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July 2, 2019

21st Century Supply Chain

The University of Denver has launched new graduate-level credentials to help prepare professionals for the dynamic field of supply chain management — an industry that accounts for 37% of all jobs in the United States. Offered jointly between University College, the Daniels College of Business, and the Transportation Institute at the University of Denver (DTI), this graduate program provides end-to-end knowledge of supply chain management. Jack Buffington, program director and professor of the practice at the University of Denver, is hoping to prepare emerging leaders and career changers to solve problems using supply chain knowledge.

How would you describe the 21st century supply chain and how is it proving disruptive?
Today’s 21st century supply chain is significantly more fluid and dynamic than the traditional linear relationships of the 20th century.   Business leaders must be able to adapt quicker through their supply chains to lead in their markets, driven by thought leaders such as Amazon, and an increasing number of start-ups. Disruption is just another way of saying that companies must be able to adapt more fluidly and rapidly in order to succeed, and supply chain management is at the center of this 21st century model of markets.

How can supply chain be used to solve problems?
Supply chain management thinking can be applied beyond the supply chain as a method of solving problems in business and society in general. Supply chain is a formal and informal combination of relationships where structure, alignment, and collective goals are important. Our goal is to teach our students how to be problem solvers both in business and in the world beyond commercial problems and opportunities. Supply chains are the vehicle for change, and when the discipline of supply chain is viewed in this lens, it provides not just a different glimpse of business, but that of the world as well, and this is valuable for practically any field of study and practice.

What’s next for supply chain?
Supply chains in business will continue to be this ebb and flow of both good and bad, and it will be up to thought leaders to strike the right balance through win-win solutions that both improve the economy and environment at the same time.  This is what’s next for supply chain in industry, and our goal at DU is for our program to be at the forefront of these necessary discoveries!

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