The Robert B. Willumstad School of Business could see an M.S. in Supply Chain Management.

by Jordan Chapman

Supply chain management is nothing new, but its rapidly evolving industry is. The demand for educated workers in the field has heightened considerably while the supply is lacking. The discrepancy is reflected in the current average salary these positions offer.

“Where many students have to work very hard to find a job, this is one of those things where these companies are out looking for people,” said Allan Ashley, Ph.D., director of the Elizabeth and Allen Don Center for Innovative Technology and Decision Sciences and professor in the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business Departments of Management and Marketing and Decision Sciences.

The Willumstad School of Business could see a new 36-credit-hour M.S. in Supply Chain Management enter its degree lineup in the coming semesters.


Willumstad School of Business officials have confirmed that the degree, developed by the Don Center, is currently in the works and is making its way through approval processes. Though it hasn’t yet been approved and still has some ground to traverse, School leaders are optimistic that it’s not a matter of if, but when.

Dr. Ashley said the degree would give Adelphi business students a continued edge in today’s job market, a statement backed up by countless articles found on the Web.

“Thanks to advanced technology, a global marketplace and increased competition, undergraduates and MBAs who have specialized skills in supply chain management are at an advantage in the job market,” a 2013 Bloomberg Businessweek article read. “According to a study by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, nearly 200,000 U.S. supply chain jobs will go unfilled each year through 2018 for lack of qualified talent,” it continued.

The Institute for Supply Management’s 2014 Salary Survey referenced more than 2,300 supply chain management professionals who listed an average annual salary of $101,608.

Dr. Ashley explained that the new degree is in high demand because today’s technology and global marketplace have expanded supply chains from manufacturing and highly powerful mathematical logistics to something much broader in nature. In a nutshell, successful supply chains have moved out of the warehouses and now involve industries of all disciplines, from marketing and advertising to purchasing, operations management, procurement, logistics, human resources, finance, information technology and more.

What used to be an upstream market—taking an idea into production and shipping it to the customer—has been reversed, meaning that, in some cases, consumer demand can dictate a product. As an example of this, Dr. Ashley used Zara, a clothing company that can morph customer demand into a product hanging on the rack in two weeks.

“Think about assembling clothing: buttons from one country, fabric from India, dyed in Thailand, assembled in China. All these things have to come together,” he said. “These types of supply chains give organizations tremendous competitive advantage,” he continued. It also supports a new saying circulating among industry professionals: Businesses don’t compete, supply chains do.

Dr. Ashley explained that some of the biggest problems arise when analyzing what the demand will be, which calls into question product need and determines product placement. It sounds like the perfect environment for the use of big data, and Dr. Ashley confirmed that.

“Job openings, comfortable salaries and the prospect for advancement have caused the academic community to take notice,” Dr. Ashley said. “We want to build strong careers for our students. This has tremendous potential.”

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