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Rawls College of Business Creates Supply Chain Management Major

by - Aug 29, 2016

This story was provided by George Watson, senior editor for the Texas Tech University Office of Communications and Marketing.

The new major will be offered under the Area of Marketing and Supply Chain Management.

Rodney Thomas

In a global economy, getting goods and services to the right places at the right times is critical to business success. Managing supply and demand is an integral part of business success.

The world is increasingly seeking experts in logistics, inventory management, distribution and customer service, among other areas. The demand for experts who can fill these roles is only expected to increase in the coming years, and Texas Tech University has taken steps to produce graduates ready to fill those roles.

The Area of Marketing and Supply Chain Management within the Rawls College of Business has created a major that will offer a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management, which ensures the flow of goods, services, finances and information from the point of origin to the point of consumption along global supply chains. Formerly a concentration, or minor, under the marketing umbrella, the new major will be offered beginning with the upcoming semester.

“There is tremendous demand in industry for supply chain management expertise,” said Rodney Thomas, the area coordinator of Marketing and Supply Chain Management. “Getting the right products to the right place at the right time is a timeless and essential need for every nation in the world. Although our students were doing very well with the supply chain management concentration, we wanted to give them even more in-depth training in core supply chain functions and broaden their career opportunities.

Stephanie Thomas

In Thomas’ proposal for the new major, he cited statistics from the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook that suggests the supply chain management job outlook for 2021-22 is expected to increase 22 percent with an additional 27,600 jobs.

Since 2000, the proposal said, logistics costs in the U.S. ranged from 7.8 percent to 10.1 percent of gross domestic product while inventory costs ranged between 13.2 percent and 14.9 percent of gross domestic product, thus solidifying the need for effective supply chain managers.

“The job market is exceptional,” Thomas said. “Texas Tech supply chain management placement rates for the past few years have been nearly perfect, and average starting salaries are approaching $55,000.”

Thomas estimates approximately 40 students will enroll in the major in the first year, and that number will grow to 100 by the fifth year. Courses in the major will range from introduction to supply chain management to marketing research, international commerce, global sourcing, business process improvement and corporate finance.

Students who pursue this major will be required to meet student learning outcomes (SLO) that demonstrate proficiency in improving supply chain processes, proficiency in the timing of ordering inventory and how much to order, proficiency in reducing transportation costs and success in employment.

Stephen Rutner

Joining Thomas as instructors in the new major will be assistant professor Stephanie Thomas, who holds a doctorate in logistics and supply chain management, and Steve Rutner, a professor of practice who holds a doctorate in logistics and transportation.

Rodney Thomas said the new courses were offered in the spring and received favorable feedback from students, employers and alumni. There are plans to add a fourth faculty member in 2017 to support the undergraduate program and expand the course offering into the MBA programs.

Thomas added Texas Tech’s supply chain management major has concentrated on improving diversity in the industry. That will make its graduates even more attractive to future employers.

“At Texas Tech, we have substantially increased the number of underrepresented groups in the supply chain program over the past three years,” Thomas said. “More than 50 percent of the students in our program now come from underrepresented groups such as females and minorities, more than double the national average.”

This supports the efforts outlined in the Rawls College of Business Strategic Plan. Learn more about the LEADER 2020 Strategic Plan and follow our progress on Twitter at #RawlsLeads.