Meeting Supply Chain Challenges – MCOB Responds

Alvin Williams

Daily news reports are replete with supply chain-related challenges and opportunities. Every facet of our lives is affected in some way by supply chain effectiveness and efficiency.  Some of the most recent examples of supply chain malfunctions include the following: (1) Colonial Pipeline Company’s ransomware cyber-attack that crippled a system that covers 5,500 miles of pipeline, transporting 3 million barrels of oil per day from Texas to New York; (2) Chicken shortages, where some restaurants are running out of chicken sandwiches, wings, and tenders, caused by tight supplies based on weather, demand patterns, and the Chicken Wars (McDonald’s, KFC, Wendy’s, and Chick-fil-A); and (3) the shortage of chlorine that might threaten summer fun in backyard swimming pools.  What do these scenarios have in common?  Despite all three incidents coming from differing industries, each of their supply chain networks  have been compromised in various ways  that ultimately lessen the capacity of these systems to satisfy the needs and wants of consumers like us.

To manage the uncertainties of complex global supply systems, a cadre of supply chain talent is essential. To help fill this talent void, the Mitchell College of Business established a new major in Supply Chain and Logistics Management (SCLM). This degree prepares students for the demands of this ever-emerging arena. This is especially the case in our region, which boasts the Port of Mobile, two airports, two Interstate systems, five Class 1 railroads, access to 15,000 miles of inland waterways, and a number of distribution and production giants. We are strategically positioned to make a big splash in the supply chain world.

The new SCLM major, with new courses in Business Logistics, Port Management, Strategic Sourcing and Purchasing Management, Distribution Center Management and Materials Handling, Supply Chain Analytics and Current Issues in Supply Chain Management, students are guaranteed exposure to each of the key components of the supply chain. Coupled with a supply chain-oriented internship, students will graduate well-equipped to tackle scenarios such as the gas, chicken, and chlorine challenges mentioned above, and many more.

The SCLM major is a sterling example of how the Mitchell College of Business rises to the occasion to meet the pressing knowledge and needs of major sectors within the business community. As we continue our efforts to lead and respond to the competitive global marketplace, we invite all our partners to partake of this journey and to enjoy the ride!