Con.text

Real Time Supply Chain

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“Technology.

Smart phones.

Wifi.”

These are the first things to come to mind when Dr. Brian Fleming, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Bissett School of Business, Mount Royal University is asked about how the industry is changing.

When it comes to streamlining the delivery of products from production to distribution, these innovations are game-changers. Fleming, a veteran in the industry, recounts that, “Fax was the expediter. Back then 6 or 7 days for snail mail was appropriate. But in today’s world, you get text messaging and apps that enable sales people to get into factories to check inventory and determine production schedules in real time.”

Regardless of the timeline, Fleming recognizes that, “The concepts behind Supply Chain Management are fundamentally the same.”  It’s finding the most efficient way of getting things from production to consumption. But, with a change in technology comes a new demand for the players.

From the clients’ perspective, “In today’s world, you can order one item.” With lot sizes of one, suppliers have been forced to look at things differently. “Everyone used to want zero inventory,” Recalls Fleming, “But that’s not the case now.”

As a sign of the times, MRU has been able to offer some flexibility to Supply Chain Management students. “By taking our 9 Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) courses online with our agreement between Mount Royal University Continuing Education and the Bissett School of Business, our BBA students can now be working on a co-op position and still move forward.”

Thus expediting the time it takes to go from A to B.

“Supply Chain fits into any industry.” Fleming instructs. “Oil is the big dog in Alberta. It pays well. But, I can work for Calgary Food Bank, YWCA, transportation, warehousing…” his list goes on.

As for opportunity, he suggests that with flexible online course offerings, students these days are getting a global reach, “One student in Brazil has completed two courses, while another working with Volkswagon in Germany has completed a course.”  He continues proudly, “Two other students are working in Kamloops in the mining industry and a varsity hockey student will be graduating the BBA through the online components.”

Supply Chain Management is becoming an increasingly important and rewarding part of many organizations. Trained and qualified people are needed to research, develop and execute the next innovative efficiencies. According to Fleming, he forecasts that the future is not far off, “Amazon is currently testing drones for deliveries.”

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  • by JLove

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