About

“The ISM program provided me with a strong foundation of supply chain knowledge, which has greatly benefited me in my career. At IndustryStar, we look to bright new ISM team members to help us drive client service excellence.” —Bill Crane, Founder and CEO, IndustryStar.

Western Michigan University's Center for Integrated Supply Management is housed within the Haworth College of Business, one of the largest schools of business in the United States, is the academic home to nearly 4,000 undergraduate students majoring in 16 specialized areas of business. An additional 500 graduate students study business administration and accountancy.

The Haworth College of Business is among an elite group of fewer than 5 percent of business schools worldwide that are accredited at both the undergraduate and graduate levels by the AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. It is among a select 1 percent of business schools worldwide that have additional specialized AACSB accreditation for their accountancy programs.

The ISM program is been ranked by Gartner in the top 10 undergraduate supply chain programs and is often recognized for its unique curriculum. In 2015, Software Advice ranked the ISM undergraduate program No. 2 in the U.S. for emphasizing technology, software and quantitative tools in curriculum.

The unique curriculum of the ISM program is the result of integrating supply chain, information technology, continuous improvement and engineering curriculum from five departments across two colleges. The pedagogy stresses the integration of supply chain activities via information technology and the application of supply chain concepts and tools through industry projects, internships, consulting and applied research.

BEST IN THE COUNTRY

Why are students in WMU’s Integrated Supply Management undergraduate program the best in the country? It is because of our bilateral approach to supply chain education. Coupling classroom information with actual business experience is the key to creating knowledge. It is this combination that makes our students the best.

The WMU ISM program is more than a curriculum—it is a complete educational experience. In addition to providing more supply management courses in the major than other well-known programs, the curriculum includes the following:

Classroom simulations: 

  • ERP/SAP Configuration: In the ERP System Management course, students spend the semester configuring SAP’s ERP software to manage a company.
  • Try-Z: A required 3-day manufacturing simulation focuses on the application of lean and quality principles and tools, and demonstrates to students that problem solving structure, discipline and openness to change lead to significant improvement in quality (80 percent) and productivity (60 percent). Students demonstrate the use of targets, measures, lean principles and quality principles tools.

Internships: Required internships provide ISM students the opportunity to apply the principles, concepts and tools developed in the classroom to supply chain issues in actual business settings. The knowledge gained by these experiences enhances the value of future classroom experiences and provides a context for students to challenge current supply chain paradigms. Additionally, internship sponsors are afforded the opportunity to develop relationships with students, mentor development and acquire future talent.

Class projects: A required course expands the student’s experience with process management concepts and techniques (e.g., single minute exchange of dies, value stream mapping, value engineering, etc.) by demonstrating their use solving real world supply chain issues using the A3 problem solving process. Projects are formulated between the instructor and our industry partners and student teams are assigned to analyze the identified issue, evaluate alternatives and present recommends. This collaboration provides students a unique opportunity to continue to develop their skills in a professional setting.

Bronco Force projects: Bronco Force is the platform in which ISM student and faculty resources are applied toward solving critical supply chain issues for our industry partners. From these projects, not only do students receive invaluable experiences designing and implementing supply chain solutions using largely Lean-Six Sigma methodologies, but also, companies have access to world-class WMU resources and solutions. Its “start to finish” approach to solving industry problems sets WMU ISM students apart from other undergraduate supply chain program in the country.

Case competitions: Students regularly participate and place high in supply chain competitions around the United States. Their preparation for these events provides a hands-on experience tackling a real-world supply chain challenge that helps solidify their professional development. 

The program continues to evolve through continuous reevaluation of curriculum, including significant input from industry partners. The goal of the program is to develop supply chain professionals who can create competitive advantage for their organization in cost, time, and quality by integrating supply functions into an efficient value chain network. These value chain networks are demand driven, right sourced, and work end-to-end to respond to customers’ ever changing needs. This is the future of supply chains—flexible, agile and responsive—and this is where WMU’s Integrated Supply Management program is leading the way.

Recent graduates of the program are job ready from day one, often for positions above entry level and are prepared to take complete ownership for their decisions and strategy.

Center for Integrated Supply Management

The WMU Board of Trustees has established a Center for Integrated Supply Management to be housed in the Haworth College of Business. The center creates a focal point for integrated supply management education, research and resources. The purpose of the space is to stimulate communication, collaboration and innovation among faculty across disciplines, among business executives across industries and among undergraduate and graduate students across fields of study. Such diverse interaction provides a tool for inducing cultural change, speeding up innovation and enhancing the learning process, thus moving supply management thinking to the next level of performance.

Bronco Force

Bronco Force provides consultative services to address the supply chain challenges confronting organizations of all sizes and complexity levels. Faculty and students who make up the Bronco Force determine the best methods to solve those problems. We have worked with such diverse partners as the city of Detroit, Impact Label Corp., Command Electronics and Stryker Corp.—to name a few.

As the program continues to grow and expand, there are many ways our alumni and friends can get involved and support:

  • Center for Integrated Supply Management
  • Experiential learning laboratory
  • Internships and externships
  • Job opportunities
  • Program support
  • Student support and scholarships

The integrated supply management program prepares students for a range of careers in the supply management field.

Procurement

ISM graduates direct the buying activities for manufacturing companies. They are responsible for identifying global sources of materials, selecting suppliers, arranging contracts, managing relationships and ensuring quality. Graduates coordinate with materials management and manufacturing to ensure timely delivery of the appropriate materials. There are increasing opportunities in indirect procurement—procurement of everything a firm buys that does not go into its products. The WMU ISM program is one of just five programs in the nation that partners with ISM Services Group to integrate services procurement into the curriculum.

Manufacturing

ISM graduates supervise production and assure quality in a manufacturing setting. They are responsible for supervising manufacturing engineers, production and quality associates, machine operators and other plant equipment operators. Graduates coordinate production scheduling, quality control, labor requirements, material requirements and finished goods inventories.

Logistics

ISM graduates oversee a variety of logistics functions, including warehouse and distribution operations, forecasting, planning, logistics systems and customer service. They also coordinate third-party relationships with logistics suppliers and other members of supply management.

Not only do students become well-versed in these areas, they also develop skills in team management, interpersonal communication and group problem solving.