I get this question often, should I pick up another major with my SCM major and/or pick up a minor, and if so which one? I assume you are doing a SCM major to get a SCM entry level managerial position. Basically, that means you want the degree to get a job in SCM, right? OK, so the answer to your question is will the other major or minor compliment your SCM degree? In other words, will it provide you with additional skill sets valued in SCM roles and jobs? I am a huge fan of our Business Analytics minor because SCM jobs require using technology. For example, most SCM jobs have huge amounts of data and you have to make sense of that data (so big data, data analytics, Excel, etc.). Also, you have to not only use the hundreds of thousands of lines of data to make decisions, you have to visualize the data for other SCM managers to buy into your decisions (Power BI, Tableau, etc.). And sometimes, you have to change the code in the technology to get it to do what you want it to do (Python). Without that Business Analytics minor you would not be able to do those things. So, the BA minor compliments the SCM degree.

You asked about double majoring in Marketing and SCM. I love it. In fact, at WMU we have a Food Marketing & Consumer Products/Packaging degree, we call it FMK (the best in the world). The FMK industry is one of the largest and most important industries in the world. During Covid 19, it flourished and saved the world in many ways because its supply chain just kept on working. In fact, what was the most popular term during Covid 19? Supply Chain. Look at what industries and jobs flourished during covid 19 (i.e., consumer products/food and supply chain management). I actually had students interview and get job offers during covid 19! OK, back to your question. Does Marketing compliment a SCM degree and job role? Yes, especially lately. Most SCM professionals are tasked with doing things better , faster, and cheaper. They often have to work on creating cost savings with their suppliers. Why? Reducing costs is the same as making more money. This is especially true of companies that struggle to gain market share because markets are too saturated. However, there are lots of companies in growth industries that not only want to cut costs but they want to grow market share (i.e., technology, consumer products, medical equipment, healthcare, etc.).

So, for example, Stryker is a Fortune 500 company in Kalamazoo, MI that designs and builds medical equipment. It is in a growth industry and Stryker is obsessed with growth and market share (they double in size every 5-10 years). A hospital system comes to Stryker and says I really need this kind of product but no one makes it. Stryker says, how much would you be willing to pay for this product? The hospital system says, if you can design and build it to do what I want, I would pay you $10,000 for each and buy X amount annually for the next several years. Stryker then goes back to its SCM group and says, reverse market this product. That means, go to our suppliers and engineers and figure out how to make this darn thing for $40, so we can sell it for $100. That is called reverse marketing and/or reverse supply chain management. In fact, Marketing is asking their SCM group to help them sell more of their stuff that makes them a lot of money. In other words, SCM, can you help us not only cut costs, but also help us sell stuff. In other words, help support our growth strategy. And growth strategy is Marketing.

So, yes, Marketing and SCM are blending in ways which would really support you double majoring in both. Another example, the data proves that companies which can get products into the marketplace faster and before the competition not only sell more stuff, they can charge higher prices (in other words, command better margins and make more money – people are willing to pay a premium for stuff that is newer – do I really need a new iPhone now? No, but I am willing to pay a premium for the latest and greatest version). So, who does Marketing ask for help with getting products into the market sooner and faster? Yes, SCM. How can SCM help get products into the market faster? Read below if you want more details.

ESI = early supplier involvement and CE = concurrent engineering, and they mean the same thing. Before companies go into production with new products, they have to design those products, it is called the new product development process (NPD). Companies expect suppliers to do a lot of the design work for the parts that will go into their new products. ESI and CE is bringing suppliers on board during the new product development process so suppliers and companies can work on design issues from the beginning and together. That way, when they go into production, there are fewer issues. ESI and CE gives companies a chance to do things better, faster, and cheaper. Companies are under competitive pressure to get through the new product development process in record time so that they can get their products into the market sooner than later. The ability to do this is called Time Based Competition (TBC). ESI and CE is driving TBC (along with technology and standardization). In the past, companies (OEMs) would do all the design work and just dump off blue prints to suppliers right before the product went into production. Now, the OEMs expect their suppliers to do the design work and integrate these suppliers in the NPD process from the beginning. Every decision and investment dollar has to translate into helping companies do it better, faster, and cheaper. If it does not, it is non-value added (get rid of it). ESI and CE requires a lot of work and investment, but data shows that it pays for itself very quickly. In other words, it is very value-added.

How about a minor? My personal favorite: Business Data Analytics (e.g., big data/predictive analytics, database management, data mining/Rapid Miner, project management, SQL, Python, PMO, Tableau, Power BI, etc.). Become a data scientist (that way you never lose your job due to technology).


Good link read and discussion on FMK and SCM colliding.



Marketing & SCM are blending in ways which would really support you double majoring in both. Another example, the data proves that companies which can get products into the marketplace faster and before the competition not only sell more stuff, they can charge higher prices. So, who does Marketing ask for help with getting products into the market sooner and faster? Yes, SCM. SCM can help get products into the market faster.


Advice from former student:

Arayana Janson 1st degree connection1stRetail Operations Analyst at NielsenIQ | Graduated December of 2021 Summa cum Laude with BBA, Majors in Business Analytics and Supply Management and Minors in Economics and Accountancy4mo(edited)If you’re looking for a second major, LBS or BA fit pretty well in terms of time/requirements …other ISMers’ve done accountancy/finance majors (such as Bret Wagner’s son, I believe)…we have incredible accountancy professors with whom I’ve taken useful classes in cost accountancy (useful for supply chain management, w/ Inna V.) & ACTY analytics (w/ Sunday )…

[If you have an interest in an out-of-the-box class, your profs and Alyshia can potentially help you get appropriate things moving for you; showing initiative is encouraged here!]

As someone who dabbled a bit in WMU marketing classes, as in, classes that were not required for either of my majors—business analytics and integrated supply management—I have already found the following very useful:

-Global Negotiation with James Eckert
-Marketing Analytics with Ann Veeck or Russell J. Zwanka
-Category Management with Russell J. Zwanka
-Change Management with Dr. Jennifer Palthe
-Project Management with Mohammad Daneshvar Kakhki (this was actually an elective for the BA major for me, but I recommend it to anyone in WMU’s ISM program!!)

-If you are or aren’t in the BA minor or major, I recommend taking CIS 4640 with Reza Mousavi and CIS 5650 with Kuanchin Chen

Please reach out with more questions. Thank you. Sime

Dr. Sime (Sheema) Curkovic, Ph.D., Professor, Operations/Supply Chain
Western Michigan University, Haworth College of Business

E-Mail: sime.curkovic@wmich.edu

“WMU Integrated Supply Management (ISM)…Nation’s best undergraduate SCM program (Gartner); 2nd in SCM technology (SoftwareAdvice);  2nd in top global SCM talent (SCM World)”

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