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The College Grad Supply Chain

While the great recession is in the rear-view mirror, its effects are still very much felt throughout the global economy. Specifically, companies have raised their hiring standards significantly, enjoying their leveraged position in a hirer’s market. Today’s college grads need to be more prepared than ever to enter a highly competitive workforce.

Fred Koeck, sales manager for Derby in Allentown, PA, is an experienced supply chain management professional and knows exactly how difficult the transition from university to workplace can be. On the new generation of college graduates choosing to enter the logistics industry, he feels that, “We have a vested interest in cultivating the next generation of supply chain personnel.” Working for a top 3PL provider, Derby Supply Chain Solutions, he has the advantage of years of experience in the field-something the incoming generation desperately lacks. As vice president of the local Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) roundtable, Koeck recently organized the first local CSCMP event to help bridge the divide between the industry and those looking to enter it.

The motivation behind organizing a local CSCMP roundtable came from the impressive student turnout Koeck observed at the annual CSCMP conference back in September of 2014. About a half a year later, he helped bring together a group of 24 students and 14 industry professionals just outside Allentown, PA at Kutztown University to help prepare the potential next generation of supply chain management professionals.

He pins down a major problem that new graduates face across the business world: “The Students are learning about their field, but sometimes they have unreasonable expectations.” And it is these expectations that Koeck would like to help students with. For the supply chain management industry, the CSCMP is the ideal entity to handle such a task. With over 4000 members globally and 50 national as well as 17 international roundtables, it offers students a unique and worldwide perspective on the industry. In today’s globalized business environment, supply chain elements such as assembly, packaging, warehousing and distribution often occur across different cities, regions and even continents, simultaneously.

Furthermore, the various industries that have supply chain management needs today is almost limitless, including appliances, automotive, health & beauty, medical devices and many, many more. It can be a very daunting world for the uninitiated. During the roundtable, students were grouped and encouraged to interact openly with the many professionals across the different areas of the supply chain process. Student groups then rotated, to gain exposure to as many different aspects and sectors of the industry as possible. As Koeck explains, the CSCMP-sponsored roundtables are meant to be, “…a way for students to learn that next step.”

Thanks to organizations such as the CSCMP, university students around the country can benefit from real-world, professional expertise and insights that help prepare them for the business world. The modern global economy is moving into the future at a record pace and supply chain management will continue to be a vital aspect of most any industry. Getting a head start is key!