Understanding the Supply Chain

Walking the floor of a distribution center and meeting the people that develop and execute strategies for companies like Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, and UPS does more than provide a learning experience- it develops perspective on the real-world of business.

During my three years as a professional in operations and supply chain management it would have been impossible to imagine so many world-class companies opening their doors to me. As a student, the freedom to learn and ask questions seems limitless.

The real-world focus of our experience continues in the classroom. We are challenged and taught to face supply chain problems that are based in messy data. Problems that have no clear answer and that make you wonder if there may have been a better solution even when you reach a positive outcome. There are no instructions about which font to use or double or single space- the question we are required to answer for ourselves is “If you were sending this to the CEO, how would you write it?”

Whether it’s swilling coffee for a midnight tour of a UPS air-hub, getting up early to run extra scenarios for a virtual supply chain game, or reorganizing my kitchen to reduce set-up time for dinner— it’s becoming clear to me that supply chain and operations is more than a career, it’s a lifestyle.

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Andrew Strickenburg

Andrew Strickenburg is an MBA candidate at the College of William and Mary's Mason School of Business.

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