In good times or bad, supply-chain management is an exciting field. Just ask Richard Lee, Director of Operations at the eGrocery-fulfillment platform FoodX Solutions. In an industry of continual change, Lee relishes the nonstop challenge of not only keeping the product flow going, but getting every order perfect—and he welcomes the attitude and innovations that BCIT’s industry-ready School of Business+ Media graduates bring.
The Global Trade and Transportation Management (GTTM) program primes students for every flow-of-goods scenario, from the normal minor glitches to mega-disruptions. GTTM students are taught by instructors who are industry experts and offer firsthand insights into market analysis and strategizing local, national, and global trade and transportation.
“Primed for action” is how Lee describes GTTM grads. “They come in with the exact qualities I look for in an employee: ownership for the job, intense curiosity, high standards, and being both innovative and having a good sense of what is cost-effective.
“They have the ability to dive deep, to manage complex projects, tackle key business issues and make improvements. They want to hit that home run.”
At other post-secondary schools, a supply chain management program would likely be in the classroom, lecture-based, theory-heavy and stretching over four years. By contrast, as GTTM Program Head Leo Lei explains, the School of Business + Media combines lectures, lab hours and industry experience in two – ensuring students are job-ready with practical skills and knowledge when they graduate.
It’s an intensive approach that reflects GTTM’s goal of “training our students in team and time management to be efficient beyond efficiency. That means making the right, the best, the most constructive, decision—and quickly. We also ensure they have that critical skill all businesses are looking for, to know how to work with the people around them.”
With industry’s all-too-vivid memories of empty store shelves at the pandemic’s start, GTTM grads are popular hires and in fast-growing demand. “There’s a wider appreciation now that supply chain is huge in global trade, in the economy. That it’s almost impossible for business to have good results without top-quality supply-chain management solutions,” says Lei.
Ready for industry—and for change
GTTM grads go on to careers, here and around the world, in logistics, inventory management, general supply chain management, and procurement and sourcing areas. “They’re ready to embrace complexity and innovate for current and future demands of the workforce.”
Not only ready for change—but eager for it, Lei stresses. Supply chain management isn’t for those who prefer the status quo. “Just the opposite. Look at how technology is continuing to impact our field. As in other areas of industry, technology is reshaping how we work. There’s also growth in the use of artificial intelligence.”
Whether it’s a minor glitch or a disaster in the flow of goods, there’s always something new, he says. “You make a decision now, sure. But brace yourself. In six months, there could be a change that contradicts that decision. The challenge is to ensure the least disruption to consumers, all while adapting to fast-moving developments.
And, via the School of Business + Media’s Business Consulting Projects (BCP), students get the chance to adapt to them while still in the program. The Project matches a team of two or three students with local companies to provide recommendations and solutions to a specific business problem or challenge. FoodX is one of many ongoing, enthusiastic BCP clients, says Lee:
“Each semester, we send proposals about issues of FoodX process improvement we need solved. Once a proposal is accepted, a GTTM student team does interviews with us, observes and investigates. Based on their findings, they design a process that’s more cost-effective, more scalable and compliant with health and safety.”
Lee cites a BCP where students tackled a zero-waste challenge to use and reuse FoodX’s materials, as opposed to using once, then trashing. “The team enhanced our processes of cleaning, for example, recycling the frozen gel packs we use in transporting food. They developed the idea of cleaning the packs, then storing them for next use on a porous, rather than standard solid-bottom, tray in freezers. That way, the water used to clean the packs doesn’t stick to and damage the packs. Instead, it falls through the trays’ holes. Simple but brilliant: that’s the beauty of the best ideas.”
It’s also the beauty of a career in supply chain management, says Lee. “If you love challenge, this is the career for you.”
Sign up for an info session to learn more about Global Trade and Transportation Management program at the BCIT School of Business + Media.