Phoenix has become a major logistics hub for the western United States. National and global firms such as Amazon, Target, Home Depot, UPS, Costco and PetSmart operate distribution and fulfillment centers in the West Valley, capitalizing on the area’s proximity to California via Interstate 10.
That concentration of fulfillment centers has resulted in an increased demand for professionals in the logistics field, a career area that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will be one of the top five fastest growing in the country over the next decade.
With that in mind, the W. P. Carey Supply Chain Management Department at Arizona State University has developed new undergraduate and graduate degrees in global logistics management that will be offered at the ASU West campus, located right in the middle of the logistics corridor.
Logistics management, in its simplest form, involves making sure the supply of goods and services flowing through the system closely matches demand. It focuses on the integration and partnerships necessary to meet customer needs on a timely basis with relevant and high- quality products delivered in an efficient manner.
ASU Professor Charles Maltz says logistics has always been a part of the supply chain management program at the business school. But in recent years, logistics has become a key function in the private, nonprofit and governmental sectors, as well as in the health- care industry, where efficient, effective delivery systems are crucial. Every company has a logistics function as part of its corporate structure, and it is essential to the success of companies that ship products all over the world. The current CEOs of Apple and Wal-Mart previously held logistics-related positions at those organizations, demonstrating the high
value of leaders who understand the importance of logistics.
The program already has received some major interest from companies with West Valley operations. ASU professors Joseph Carter and Maltz created the W. P. Carey Logistics Alliance as a partnership between the school and companies in need of logistics professionals. The alliance already has 30 members – including all of the major companies with distribution centers in the area.
Phoenix -based Dircks Moving & Logistics, a member of the alliance, is looking forward to helping groom future logistics professionals, says executive vice president Rick Dircks.
“ASU is doing a good job of involving the business community to help mold the logistics program and connect with the students,”Dircks says. He says his company is a prime example of the growth in importance of logistics.
Started more than 20 years ago as a residential moving company, Dircks has expanded into logistics, mainly warehousing and distribution, which he describes as “inventory or asset management.”
“The people-moving side of our company is very mature and low growth,”he says.“But the logistics side is growing and we are emphasizing that area.”
Dircks says one example of that logistics work involves Chinese solar products that are shipped to the company’s warehouse. The company kits the products and delivers them to the intended customers.
“Logistics is so much more than moving something from point A to point B,” Dircks says. “You have to do it faster and cheaper to cut costs in the supply chain. What these ASU students are going to learn is how to make a warehouse more efficient, to make the whole process more efficient by ringing out costs and getting products to the customer quicker.”
Carter and Maltz say that the new W. P. Carey degrees will be successful from the start because demand for logistics professionals is so high and university business school programs in logistics are so few.
“Companies now have no choice but to hire people from other fields,” Carter says. “In my estimation, they will flock to our program. Students who graduate from the program will be able to get high- payingjobsinthestateofArizona.Theycanstarthere,thentheycanmoveanywhereintheworld.”
First published at KnowWPCarey.com