MIT Puts Management Back in Supply Chain Education

Publication Date 
Monday, January 15, 2007

The days of companies relegating logistics and supply chain to the bottom of the corporate totem pole are long gone.  Supply chain professionals are climbing the corporate ladder at a fast and furious pace, taking on increasing management responsibilities and top leadership positions.

In recognition of this trend, the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics has expanded its management and leadership curriculum within its two masters programs in supply chain management: SCM (Supply Chain Management Program based in Cambridge, MA) and ZLOG (Master of Engineering in Logistics & Supply Chain Management based in Zaragoza, Spain).

This increased focus on leadership has resulted in the creation of the Supply Chain Innovations and Leadership Series (SCILS), which is taking place this month on the MIT and Zaragoza campuses.  This special four-week term brings together the students from both programs for one week in Spain and three weeks at MIT, during which they attend lectures by Supply Chain industry leaders, take part in interactive workshops and site visits, and participate in a month-long supply chain simulation game.  Program directors Chris Caplice (SCM) and Jarrod Goentzel (ZLOG) introduced this special leadership series last year in order to provide their students with a practical perspective on real-world and leadership issues.

This year, the programs recruited a greater number of senior supply chain executives from a variety of Fortune 500 companies to come speak to and interact with the students.  “The idea is to prepare our students with not only the high-level analytical skills needed to solve supply chain problems, but the management abilities necessary to implement those solutions within their companies,” said Dr. Caplice. 

This year’s speakers will cover topics ranging from creating a “leadership culture” to implementing a customer-focused supply chain strategy to addressing the challenges of a global supply chain.  Featured speakers include:

  • Raymond A. Archer III, Vice President of Americas Manufacturing, Dell
  • Alex Niemeyer, Principal, McKinsey & Company
  • Mark Jamison, VP Customer Supply Chain, Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • Simon Osborn, Vice President, Logistics, 7-11
  • Robert Cantow, Vice President of Supply Chain Operations, Boston Scientific Corporation
  • Waheed Zaman - Sr. Vice President Global Supply Chain & Procurement, Chiquita
  • David Friedson - Director, Supply Chain Innovation, Chiquita
  • Ted Schaefer, Director-Global Logistics Design, Rohm and Haas Company
  • Roger Bloemen, Vice President Supply Chain, Solutia, Inc.

In addition to the impressive line-up of speakers, the leadership series also gives SCM and ZLOG students a first-hand look at how supply chain strategies are put into practice through site tours at facilities known for their supply chain prowess.  This year site visits include tours of the GM Opel manufacturing plant, Inditex – Zara’s parent company, PLAZA – Europe’s largest logistics park, Gillette’s Razorblade plant, and EMC’s manufacturing facility.

The Supply Chain Challenge is another innovative component of the four-week series. During this month-long supply chain simulation game, students team up to manage an international high-tech supply chain and compete with the other teams in a virtual marketplace.  This interactive, highly competitive exercise allows the students to implement the strategic and leadership skills they are learning about in the classroom in an almost real-world setting.

“With a nine-month degree program, every day counts. In the fall semester, our students learn the basic theory and tools for logistics and supply chain analysis.  Now it’s time to provide them with a more practical perspective – and teach them how to put those theories to work, which is exactly what this leadership series is all about.  Then next semester, they’ll be ready to delve into the more strategic side of supply chain,” said ZLOG Director Jarrod Goentzel.

The Supply Chain Innovation and Leadership series runs from January 8 through February 2, 2007.

If you’re interested in applying to SCM or ZLOG, both programs are still accepting applications.   For more information about SCM, contact Chris Caplice; for ZLOG, contact Jarrod Goentzel.