Business Administration Emphasis Changes to Reflect Industry Trend

OGDEN, Utah – In response to a growing trend within business and industry, the Department of Business Administration at Weber State University has revised its coursework to offer a new degree in supply chain management, starting this fall.

According to business professor Stephen Russell, WSU and Brigham Young University are the only two schools in the state to offer this type of degree. The new program expands on the logistics emphasis that preceded it.

Supply chain management takes a “big picture” approach to all the steps and interconnected processes that transform raw materials or natural resources into delivered products and services. It incorporates specific business functions with a philosophy that emphasizes the integration of logistics, manufacturing and information systems. The objective of supply chain management is to meet the requirements of retailers on a timely basis, with high quality products, produced and delivered in a cost-effective manner.

“Today’s market competition, with a focus on responsive suppliers, low cost and high quality to meet customer’s needs, has accelerated the demand for college graduates with formal supply chain management education,” Russell said.

Ryan Angus, a supply chain analyst for BD Medical in Sandy, Utah said companies in all industries are seeing the need for greater flexibility and velocity in their operations.

“Traditionally employees specialized in one or two areas of the supply chain such as purchasing, planning, forecasting, operations, or transportation,” Angus said. “What companies need today are people who can understand, evaluate, and manage the impact of decisions on all levels of the supply chain.”

Angus, a 2003 graduate of WSU, believes that job candidates who have a knowledge of supply chain management have an edge over those who don’t.

The Supply Chain Management program at WSU requires course work in operations, management, quality, transportation, industrial purchasing, inventory management, strategic management, computer models, decision analysis and other areas, as well as a comprehensive senior-level course in logistics and supply chain management.

WSU’s John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics has a history of being a pioneer in emerging business disciplines. In 1971, WSU began offering a logistics degree in direct response to the needs of Hill Air Force Base.  At the time, Weber State was among the first schools in the nation to offer a degree program in logistics management.

According to Provost Michael Vaughan, the evolution of WSU's program from logistics to supply chain management is a direct response to the needs of both private industry and Hill Air Force Base. Over time, the field of logistics matured, and logistics became an important element in the private sector.  The success of many Fortune 500 companies is credited to their strategic use of logistics.  In turn, the military has adopted the best practices developed by the private sector.  WSU’s program has reflected those changes as well, moving from military logistics to business logistics to the emerging supply chain concepts and practices of today.

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Stephen Russell, business administration professor

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John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
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