Upgrading supply chain as a science

00:08 Introduction
00:35 Muddassir, what have you been up to since we last saw you on the show?
02:11 Joannes, what is your initial overview on education within the supply chain?
04:14 Would you agree with the idea of supply chain being in the pre-scientific age?
06:57 Why is the supply chain industry still in its infancy?
10:30 With so many theories, where do you start? What are you actually teaching to your clients?
16:59 Would you agree with the idea that there is a lot of amazing technology out there but nobody knows how to use it?
19:14 Do you have an example, in the supply chain context, of a gigantic taxonomy that doesn’t explain much?
22:20 Would you agree with the fact there is a lack of clarity on many basic concepts of supply chain?
36:34 What are your hopes concerning supply chain and education?


Some topics, such as physics, can take almost a lifetime to master and have a vast library of literature. Supply chain education, on the other hand, is still in its infancy. In this episode, we discuss with Dr. Muddassir Ahmed the role of education in supply chain and what the industry can do to attract great minds.

Muddassir is the MEA Regional Planning and Operations Manager at Bridgestone, as well as running the SCMDOJO, and has previously joined us on LokadTV before. The SCMDOJO is a dedicated knowledge bank for supply chain professionals looking to better themselves.

What is complex is that despite 70 years or so of what we can call modern supply chain research, we can say that the field of supply chain study is still in a “pre-scientific” age. Often, when people want to research different aspects of supply chain more thoroughly, they come up empty handed. Despite the importance of supply chain, it’s often a career that people seem to fall in to, instead of setting out to work in. This is very likely influenced by the lack of structured teaching available on supply chain. It can further be argued that there is a lack of structure as a whole in supply chain and that is a field of study riddled with muddled theories and groups of taxonomies with very little substance.

Joannès and Muddassir debate whether supply chain should be considered as a science (Joannès is of the opinion that it should be) or rather as a pure theory of management. We argue that while soft skills are no doubt important, it is not those that will truly make supply chain advance. It is scientific knowledge, which has been proven with a multitude of examples throughout history, that truly allows breakthroughs to occur - what Amazon is currently doing with its warehouses being a prime example.