Short Courses Boost Supply Chain Managers' Expertise

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Facility tours are a popular part of the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute's (SCL) short-course professional development program, but not all participants are as impatient to share their new insights as the fellow who pulled out his cell phone in the middle of a tour.

"He told me later that he was talking to his boss,* said Carole Bennett, SCL's director of program development and marketing. "He just couldn't wait to tell him about something related to automation they had been shown.*

Facility tours represent an important hands-on component of SCL's professional development curriculum.

"Before we visit a particular site, the course instructor talks about the concepts we're going to see,* she said. "Then when our group gets there, someone from the company walks them through the distribution center and shows them how the conveyors and automation process work.*

Practical, nuts-and-bolts knowledge is the hallmark of the twelve-plus two- to five-day courses SCL offers during the year on subjects such as transportation, warehousing, and supply chain management as well as on more specialized topics, including material handing, supply chain finance, and logistics optimization. SCL's mainstay logistics course, dating back to the beginning of the short-course program itself in 1992, is typical, said Bennett.

"We'll have a different theme for each of the four days,* she explained. "Like transportation and distribution on Tuesday, warehousing on Wednesday, third-party logistics on Thursday, and future trends on Friday. The course director will make presentations based on the day's theme, and we'll also bring in industry speakers and Georgia Tech faculty to talk about issues related to the theme.*

By the end of the week, attendees will have received a broad but intense education on customer service and order processing, inventory planning and management, supply chain integration, transportation and warehousing, and distribution, according to Bennett. In addition, the class covers logistics performance measures and benchmarking procedures, logistics information systems architectures and implementation, third-party logistics strategies, and logistics organization design.

Some classes include breakout sessions while others ask participants to bring real work problems to tackle in class. Another popular activity associated with certain classes is the supply chain game. "It's a board game with six people on a team, each one representing a different part of a supply chain,* Bennett explained. "You keep score as you go through round after round, and pretty soon you'll see trends develop based on the decisions you make: This person has a lot of inventory, while this person has nothing on the shelf to sell*why is that? What's happening in the chain that's causing these things? The game forces people to interact and make choices, and then see the results of those choices.*

SCL short courses may be taken individually or as part of a certificate program. Depending on the subject, participants earn either one or two continuing education credits for each course they complete. Eight credits earned within a four-year period from a prescribed series of courses qualifies the participant for a certificate in supply chain management.

While there are no prerequisites to enrolling in any SCL short course, "to earn a certificate, there are certain courses that you have to take, what you might call core courses,* Bennett said. "But after that, you can choose classes from among the electives to match your specific interest.*

Classes are held at the Global Learning Center on Georgia Tech's Midtown Atlanta campus. Many are also available online.

Since 1992, more than 6,500 logistics professionals have attended the program with more than 420 participants earning SCL's Logistics Professional and Management certificates from Georgia Tech.

"We work with a lot of experienced mid-range managers who want to step back from their jobs for a bit and focus on solutions they can take back to the office, and we also see people who are relatively new to the supply chain side of their company's operation,* Bennett said.

"But all of our students are motivated and highly focused on learning as such as they can,* she continued. "The people who get the most out of the professional development program are those who are looking for new ideas, new ways to improve what they're currently doing by implementing what they've learned here in their job*and of course their company benefits when they're able to improve systems and make them more efficient.*

For details about course schedules, costs, and general information about SCL's professional development program, contact Carole Bennett at 404.894.9138 or


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Created: 11/18/2008
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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