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Chapel of the Resurrection stock

A night view of Valparaiso University’s Chapel of the Resurrection.

VALPARAISO — In simple terms, a logistician knows how to get things to the right place at the right time, using the right method of distribution and transportation.

In a world, and a region, where demand is increasing for people with the training and expertise to get that job done, it is only logical for Valparaiso University to offer a path for its current and future students, professor Sanjay Kumar said.

VU's College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The major and minor in supply chain and logistics management joins existing programs in accounting, business analytics, finance, international business, management and marketing.

VU has developed both a major and minor in the field of supply chain and logistics management in its College of Business.

"It is a natural step in the evolution of businesses," Kumar said, adding that while the demand to fill logistics/supply chain jobs is growing, not many universities are offering majors in the specific subject area. The training is primarily rolled into other business degrees.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts there will be a need for more than 10,000 new logisticians by 2026. Its growth rate is marked at 7 percent, which is as fast as average. The 2016 median pay is $74,170 per year, or $35.66 per hour.

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The degree will prepare business leaders to manage complex operations across myriad industries, from technology and manufacturing to consultancy and retail.

"The manufacturing and transportation hub of Northwest Indiana provides ideal career opportunities for supply chain and logistics management graduates," said Kumar, associate professor of information and decision science, who led the initiative to bring this program to VU.

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Supply chain managers affect the overall success of a business and are involved in every element of the organization — purchasing, planning, transportation, production and storage, as well as the threads that connect the different elements.

Kumar said the university will add several classes to its curriculum to meet the program's needs. Current students, as long as they are not seniors, can begin taking the classes in the 2018-19 school year, with a full array of classes being offered in 2019-20.

Kumar said the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals reported that supply chain and logistics management careers provide high-paying jobs, with the demand of graduates exceeding the supply 6 to 1.

A recent study from Supply Chain Insights showed the top strengths required in the industry to be problem solving, strong analytical skills and the ability to see the big picture. The research firm also states that 25 percent to 33 percent of the supply chain workforce is at or past retirement age, leading to increased opportunities for the next generation to enter this in-demand industry, Kumar said.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.