How a Professor Reconciles the Supply Chain with Marketing

Professor Shailendra “Shelly” Jain.

When people think of supply chain, they think about procurement and transfer of raw materials into consumable goods, but not marketing. According to the James D. Currie Professor of Marketing, Shailendra Pratap Jain, people, especially supply chain professionals need to realize the impact marketing strategies can have on the supply chain of a good and vice versa. This is why Professor Jain teaches a course in the Foster, Master of Supply Chain Management Program titled Marketing Strategy and Channel Management (SCM 510) that interconnects marketing themes with supply chain issues.

Marketing Strategy and Channel Management

“The high-level pitch is that the course is about understanding the various marketing levers that are involved and engaged from the viewpoint of the supply chain,” Professor Jain explains. These levers include research and development, production, competition, consumer preferences, and distribution channels, among others.

From the supply chain perspective, Professor Jain also believes there is a widespread misconception about marketing and its various tools. “Business students often come in with a relatively partial view of marketing. They think it’s mostly about advertising or doing things that are unethical.”

While advertising is one of several aspects of marketing, and some marketing decisions do face ethical challenges (like decisions in virtually every management field), marketing is more than that.

Another misconception Professor Jain hopes to debunk is that supply chain professionals don’t need to understand marketing to do their jobs well. According to Professor Jain, this is false because a microeconomy in its simplest form features both supply and demand. While the supply chain profession typically deals with the supply side, supply itself is impacted by demand, and a critical way demand is addressed is through good marketing.

At the same time, just like everything else in the business world, marketing too is rapidly changing.

“Marketing is changing a lot. It is not only experiencing rapid digitalization, but big data and artificial intelligence have also come into play. If supply chain students don’t take marketing classes, they may end up with somewhat anachronistic ideas and views that do not have much traction today.”

If anything, this last year has shown the world that supply chain professionals need to be a step ahead, agile, and well-rounded to tackle big challenges like a global pandemic. There are of course many ways for today’s supply chain professionals to be well-prepared for unforeseen challenges, one of which is taking courses like Marketing Strategy and Channel Management that goes beyond the supply side, and looks closely and strategically at the demand side.

Learn more about the Foster MSCM program, and see if it’s the right program for you!


Written by Maryam Noor
MSCM Writer & Content Strategist
[email protected]

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