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  Supply Chain Trends and Issues : Our Weekly Feature Article on Important Trends and Developments in Supply Chain Strategy, Research, Best Practices, Technology and Other Supply Chain and Logistics Issues  
  - September 16, 2008 -  

Supply Chain Trends: Wright State University Takes Unique Approach to Supply Chain Education

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New Certificate Program Offered in Nine Subject Area; Hands-On Technology Focus; Sharing Insight with the DoD



SCDigest Editorial Staff

SCDigest Says:
The program strikes us as unique in its heavy emphasis on focusing on practical knowledge and hands-on experience, especially in the use of technology.

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There are many great university programs in supply chain management, but a new program offered by Wright State University near Dayton, OH offers an interesting opportunity for supply chain and logistics managers.

The program offers certificate courses in nine subject areas, including: Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment (CPFR); Creating Resilient Supply Chains; Customer Relationship Management; Information Systems Management; Integrated Supply Chains; Lean Supply Chains; Performance-Based Logistics; Strategic Sourcing; and Supply Chain Risk Management. (See WSU Certificate Program).

Each program lasts for four-and-a-half intense days (and nights), and is delivered by a variety of instructors with deep domain expertise and experience. For example, Kate Vitasek, a well-known supply chain consultant and educator, is among the instructors in areas such as supply chain strategy and performance-based logistics; each program uses several instructors with different areas of expertise.

The program strikes us as unique in its heavy emphasis on focusing on practical knowledge and hands-on experience, especially in the use of technology. In the upcoming Integrated Supply Chains program scheduled for October, for example, groups of students develop supply chain strategies and then play out those results in a special simulation tool configured for the course. Part of one day is spent getting hands-on with RFID at the nearby Alien Technology’s solutions lab.

According to Dr. Vikram Sethi, who manages the program at Wright State (WSU), that technology focus is a theme that runs throughout the certificate programs.

“We will have students using real demand planning software, really working with CPFR tools, for example,” Sethi said. “We want to go well beyond just the theory.”

WSU is collaborating with VICS, the organization that administers CPFR standards and provides training, to build out its CPFR program; WSU is developing other similar partnerships in other areas.

(Supply Chain Trends and Issues Article - Continued Below)


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Another unique aspect of the program is the involvement of the US Department of Defense. The certificate program was developed in part to meet the needs of nearby Wright Patterson Air Force base and other DoD personnel, and now offers the opportunity for defense and private sector supply chain managers to share insights.

“Look at Performance-Based Logistics,” Sethi said. “That was originally a DoD concept, but has now moved into the private sector as well. We find defense and private sector managers really benefit from sharing benchmarks and best practices.”

Some certificate courses are starting in October. The schedule for other programs will be announced soon.

“We think this is a nice alternative to a formal degree program,” Sethi said. “Some supply chain and logistics managers want to focus on a specific area, and get the training they need in just a week.”

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