Anyone living outside of Idaho may believe the state’s critical role in the nation’s supply chain is rooted solely in agriculture. It’s become a trope at this point, but not one without a kernel of truth. While producing and delivering potatoes to the world is big business and even a noble pursuit given the crop’s impact on world hunger, there’s a lot of big things happening here in the supply chain universe other than Big Ag.
Idaho also plays a key role in the U.S.’s energy, technology, and defense supply chains. And between the natural resources and skilled tech and engineering workforce on tap here, it holds a well-established position as an essential player in the global economy.
Providing for the material and logistical needs of these diverse industries falls squarely in the wheelhouse of the talented supply chain professionals that call Idaho home. Those talents are honed through education and experience. A bachelor’s degree meets the qualifications for entry-level management positions with a lot of companies in Idaho, while a master’s, MBA, or graduate certificate in supply chain management stacked on top of an undergraduate degree in almost any field will put you in the running for the kind of leadership roles only the most ambitious aim for. All those options can be found right here in Idaho, both on-campus and online.
Shiva Esturi’s Mission to Transform Micron’s Global Supply Chain
Headquartered in Boise, Micron Technology designs, develops, and manufactures solid state drives, RAM cards, and other products for the information economy. It has operations in 17 countries, manages 11 manufacturing plants, and employs approximately 48,000 people.
Shiva Esturi, Micron’s vice president of global supply chain management, spearheaded an initiative to completely transform how the company gets its products from its plants to its customers.
Micron’s original SCM strategy looked like this: project customer demand, and then scale manufacturing operations to meet that demand. High demand? Increase production. Low demand? Decrease production. Despite what you’d assume, that strategy was sub-optimal, amounting to higher inventory and lower service levels.
Esturi realized the inflexibility of Micron’s original strategy, and moved to implement an “iron triangle” operation. Each point of the triangle represents a key metric: lower cost products, high service levels, and short lead times. You optimize two of three, one will operate sub-optimally.
The advantage of the iron triangle approach is that it allows companies to adjust supply chains according to market conditions and infrastructure disruptions. It can provide shorter lead times and higher service levels, higher service levels and lower costs, shorter lead times and lower costs, etc.
To implement this strategy, Esturi’s team not only implemented technology solutions, but also educated employees throughout the organization – from sales to manufacturing – on how the iron triangle would make the company more effective. The iron triangle was launched in tandem with a sales & operations planning (S&OP) process that balanced the need to reduce costs on the logistics and supply side of the business with the sales department’s objective to increase revenue.
When all was said and done, Micron improved key performance indicators across the board, including customer delivery, days of inventory outstanding, and commit dates.
What Does a Supply Chain Manager Do in Idaho?
First off, you can put any doubts you may have about finding open supply chain management positions to rest. In Idaho, demand for logisticians is projected to grow 12.1 percent between 2020 and 2030 according to the Idaho Department of Labor, well above the state average.
Here we highlight how logistics and supply chain managers serve just a couple of Idaho’s favorite high-growth sectors.
Semiconductor and Chip Manufacturing
Esturi’s team at Micron has a lot of work ahead of them. According to the Idaho Statesman, the company recently announced a $15 billion investment through 2020 to construct a new semiconductor fabrication plant at its Southeast Boise Campus. The facility will produce Micron’s signature memory products, invigorating the company’s competitiveness on the world stage.
The world’s appetite for this technology is only going to accelerate. Automotive companies, heavy equipment manufacturers, and hundreds of other verticals are already integrating computing into their core product offerings. As a supply chain manager, your responsibility will be to:
Critical Minerals and Rare Earths Mining
Electric vehicles, smart phones, and other staples of modern life require minerals often sourced from China and African nations. The challenge is how to minimize disruption of critical mineral supplies in the event of supply chain snags like those experienced post-pandemic. And thinking beyond the pandemic, there’s always the potential for political instability and natural disasters that can derail production timelines, forcing supply chain managers to hedge their bets when sourcing rare earths minerals for defense, information, and energy products.
Skilled supply chain leaders understand how to mitigate disruptions to the critical minerals economy. Last year, Jervois Global, a global supplier of cobalt and nickel, opened the first cobalt mine the U.S. has seen in decades. According to NPR, the mine will help the U.S. electrify its transportation economy.
“I think this is a really important development for the U.S.,” said CEO Bryce Crocker. “This is geopolitically significant because the U.S. has no cobalt supply domestically.”
As a supply chain manager, you must think about the implications of that statement:
These are just a few of many questions a bachelor’s or master’s in SCM would prepare you to answer. Many professors create exercises designed to test your ability to run a supply chain: they want to ensure that your degree is more than just a piece of paper.
Supply Chain Management Schools – Universities in Idaho Offering Degrees in SCM Online and On-Campus
Idaho has a bright future. Globalization, the CHIPS Act, and nascent reshoring are giving the state the chance to flex its industrial muscle. We may not be far away from a time when Boise is recognized as an epicenter of mining technology and advanced sciences. The universities here, both public and private, will serve a key role in making that happen.
But which schools throughout Idaho offer the supply chain management degree you need? Here we list all schools in the state offering SCM bachelor’s, master’s, and MBA degrees, both on-campus and online.
There are no listings at this time. Check back, as we update listings often.