KU business students see real-life examples, studying supply chain management amid pandemic | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The items on your favorite store’s shelves had to get there somehow. Even online merchants are subject to theories of supply and demand, and business students at the University of Kansas are studying how to manage that system of supply chains.  The theories of supply and demand, […]

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The items on your favorite store’s shelves had to get there somehow.

Even online merchants are subject to theories of supply and demand, and business students at the University of Kansas are studying how to manage that system of supply chains. 

The theories of supply and demand, and how needed items get from one place to another, are the bedrock of careers at KU. The university’s school of business offers a popular tract of study in Supply Chain Management, and it’s taken on a strong new relevance during pandemic times.

Dr. Joe Walden said the need for this career hits home for consumers who go to their grocery stores, seeking items like meat, toilet paper and fresh produce, and sometimes, it’s all gone.

“People are starting to realize, primarily through the COVID problem, that supply chains are critical,” Walden said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck in March, consumers panicked and hoarded paper goods and other staples. They’re doing it again, with coronavirus case totals growing, and manufacturers are often struggling to keep up with the demand.

“It’s been a great year to study supply chain management because there’s been an example almost every week of what we’re talking about,” Walden said.

Walden’s students plan to enter the business world and address problems tied to warehousing, distribution and inventory. The spread of this super-virus often makes those subsections of business critical.

“People are going out and buying so many items of the same thing, whereas they would usually only buy one of — or once a month. The demand has changed,” said Amy Conkle, a KU student from Illinois.

“One disruption in their supply chain will make their whole — every other aspect of their business — become fragile,” said Phuong Truong, a KU student from Vietnam. “If you can’t get the product to the customer, you’ll have dissatisfaction.”

These KU students also said the urgency for distribution of COVID vaccines falls into this academic program as well.

Walden said current students will play a key role in fighting future pandemics. A large number of graduates are said to be working in leadership roles for large corporations already. 

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