No country in the world has witnessed such phenomenal growth in recent years as China. But that country's economic success could be in jeopardy if it doesn't expand its talent pool in the supply chain and logistics arena.
According to Xinhua's English-language news service, a report by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) says that domestic and foreign-funded companies are having a difficult time finding qualified supply chain and logistics professionals. "Qualified professionals not only include senior managers but also well-trained logistics workers," said CAS researcher Feng Gengzhong.
If China's universities are to provide the solution to the supply chain talent shortage, they may have to make some curriculum changes. The CAS report notes that in 2001, only one university offered a specialized course in logistics. By 2005, the number of courses had grown to 165. But simply increasing the number of courses being offered won't solve the problem because universities still focus on academic studies and fail to provide students with practical experience, the report says.
Charles Guowen Wang of the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University and Wenli Tong of the Center for Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the China Development Institute disagree with some of the CAS report's conclusions. They believe that there is an oversupply of logistics courses, but agree that these courses do not meet the industry's needs.
In a recent, unpublished report, "China Logistics Education—The Concern Behind Prosperity," Wang and Tong contend that China's educational establishment should encourage the development of logistics and supply chain management curricula to keep pace with the country's industrial development. They recommend investing in training more qualified teachers and inviting business executives to teach on school campuses in order to give students practical and operational knowledge. Finally, they note that the country lacks supply chain textbooks, and that few are written and published in China.
[Sources: Xinhua News Service, February 2007. "China Logistics Education—The Concern Behind Prosperity," Charles Guowen Wang and Wenli Tong, 2007, unpublished.]