“The 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 WMU 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, where students may major in 17 specialized areas of business.
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 integrated supply management program is ranked by Gartner in the top undergraduate supply chain programs and is often recognized for its unique curriculum.
The curriculum of the program is the result of integrating supply chain, information technology, continuous improvement and more. 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 ISM students experience classroom information coupled with actual business experience. It is this combination that gives supply chain students the experience that employers value so that they graduate with job offers in hand.
The WMU integrated supply management 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:
- ERP/SAP Configuration: In the ERP System Management course, students spend the semester configuring SAP’s ERP software to manage a company.
- Try-Z: This required three-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.
- ScrimmageSIM: Students experience various aspects of planning and scheduling in the Production Management and Control course via simulation during the semester. Some simulation scenarios have students experiment to learn how order quantities affect cost. Other scenarios have students working in teams to operate a company and compete by seeing which team can plan and schedule production the most efficiently. The student team with the highest earnings before taxes takes the top spot, and students are able to see how their results compare to those of their fellow classmates. ScrimmageSIM provides a realistic business environment that engages students.
Internships: Required internships provide 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 through these experiences enhances the value of future courses and provides a context for students to challenge current supply chain models. Additionally, internship sponsors are afforded the opportunity to develop relationships with students, mentor development and acquire future talent.
Class projects: In the supply chain program, there is a required course that 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 with the A3 problem solving process. Projects are formulated between the instructor and our industry partners, and student teams are assigned to analyze the identified issues, evaluate alternatives and present recommendations. This collaboration provides students a unique opportunity to continue to develop their skills in a professional setting.
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, solidifying their professional development.
The program continues to evolve through continuous re-evaluation 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 organizations in cost, time, and quality by integrating supply functions into an efficient value chain network. 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.
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. This 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.
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
- 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.
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 supply chain program is one of just five programs in the nation that partners with ISM Services Group to integrate services procurement into the curriculum.
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.
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 problem solving.