Concordia launches supply chain management program to meet surging demand

If you’ve ever picked up an item at a store and questioned the number of steps it took to get there, the answer is a lot. And there’s a lot to manage.

The path a product takes on the supply chain includes forecasting consumer needs, purchasing, inventory management, product production, assembly, warehousing, distribution, sales, and customer service.

While supply chain management has been studied in academia for years, COVID-19 brought it under the microscope.

“Today, it's vitally important for any company, global or small, to understand and use SCM concepts, such as visibility, resilience, and digitization,” said Dr. Marcia Santiago Scarpin, assistant professor of management and a supply chain specialist. “With companies interconnected in a global network, any disruption can lead to a ripple effect across the entire network.”

By 2026, the global supply chain market is expected to reach nearly $31 billion, generating high demand for workers with supply chain management expertise. According to, the average base salary for a supply chain manager in the U.S. is about $125,000.

To answer those rising industry needs, Concordia College is announcing the launch of a supply chain management major and minor. The program begins Fall 2024 through the college’s Offutt School of Business.

“With Concordia’s interdisciplinary approach to learning, the program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of how supply chain management, global economics, leadership, and data analysis work together,” said Chris Mason, dean of the Offutt School.

Students will learn analytical skills to gain an understanding of logistics, inventory sourcing, supply chain planning, risk management, communication skills, and technology proficiency.

“This program will equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complex landscape of modern business and make informed decisions that drive success on a global scale,” Scarpin said.

Industry expertise

The movement of goods around the world has captivated Scarpin for years.

“It affects everyone’s lives every single day,” she said. “The food you eat, the clothes you wear, your computer, and cellphone — those all start as ideas that make many stops before getting to you.”

Dr. Marcia Santiago Scarpin leads a classroom discussion

Scarpin is a member of a Brazilian research group working on the global supply chains at the Center for Excellence in Logistics and Supply Chain and the Innovation Center at Fundação Getulio Vargas, a university and one of the world’s top-rated think tanks.

Her research on the global supply chain, supply chain risk management and resilience, and sustainable supply chains has been published in top-tier journals.

“Having the opportunity to study under an expert like Dr. Scarpin makes our program unique,” Mason said. “Her knowledge and reputation in the field makes her a valuable asset.”

Beneficial minor

With a job-ready emphasis, Mason suggests students with various majors consider a minor in SCM.  

“These classes will bolster a business major who may be lacking in analytical content,” he said. “It will boost data and business content for mathematics majors. And without having to major in business or data analytics, other students can learn an emerging marketable skill.”