Unlocking the Secrets of Supply Chain Management: Insights from Dr. Seth Powless

In the complex world of modern commerce, supply chain management serves as a cornerstone, facilitating the efficient flowHeadshot of Seth Powless of goods and services from inception to delivery. With 19 years of experience, Dr. Seth Powless plays a significant role in advancing this field, serving as the program director for the Associate of Applied Business in Supply Chain Management Technology degree program at the University of Cincinnati. In a recent interview, Powless provided invaluable insights into the essential role of supply chain management, addressing misconceptions and offering a glimpse into the industry’s future.

Understanding the Role of Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management encompasses the strategic coordination of resources, processes, and technologies to optimize the movement of goods and services.

“Supply chains are more significant now than ever before because we now live in a global world relying on each other for goods and services,” said Powless. “Most finished goods are produced in multiple countries; there is a reliance on a global scale of supply chain and operations management.”

From raw materials sourcing to final product delivery, supply chain management plays a pivotal role in ensuring operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and customer satisfaction.

Dispelling Misconceptions

Addressing common misconceptions surrounding supply chain management, Powless challenged notions of complexity and limited career prospects. Drawing on industry research, Powless emphasized that supply chain management is not solely focused on cost reduction or confined to warehouse environments. Instead, it encompasses various disciplines, from project management to global supply chain dynamics.

“Supply chain management is an exciting discipline that could include many different areas from orchestrating military logistics, to ensuring seamless travel arrangements for college and professional sports teams, to the delivery process we experience when ordering from online retailers like Amazon and Temu,” said Powless. “Supply Chain Management or Operations Management professionals are at the forefront of everything!”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of logisticians is projected to grow 18 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. This further underscores the importance and opportunities within this dynamic field.

Embracing Technological Advancements

Technological advancements are reshaping the landscape of supply chain management. “Today’s supply chain professionals rely on numerous areas of technology that we introduce in the classroom,” said Powless, “Automation, AI, data analytics, SAP systems, the Internet of Things, machine learning, autonomous machinery, and robotics are just some of the areas that supply chain professionals can expect to interact with.”

The Supply Chain Management Technology program equips students with cutting-edge skills, ensuring graduates thrive in an increasingly digitalized supply chain landscape.

Critical Components of Supply Chain Management Education

Powless outlined the essential components of a comprehensive supply chain management degree program, advocating for a curriculum that covers transportation, logistics, project management, and global supply chain dynamics.

“Our 100% online program at the University of Cincinnati has all those areas, and more, in the coursework.” Powless continued, “We also have opportunities for students to express themselves creatively, which is something employers are seeking.”

Drawing on industry feedback, Powless stressed the importance of fostering soft skills development to prepare students for success in the industry. Powless said, “Employers have been saying for years that supply chain professionals often struggle with soft skills, and because of that, our program emphasizes Universal Design Learning (UDL), which exposes students to using different mediums and approaches to express themselves.” Ultimately, the program at the University of Cincinnati aims to equip students with the holistic skill set necessary to excel in the dynamic field of supply chain management.

Promising Career Prospects

Supply chain management offers promising career prospects, with a global shortage of qualified professionals driving demand across various industries. Drawing on labor market data, Powless identified emerging areas such as sports supply chain and retail logistics as ripe for exploration, highlighting abundant opportunities for graduates.

“There are a significant number of openings annually in the field, and this trend is forecast to continue through 2030,’ Powless said.

Employers are actively recruiting supply chain professionals to fill critical inventory management, procurement, and distribution roles. They evaluate potential candidates based on academic credentials, work experience, and passion for the field. By pursuing a degree in supply chain management, students can position themselves for long-term success in a growing field.

Envisioning the Future

Looking ahead, Powless envisions a future characterized by agility, innovation, and change management in the supply chain industry. “SCM professionals will need to adapt to evolving technologies, global challenges, and dynamic market conditions,” said Powless.

Recent developments, such as the rise of e-commerce and the growing importance of sustainability, have reshaped the supply chain landscape, creating new opportunities and challenges for industry professionals. By embracing change and innovation, supply chain management professionals can drive positive outcomes and create value for their organizations in the years to come.

Meeting Student Needs

The Associate of Applied Business in Supply Chain Management Technology program at the University of Cincinnati caters to student needs by offering flexibility, a contemporary curriculum, and opportunities for skill enhancement.

“We rely on student feedback and industry insights to continuously improve our courses and meet students’ evolving needs,” said Powless.

As Powless guides the supply chain management program into the future, his vision encompasses academic excellence, industry relevance, and innovation, ensuring graduates are well-equipped to navigate the rapidly changing global supply chain landscape.

How Can I Get Started?

Let us help you complete the next step towards reaching your goals while balancing other life responsibilities! Reach out to us today to learn more and take the next step toward your Associate of Applied Business in Supply Chain Management Technology degree. Our knowledgeable team of Enrollment Services Advisors are here to assist you.

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