New Class Lets Students Follow Supply Chain in Real Time

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

To better immerse undergraduate students into the intricacies of supply chains on an international level as well as to give them hands-on experience, the Carlson School has launched SCO 2950—Tracing the Global Supply Chain—a four-credit course to be offered every fall that also meets the school’s international requirement.

“The purpose of the class is to educate, excite, promote, and attract undergraduate students to the supply chain major and ultimately to a lifelong career in supply chain,” says Senior Lecturer Steven Huchendorf, who teaches the class.

This class follows the supply chain from retail operations all the way back to the suppliers of raw materials. What better way to learn about supply chain than to go to the Polaris engine assembly plant in Wisconsin and follow components back up the chain through the Los Angeles C.H. Robinson deconsolidation cross-dock facility, the BNSF railway operation, and the Long Beach Port Authority back to China through port operations at the port of Shenzhen to the Chinese supplier of wire harnesses.

Last fall, 29 undergraduate students enrolled in SCO 2950. Of these students, 16 had not declared major at the time. After completing the class, nine of the students said they were going to declare a supply chain major and four planned to add a supply chain minor to their degree.

“Before enrolling in this course, my knowledge of the supply chain was extremely limited if not entirely nonexistent,” says student Rebekah Shaffer. “However, after the various site visits we participated in both domestically and internationally, I not only have a deeper understanding of the supply chain, but am now planning on majoring in supply chain and operations.”

Tracing the Global Supply Chain is made possible by the efforts of corporate partners Best Buy, C.H. Robinson, General Mills, Polaris, and Target.