Anderson University Supply Chain Management Students on the Cutting Edge of Logistics Technology

December 18, 2017

A group of Anderson University College of Business undergraduate students are presenting their research to a national trade group, reflecting the emerging reputation of AU’s Supply Chain management program.

On January 16, students in the program will present at a regional event for the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), an organization that certifies professionals and promotes opportunities in the supply chain field.

Allison Combs and Ramiro Urreta, two undergraduate students in the Supply Chain Management program at the AU College of Business, are researching Blockchain technology and how it informs a company’s supply chain and logistics infrastructure.

Blockchain is a software platform for companies’ digital assets and involves the authenticating financial transactions across the Internet. Combs, Urreta and other students in the Supply Chain management program at AU’s College of Business interviewed logistics professionals in Upstate South Carolina who work at some of the world’s leading companies.

One of those professionals was Chuck Baker, a logistics coordinator for Michelin North America. He was among those impressed with AU students’ initiative and understanding of emerging technology. Baker serves as president of the Upstate South Carolina APICS chapter. After meeting Combs, he invited her and her classmates to formally present their research to APICS members. 

“Whenever I see students attending a professional event, it impresses me. It shows maturity above an average student,” Baker said. In his interactions with AU students, he said, “I have witnessed the maturity and respect they have given to others. It’s not just me saying that; others have mentioned to me how professional (they are). That says something about the training they are receiving at (Anderson) University, and the professors that teach them.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity to not only gain real-world presentation experience, but I’m even more excited that we are able to inform local professionals about emerging technology that they may not even have heard of,” Combs said. “This proves Anderson University is keeping up with cutting-edge technology and is training their students to stay up-to-date with all that is going on in industry.”

Yash Bhatia is president of Datos Consulting, who met AU students through APICS events as well. Not only has been impressed in his interactions with AU’s supply chain students, but also of the forward-looking nature of their research. Blockchain, and how it intersects with the emerging crypto-currency Bitcoin—an emerging method of payment on the Internet—has enormous implications for business transactions in the 21st century.

“They’ve shown initiative in wanting to learn more,” he said. It’s a key trait for companies looking to hire supply chain graduates, he said. AU students “are up to date with the latest technologies and concepts that are important to (APICS) members,” like Blockchain and Bitcoin.

“We need go-getters,” Bhatia said, noting, like Baker, that AU supply chain students are choosing to attend professional-level events in their free time. “They’ve shown initiative. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for people who have that drive.”

That drive comes, in part, from the Anderson University College of Business, and its Supply Chain Management program, which is designed to equip students in tackling modern business problems and provide the needed skills to perform in today’s global business environment. Students graduating from the program are prepared for careers in operations management, project management and procurement, among others.

“Students concentrating in supply chain management learn to make ethical and meaningful decisions through the exchange of products and services with companies all over the world,” said Dr. Kimberly Whitehead, Assistant Professor of Management for the Anderson University College of Business.

Dr. Whitehead said AU students are increasingly in demand by employers because of the holistic approach of the Supply Chain management program, and for their career readiness. For example, AU students have served internships at companies like BMW, TTi Ryobi and Borg Warner, among others.

“Companies are coming to us more and more and recruiting our students because they are excited about what we are doing,” Dr. Whitehead said.

Michelin’s Chuck Baker represents one of those companies.

“I’ve mentioned to the head of our recruiting that we need to be more engaged with AU so that we can offer (internship opportunities) to the students,” Baker said.