Logistics Theory 101

Logistics Theory 101

Logistics is huge in Indiana. We have an employment concentration that is 44 percent above the national average, and it’s only expected to grow. Right now, it’s like we’re standing on the middle of a hillside with the slope serving as our metaphorical line graph. Behind us is 10 years bearing an average growth rate close to 10 percent. Ahead of us the incline remains consistent, showing a projection of 10.3 percent growth over the better part of the next decade. Among all the different types of logistics, the warehousing and storage subsector is expected to see the largest increase in employment, adding over 5,000 jobs by 2026.*

New college graduates in the supply chain management field are highly sought after; there’s a 6:1 demand-to-supply ratio.

Source: University of Evansville

With all this forecasted growth, we’re going to need a whole lot of workers with skillsets applicable to things like supply chain management, warehousing safety, problem solving skills unique to distribution, and more. As a result, many of the state’s companies and academic institutions are launching targeted training programs and degree options.

For example, Indiana State University and Ball State University have added logistics and supply chain management bachelor degrees over the past few years, and other schools are following suit. The University of Evansville and Valparaiso University are set up to launch their own similar degree programs in the fall of 2018. Along with these new degrees, many companies with interests in distribution have started branching out to schools to help inject real-world needs into curriculum and establish partnerships to support experiential learning.

“A fresh intensive effort to create a statewide collaboration between the growing number of universities with four-year logistics programs and the private sector will ultimately bridge a gap that exists today with the glaring shortage of graduates available to Indiana’s growing logistics community,” said Chip Edgington, EVP of operations with Indianapolis-based FULLBEAUTY Brands and chair of the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council.

University of Evansville

University of Evansville

One of the biggest university/corporate logistics partnerships that was implemented recently is the one between Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana and the University of Evansville. Funded by a gift of $90,000 from Toyota Indiana, the university’s new Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) program will enable Evansville’s Schroeder Family School of Business Administration to be the first accredited undergraduate major in logistics and supply chain management from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International in the state of Indiana. Lessons kick off during this fall semester.

“This program will help to fill a need for trained and qualified candidates for many employers in our region and create opportunities for students to build careers with longevity,” Toyota Plant Vice President Tim Hollander.

New college graduates in the supply chain management field are highly sought after; there’s a six to one demand-to-supply ratio. UE’s program will prepare students with knowledge and skills desired by employers. In addition to a rigorous course of study, students in the program will take part in high level experiential learning opportunities such as internships.

Part of the Toyota gift designated for the LSCM program will fund ten $5,000 scholarships that will be awarded to each of the 10 students in the cohort that will begin the program.

Another kind of education that’s been gaining much greater interest in the logistics sector over the last few years is safety training. This trend is, of course, reflected every industry in the state as the drive toward a safer and more profitable workplace has increased, but it’s particularly notable in the logistics fields as transportation has historically been one of the most concentrated categories of workplace fatalities and injuries.

VU Gibson County Center

VU Gibson County Center

To deliver the kind of safety training that companies and students need, the Vincennes University Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics linked up with the University of Cincinnati and the Great Lakes OSHA Education Center to establish a new OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Host Site at the center. The OTA was established near the end of last year and lessons are now in full swing.

The range of courses will allow companies access to material designed to educate employers and their workers in methods of identifying, preventing, and eliminating hazards in their workplaces. In addition to offering general and industry courses from the OTI catalog, VU will be able to customize site-specific classes tailored to fit area workplace, business, and industrial requirements. The target audience for this training is safety specialists, safety directors, human resources directors, industrial sites, and construction companies, but the content can be tailored to apply to logistics operations as well in that much of the heavy equipment is comparable.

The most important aspect to all of this is the continued conversation between companies and colleges to better align the lessons that students are taking with them out into the workplace. The demand for workers isn’t going anywhere, but our state’s competitiveness might if we’re not careful to keep companies supplied with the talent they’ll need. Links between industry and academia are going to become more important than ever as the growth in the logistics fields keep moving forward. Hopefully its increase will spur a corresponding rise in these kinds of training collaborations as well.



* Sources for employment data: Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl. (Emsi) with data from the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor.



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Category Features, Logistics