KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's celebrated integrated supply management program recently added a new accolade, being named second in the nation for its emphasis on teaching technology, software and quantitative tools in its undergraduate program.
The new ranking is by Software Advice, a company that does detailed research on thousands of supply chain software applications as well as system analysis.
The firm recently conducted a national study of supply chain programs, selecting that discipline because of the rising demand for supply chain professionals and the key role that information technology plays in this complex field. The goal of the study was to help students gain insight into the curricula of what are commonly regarded as the top programs in the United States.
According to the report, the unique, integrated nature of WMU's supply chain program contributed to its spot at the top of the list. WMU's program is second only to Pennsylvania State University and placed ahead of Michigan State University, University of Tennessee and Arizona State University.
"Western Michigan University's integrated supply management program is truly special," says Forrest Burnson, research associate with Software Advice. "It ranked highly on our list due to the emphasis the program places on teaching software and technology in the classroom, in addition to its unique cross-discipline approach that requires students to take specialized engineering courses. WMU is well ahead of the curve in preparing a new generation of supply chain professionals, and other universities should look to the example it has set for what a truly modern supply chain management program looks like."
The program is part of WMU's Haworth College of Business. Faculty in the program, college officials say, work diligently to ensure its relevancy for students and for employers who will be seeking talent from the program. Many of the information technology courses have been developed by WMU faculty in close consultation with members of the program's advisory council, which includes representatives from the top supply chain employers in the country.
WMU also ranked seventh on the Software Advice list in terms of overall reputation and was one of only four schools possessing both a high technological emphasis and a high reputation rating on the list.
"The integration of business and engineering courses has provided a strong foundation for our program, and with our additional emphasis on technology, we are well positioned to prepare students for the future of the supply chain field," says Dr. Robert Reck, professor of marketing and co-founder of the program.
"Based on our research and also feedback from employers, we know that supply chain professionals who are fluent in relevant information technologies and their applications within the industry are poised to be the best employees and leaders in the field."
WMU's program was also given special recognition for its courses in enterprise resource planning and geographic information systems. In particular, geographic information systems was noted for its value in risk management, a growing area of emphasis in the supply chain field.
Integrated supply management program
Ranked No. 5 in undergraduate supply chain education by Gartner, WMU's ISM program has been recognized nationally by several organizations and publications for its leadership in preparing students for careers in supply chain management. WMU's curriculum combines engineering, information technology, logistics, supply chain and business education. The program also includes Bronco Force consulting teams, which give students experience in business consulting with companies on their supply chain challenges. The WMU Center for Integrated Supply Management was established in 2014 by the Haworth College of Business.
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