BSc Business Administration and Supply Chain Management is a new undergraduate programme at Essex Business School Southend which has been introduced for October 2022.

Professor Niraj Kumar - Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management and Head of the Strategy, Operations and Entrepreneurship Group at Essex Business School, Southend - introduces Essex Business School’s latest undergraduate programme and discusses how it aligns with the expertise offered by the group at Essex Business School Southend.

Why Business Administration and Supply Chain Management?

The programme combines the business administration discipline with supply chain and operations management.

Students joining this programme will gain knowledge of managing different functions of an organisation, along with a critical understanding of the role of supply chain in ensuring improved performance.

The programme has been developed in such a way that students will get a comprehensive understanding of both theoretical and practical aspects of dealing with real life challenges in managing business operations and supply chain.

We felt it was important to introduce this course now because in the current era, without properly understanding the supply chain, it will be extremely challenging to successfully manage an organisation.

Why should we be studying supply chain management?

The COVID-19 pandemic really gave us a recent and extensive understanding of why supply chain is very important for business as well as for our daily lives. As we have seen from during the pandemic lockdowns, when borders close people and goods were not moving around.

Logistical services were dysfunctional, and it was, therefore, difficult to supply raw materials, especially raw materials coming from abroad. For instance, the global automobile sector is still facing huge challenges imposed by the pandemic induced global microchip shortage, resulting in downsizing the production.

By offering business administration and supply chain management knowledge in one degree programme, we can give students a thorough understanding of not only about how supply chain supports several business functions, but also how supply chain has become one of the crucial driving forces in ensuring sustainable competitive advantage in modern days.

Examples of supply chain disruption

Supply chain mismanagement influences daily lives. One simple example is to look into your breakfast plate. Half of the items on your plate do not come from the same part of the country, or indeed from the same country.

A traditional English breakfast plate is just one example from one meal, life is dependent on supply chains and if supply chains are broken, then it’s not just your breakfast items which disappear.

A more direct example is from Christmas in December 2021, where there was a shortage of French fries in MacDonald’s restaurants in Japan which disappointed consumers who were hoping to eat out at restaurant chains and celebrate with their families.

The shortage was caused by various disruptions from the pandemic to the food supply chain between the US and Japan, and flooding in Vancouver which further disrupted cargo liners due to travel to Japan.

Are supply chain management skills important for graduate employment?

Businesses looking to improve their performance or expand their operations cannot do so without thinking about their supply chains.

As a result, there are a number of job opportunities not only in UK but across different countries and worldwide where demand is growing for supply chain managers, logistics managers, warehouse managers, inventory planners, supply chain analysts, all of which are achievable roles for BSc Business Administration and Supply Chain Management graduates.