The Lally School of Management and Technology recently launched a new master of science in supply chain management program. To celebrate the start of the program, Meredith Stevens ’84, chief supply chain officer at Newell Rubbermaid and a Rensselaer alumna, delivered a keynote talk titled “Transforming Supply Chain Leadership from the Back Room to the Boardroom” on Sept. 26 in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies auditorium.
“Increasing globalization and outsourcing have led to complex chains that have to be managed effectively to maximize customer value and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “The master of science in supply chain management will provide Lally School students with an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills needed for a career in the manufacturing and service industries fields. This program will help students learn how to design supply chains, optimize supply chain operations, leverage information technology, and enhance demand fulfillment capabilities in firms.”
Meredith “Meri” Stevens joined Newell Rubbermaid in January 2013 in the newly created position of chief supply chain officer to lead all aspects of the company’s global supply chain. Stevens’ key focus is driving a consistent approach to the company’s global operations, unlocking the trapped capacity for growth through improved productivity and working capital management, and building the network to support emerging market expansion.
“We were thrilled to have a distinguished Rensselaer alumna like Meredith Stevens join us for an exciting discussion focused on the field of supply chain management, and engage with students, faculty, and alumni and alumnae on this growing field of research and career opportunities,” Begley said. “Developments in information technology and the emergence of the Internet as a medium for commerce present new opportunities for the redesign of supply chains. Consequently, creating and managing an effective supply chain has become a strategic priority for organizations.”
Prior to joining Rubbermaid, Stevens was head of the Global Fire and Security Install and Service Supply Chain at Tyco. In an eight-year career at what was originally a $44 billion conglomerate, she built global procurement teams, drove manufacturing excellence, and led the transformation of the company’s logistics and distribution network.
Before Tyco, Stevens led strategic sourcing for media conglomerate Bertelsmann Inc., where she designed and implemented a new strategic sourcing operation. She began her career at General Electric in a number of operations management and supply chain roles, developing significant expertise in Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. Stevens received a master’s degree in industrial and management engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer.
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment of supply chain management professionals is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the important role of logistics in an increasingly global economy.
“We are rolling out the Master of Science in Supply Chain Management at an ideal time,” said T. Ravichandran, associate dean for research at the Lally School and the faculty director for the new program. “We expect the students in this program to have a solid foundation in the basics of supply chain management as well as practical experience gained through the capstone and other project-based courses.”
The new one-year, 30-credit degree utilizes an interdisciplinary focus and integrates concepts from industrial marketing, operations management, and information systems. The curriculum includes three parts: a business core, a supply chain core, and specialized electives that include real-world project-based courses that allow students to develop expertise in specific areas of supply chain management.
Ravichandran noted that graduates of the program will be able to find careers in supply chain management, logistics, operations management, supply chain practices of consulting firms, and procurement and sourcing functions in manufacturing and service industries.
The Lally School also plans to convene its first advisory board on supply chain management this fall that will include including alumni and alumnae and business leaders in the industry.