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New Supply Chain Management Degree Program

Release Date

Effective for the fall 2015 Semester, HFC will launch a new associate degree program in Supply Chain Management (SCM) and a new SCM Technician Certificate through its Business and Computer Technology Division.

In addition to offering an associate degree in SCM and a new 31-credit hour SCM Technician Certificate, students will have the opportunity to prepare for two nationally-recognized credentials through the Manufacturers Skill Standards Council (MSSC): the Certified Logistics Associate (CLA) and Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) certifications. The MSSC certifications focus on the core skills and knowledge required by the nation’s front-line production and material handling workers, based upon industry-defined and federally-endorsed national standards.

For students and incumbent workers, job growth in the field of logistics and SCM is growing much faster than average, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for a logistician—an individual who analyzes and coordinates an organization’s supply chain—was $72,780 per year in 2012.

Entry-level positions including dock workers, material handlers, merchandise pickup/receiving associates, shipping and receiving materials handlers, and warehouse workers can expect a median pay of $25,800 per year and up to a high of $41,900 per year, as reported by the Dept. of Labor in the state of Michigan in 2012. The value of both the CLA and CLT certifications by the MSSC will demonstrate to employers basic knowledge in SCM, which is a requirement by companies seeking entry-level workers.

SCM is strategic in orientation. It recognizes that the competitive strength of a company is not only determined by its products, but also by institutions and processes that move raw materials, work-in-progress and finished products from businesses to consumers. In today’s fast-paced world, supply chains are global in nature—without them there would not be the products that society relies on such as food, clothing, transportation, and services, including healthcare and entertainment.

Effective supply chains provide value to the average consumer. First, they facilitate the sourcing and delivery of products manufactured in places around the world to a location where the consumer can purchase these items. Second, efficient supply chains reduce the cost of the products that one purchases through lowered sourcing, manufacturing, handling and transportation costs.

The institutions and organizations involved in supply chain operations include material suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, transportation providers, freight forwarders, import/export and cross-border customs firms. The processes and types of jobs include forecasting, purchasing, industrial distribution, inventory and quality control, warehouse & distribution center management, transportation management by air, water, rail, pipeline, and truck, information technology and customer service.

HFC Business Instructor Douglas Langs is the coordinator of the SCM program. He is a full-time faculty member and has taught various business courses at HFC since 2009. Prior to coming to HFC, Langs worked at General Motors (GM) for 22 years.

“The whole purpose of this SCM program is to create job opportunities for our students. The SCM program prepares students to obtain a job once they graduate with either their associate degree or certificate,” Langs explained.

HFC student Salvatore Andrade said that his career path in SCM was finally decided when he was a student in Langs’ BBA 131: Introduction to Business course.

“It is a growing field in the world of business. We live in a global economy, and SCM will only become more important. The associate degree will give you the tools you need to get started. It will allow you to get an entry level job at a warehouse or something along those lines, so you can actually see the concepts you are learning in the classroom in a practical work setting,” he said.

HFC alumnus Ben Topping, who graduated with his associate degree in International Business in 2014, is currently studying SCM at Wayne State. Topping’s interest in SCM was also sparked by Langs’ Introduction to Business course.

“The capstone course of HFC's International Business degree was an introduction to SCM. During the first day of class, Prof. Langs placed a small piece of chocolate in front of each student, and we spent the entire 90-minute class session discussing where every ingredient of that chocolate – cacao, sugar, milk, aluminum for the wrapper, paper for the tag – originated, as well as how it arrived in Hershey, Pa. I was fascinated that even something so small could have such a complex global reach,” said Topping.

According to Topping, SCM is a “wonderful marriage” of technical and interpersonal skills.

A skilled supply chain manager understands his or her company's processes, the needs and wants of customers, suppliers, distributors, and quality requirements. Then the manager must optimize all of these through insight, negotiation and creativity. Topping said that HFC gave him a head-start in his degree program at Wayne State.

“Because I was already familiar with the basics of logistics, purchasing, warehousing and distribution, I could dive deeper into the field, enhancing my learning and earned a 4.0 in my core classes during my first semester at Wayne. I also relay the chocolate story to corporate recruiters; it always impresses them,” said Topping.

Businesses and students are encouraged to explore the exciting and growing field of SCM at HFC. Students can now register for SCM classes for the fall 2015 semester.

For further information about the SCM program, contact Langs at 313-845-6363 or via email at