As organizations across the globe strive to provide greater value while streamlining their costs, supply chain management has become an increasingly important skill set for project managers to master. From production to distribution, the supply chain incorporates nearly every aspect of any organization’s projects. In response to this growing demand, New England College’s Master of Science in Management program with a concentration in project management emphasizes supply chain management skills and strategies for aspiring project managers and business leaders.
Discover how the Master of Science in Management – Project Management degree incorporates this in-demand component and learn how supply chain management skills can prove essential in the business world.
What Supply Chain Management Entails
While supply chain management concerns the large-scale task of overseeing the entire supply chain from beginning to end, this professional field entails a long list of skills, concepts, and objectives. Specialists in this area typically focus on devising strategies for streamlining operations, lowering costs, and increasing profits for an organization, as these methods are key to gaining competitive advantage in any industry.
To improve or enhance a supply chain, many experienced project managers begin by analyzing processes related to product development, material sourcing, and manufacturing. Supply chain managers often work to develop strong vendor networks and manufacturing partners, and they constantly strive to improve these aspects by building professional relationships and negotiating favorable contracts.
Effective supply chain management also extends to an organization’s inventory control process, as maintaining optimal inventories can impact relationships with both suppliers and retailers. In an increasingly automated environment, experienced supply chain managers must consider adopting smart technology and advanced information systems that enable organizations to maintain accurate inventories and seamless communication with partners.
In many cases, supply chain specialists must partner with information technology (IT) teams to streamline data collection and dispersal while ensuring data security and adhering to legal and regulatory requirements. Partnering with IT stakeholders can enable supply chain managers to analyze data, monitor metrics, and use information to drive change as necessary elsewhere in the supply chain.
At the end of the supply chain, project managers also strive to streamline logistical aspects ranging from shipments and transportation to storage and warehousing. As such, they oversee distribution networks, build relationships with retailers, and shape sales policies. Ultimately, effective supply chain management results in client satisfaction and continued loyalty, which drives profits and impacts every aspect of an organization.
How the Master of Science in Management Degree Emphasizes Supply Chain Management
Students who enroll in New England College’s Master of Science in Management program can specialize in project management, a concentration that highlights myriad aspects of supply chain management. From the essential program outcomes to the graduate coursework to the capstone, project management students can hone their understanding of critical supply chain components.
As they develop strong management skills through the MSM program, students can learn to identify and solve complex supply chain problems while adapting to budget constraints and revenue goals. By focusing on leadership skills, aspiring project managers learn how to drive organizational change and gain support of supply chain stakeholders. Students also develop important communication skills, adopting verbal and written strategies for building key supply chain relationships and advancing persuasive arguments.
By working on collaboration skills in a master’s program, students also learn to build effective teams, navigate a changing workforce, and optimize supply chain performance. Strengthening strategic thinking skills also helps students develop a keen understanding of how each part of the supply chain works together and how to make smart decisions quickly when problems arise. By championing ethical standards, the Master of Science in Management program could also help students assess legal and regulatory challenges and manage supply chain resources ethically.
Several courses required for the program’s project management concentration are designed to help students take their supply chain management skills to new heights. Supply Chain Management introduces students to the basic concepts of this discipline, including effective workflows, scheduling strategies, risk management, and human resources oversight. The curriculum can equip students with a comprehensive understanding of logistics management, competitive strategy, and cost analysis.
After completing this course, students come to understand the latest developments in supply chain management strategy, methods for making operational decisions, and some of the issues surrounding real-time supply chains. As they study concepts such as customer relationship management and supply chain automation, students may be able to design and implement innovative solutions in a corporate context.
Additionally, the program’s Economics for Decision Making course emphasizes the impact of professional relationships and organizational networks on developing effective supply chains. Also highlighted are how to apply professional ethics and standards to supply chain decisions, how to navigate conflicts among stakeholders, and how to maintain organizational values among supply chain partners.
The Organizational Communication, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution course delves deeper into developing strong communication skills, negotiating successfully, and addressing ethical issues that may arise. Students can gain high-level skills in contract negotiation, personnel management, and conflict resolution.
To complete the Master of Science in Management program, students must also produce a Strategic Capstone, which requires researching and investigating actual issues in today’s business world. Students pursuing the project management concentration can complete a capstone exploring a pervasive supply chain issue and gain experience identifying, researching, and resolving a real-world problem.
Since students can complete this project management degree online, they can continue to pursue professional goals while earning their graduate degree.
Why Supply Chain Management Skills Are Essential in Business
Whether or not an individual’s career path includes a focus on supply chain management, the related skills are essential in every corner of the business world, from the service to the manufacturing sectors. A strong understanding of logistics and supply chain components can enable executives to navigate an increasingly global market, streamline a complex distribution network, and develop strategic partnerships. This skill set can also help corporate leaders to identify organizational issues, analyze performance metrics, and drive necessary change.
As Benji Green, a senior director of Avaya, a global business communications company that fundamentally transformed its processes using strategic supply chain management initiatives, states in Supply Chain Digital, “We streamlined and flattened the organization, reduced headcount, improved accountability, and expanded responsibility for our top talent. Simultaneously we collapsed disparate processes into one best-in-class process.” For Avaya and countless other companies, applying high-level supply chain management skills can prompt growth, drive much-needed change, and improve outlook.
In many industries, possessing supply chain expertise may also help you advance in your career and increase earning potential. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the job market for logisticians and supply chain managers will grow 7 percent between 2016 and 2026, which equals more than 10,000 new jobs in this field. A growing demand for logistics in an increasingly globalized market is likely to be the biggest driver for growth in this field.
Since supply chain managers have the necessary skills to increase profit and manage complex processes, the BLS anticipates that these skills will continue to be in demand, especially as supply chains grow increasingly complex. The BLS estimates that the median wage for logisticians and supply chain managers is $74,170, while the highest 10 percent of professionals in this field earn more than $117,310.
Project manager salaries are expected to increase every year through 2027, U.S. News & World Report notes. Professionals who hold an advanced degree or credential, such as a Master of Science in Management, may be better able to compete in the marketplace as well as aid in salary-related negotiations. Ultimately, supply chain expertise and project management skills could help students accomplish many career goals.
Supply chain management skills are necessary for navigating many key aspects of the business world, and a project management degree may help students acquire the skills they need to chart a professional path in this field. Visit the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at New England College to find out how an online Master of Science in Management degree could help you pursue a career in project management or corporate administration.
U.S. News & World Report