Supplying students with career skills

March 30, 2012

By Tim Belter ’13

As companies look to reduce costs and increase environmental responsibility, they’re bringing together business managers and engineers to collaborate at every link in the supply chain. At Bradley, APICS, a new student and professional organization, is helping business and engineering students learn to do the same.

“This is an organization that heralds the future for students to make a difference in business and make a difference in the world,” said Dr. Ed Bond, chair of the Department of Marketing.

APICS, the Association for Operations Management, is an international organization for both students and professionals that deals with issues related to supply chains and operations management.

The professional arm of the Central Illinois Lincoln Land Chapter of APICS approached Bradley University to help establish a new student chapter. The organization presents a great opportunity for Bradley students to team up with working professionals and to work toward supply chain management certifications, an important addition for resumes.

“Many organizations in the supply chain area are looking for or requiring those certifications for their employees,” said Dr. Ross Fink, professor of Business Management and Administration. “I think this will bring more employers to Bradley looking for students to hire.”

Bradley is working closely with the Lincoln Land Chapter to set up opportunities for students to hear speakers, tour production facilities and participate in management and case-study competitions. The connections and knowledge gained through these events will give students useful skills for the professional world.

The organization represents a growing trend of collaboration and convergence between business managers and engineers. Both the Foster College of Business Administration and the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology have supply chain-focused concentrations. The two sets of professionals are working increasingly closely to benefit their companies.

 “The beauty of APICS and of work on the supply chains is that they are inherently multi-disciplinary,” said Dr. Bond.

“It’s a great opportunity for engineering students to learn how to address supply chain management issues from a business viewpoint and to understand business language in order to become successful leaders,” said Dr. John Yoo, assistant professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and Technology. Although the organization is still young, its members are already seeing how worthwhile it will be.

“We have so many opportunities to meet with professionals,” said Megan Larke, a senior Industrial Engineering major with Logistics and Supply Chain Engineering concentration and student president of APICS. “Our organization is trying to use as many connections and opportunities as possible to network with other professionals so our members can see the full benefits of this organization.”