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Integrated Supply Management program earns national ranking

by Cheryl Roland

June 29, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of a warehouse.
ISM grads oversee purchasing, manufacturing and logistics.
KALAMAZOO--Making its debut in a national ranking, Western Michigan University's Integrated Supply Management program has been named 12th among the nation's best undergraduate supply chain management programs, sharing the slot with the University of Maryland and Stanford University.

The ranking by Gartner, the definitive professional organization dealing with the supply chain industry, was announced at Gartner's June annual conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. This is the first time the 19-year-old WMU program has made the top-25 list, having previously been listed in 2009 in the "honorable mention" category.

The ranking is an important step in the development of the program, according to its director, Dr. Bret Wagner.

"It's encouraging to see that the Gartner ranking recognize the quality of the ISM program," says Wagner. "During its nearly 20 year history, the ISM program has used the input from the ISM Executive Council, our advisory board, to drive changes in the program and curriculum so that it stays relevant. This continuous improvement philosophy will be the key for the ISM program to move up the ranking."

Gartner's ranking relied on evaluation of numerous factors, including industry partnerships, additional training required of graduates, curriculum and integration of information technology into the curriculum.

"I have been part of the ISM Executive Council for more than 10 years. The reason I and the other council members participate is we can see that our input is valued and results in changes in the program and the curriculum that produce graduates who are well prepared for careers in supply management," says Chris Flum, vice president for global indirect supply and procurement at Harman International and a 1986 WMU alumnus.
"As an alum, it's good to see that the hard work of the faculty and executive council members in producing a world-class supply management program is being recognized by organizations like Gartner."

In addition to industry input and continuous improvement, Wagner says that the program's innovative curriculum and distinctive elements provide students with skills to begin supply management careers and make them "ready, day one."

WMU's Integrated Supply Management curriculum

Gartner's complete list
Top-25 undergrad programs in supply chain management

1. Penn State University

3. Georgia Tech, Arizona State and Rutgers universities

5. Michigan State University

6. University of Texas-Austin

7. Ohio State University and University of Wisconsin-Madison

9. Texas A & M University and University of Tennessee

12. Western Michigan and Stanford universities and University of Maryland

14. Lehigh University, University of Marquette

16. Syracuse University

20. University of Indiana, University South Carolina, Auburn University, Texas Christian University, University of Kansas and University of Nevada-Reno

23. North Texas University

25. Iowa State and Rider universities

For more information, contact Valorie Juergens at or (269) 387-5964.