Replenishing the Old “Supply”
Students, faculty reawaken interest in supply chain student organization
By Justin Walker
A student organization within the Department of Management is getting new life thanks to the efforts of Supply Chain Management (SCM) professors and students.
For many years, the Association of Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Students (ALPS) served as the student organization for the SCM major. However, recent years saw membership numbers dwindle until the organization had all but died off, Josh Strakos, clinical associate professor in the Department of Management, said.
“ALPS was fairly inactive going into the spring of 2020,” Strakos said. “We are trying to grow and sustain the major and ALPS activity was not keeping pace. We have students who we—the SCM faculty—felt like needed to have more leadership opportunities, more mentorship opportunities.”
The SCM major has undergone rapid growth, graduating more than 70 students in the 2019-2020 academic year—up from just 18 in 2014-2015.
The SCM faculty also felt students within the major needed more of a social component to their studies, as the major had grown quickly over the past several years, he said. This sparked an idea to revitalize ALPS but through a different medium.
ALPS was a local, Baylor-specific group, Strakos said. To help increase connections to the business world, the faculty decided to apply for a charter with APICS, an international professional education, certification and training organization within the Association for Supply Chain Management. APICS chapters exist all over the globe, Strakos said, for both students and professionals. Many of the SCM faculty members had been involved with APICS either during college or during their careers, he said.
“The faculty all shared the confidence and first-hand knowledge that APICS is a good organization,” Strakos said. “It is extremely education-focused. We thought it would be good to link the student organization to an international association that is going to be as beneficial to the students as possible.”
Caroline Lippman, a senior SCM major from Dallas, received several emails from Strakos about APICS in the spring 2020 semester. The first introduced the organization to all SCM students, but the second sought out students interested in helping develop it.
Lippman was excited about the opportunity and applied to be on the first officer team for Baylor APICS. She was elected vice president of operations and worked with President Chandler Young and Vice President of Marketing Monique Ordonez to develop a constitution, budget and charter application.
“Not many people get to be a co-founder of an organization,” Lippman said. “We took a hands-on approach to start APICS. It was a great experience.”
The major goals of APICS, according to the charter, are to recruit new students to the SCM major, form lasting relationships with supply chain professionals, provide a networking platform for current SCM majors, host at least one networking function for students and potential employers per calendar year, and educate members about supply chain and professional certifications.
The next initiative for the officer team is recruiting more members, Lippman said. They hope to get freshman and sophomores involved to expose them to the SCM major and the opportunities it has to offer, she said. There are no membership dues at the moment.
“We want to make the organization as useful to the members as possible,” she said. “We do not want to put any obstacles in their way of trying to network with professionals or gain certifications. We want this to be an organization where [students] can gain experience they can take into the real world.”
Once the charter is approved, Baylor APICS will consist of monthly meetings featuring presentations and visits from industry professionals, Strakos said. These meetings will be designed to promote professional development, education, and networking opportunities that could lead to internships and mentorships. When distancing requirements lighten up, Baylor APICS will also seek additional tours of manufacturing and distribution facilities, getting students out into the industry as much as possible, he said.
There is a significant push for Baylor APICS to serve as an educational resource for business students who are either supply chain majors or those interested in the program, Strakos said. APICS will provide information on what supply chain management is and what the SCM major entails while recruiting students into the program.
The APICS chapter is part of a multi-faceted faculty effort to enhance the SCM major. APICS will work in tandem with the recently formed Supply Chain Advisory Board and other efforts to add value to the major for students, employers and other stakeholders.
“Part of what we want to do is maintain the health of and grow the major,” he said. “When you say ‘supply chain management’ to someone, there is likely a lot of variation in what they think it is. This organization will publicize what we do to a larger audience and strengthen our current students.”
For more information on the Baylor APICS chapter, please contact Josh Strakos at firstname.lastname@example.org.