, Economics, and Computing have designed a stellar supply chain management program. The online MBA at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside requires no campus visits.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
A top-notch online MBA in supply chain management is waiting for you at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The university’s College of Business and Economics features this degree for business leaders.
Wayne State University
Wayne State University’s online MBA in supply chain management is a game changer. It features a robust curriculum and seasoned instructors. Mike Ilitch School of Business leaders provides distance learners with excellent business education.
Western Illinois University
The College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University features an online MBA in supply chain management. Enrolled students learn about Supply Chain Negotiations. They cover Project Management and Inventory Strategy throughout the program.
Western Kentucky University
Online MBA students looking for a coinciding graduate certificate to accompany their distance education will like what Western Kentucky University offers. The Gordon Ford College of Business online Supply Chain Management MBA is a winning degree.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester Polytechnic Institute has an online Supply Chain Management MBA program. It is delivered at the Robert A. Foisie Business School. The entirely online MBA program combines WPI’s signature project-based educational approach with a best-in-class cohort-style format.
What Can I Expect to Learn in an Online Supply Chain Management MBA?
An online MBA in supply chain management is an excellent way to learn supply chain fundamentals. Students enrolled in those programs gain a solid foundation in business principles. The best online supply chain MBA programs teach distance learners how to use analytics to improve operational effectiveness.
- go on to make the supply chain a source of competitive advantage
- analyze relationships and interactions with supply chain partners through legal and ethical lenses
- assess supply chains for effectiveness and efficiency
- evaluate the effect of individual processes on the supply chain
- use a systems approach to interpret the competitive advantage and interrelationships of an effective and efficient supply chain
In addition, online MBA supply chain management students gain technical skills and business knowledge from a traditional business degree program. The distance program provides graduate students with a framework to think critically, work collaboratively, and approach complex workplace issues holistically. Graduates emerge as well-rounded and agile business professionals who can make organizational decisions through systems thinking.
How Will a Concentration in Supply Chain Management Help My Career?
Professionals with an online MBA in supply chain management expertise are qualified for many jobs in the field. They can also work in other industries. One of the best things about supply chain management is that the principles apply to all businesses. Virtually every business requires efficient and streamlined processes to ensure customer satisfaction. There is a high demand for supply chain management professionals in all organizations.
Professionals who boast an online supply chain management MBA are equipped. They can take on management positions in business operations or any other role in supply chain management. Job titles held by online MBA students include:
- Manager of Global Sourcing
- Strategic Sourcing Manager
- VP of Supply Chain Operations
- Supply Chain Performance Analyst
- Business Operations Manager
Many future supply chain managers are considering an online MBA degree focusing on supply chain management. These potential business leaders may not be sure what jobs are available in their area. It could prove helpful to search sites like LinkedIn and Indeed. These sites show jobs and skills like those listed in this guide. Given the ever-expanding growth in supply chain management, you will find many positions that will use your supply chain management interest and skills.