Combine Talent with Right Skill Sets.
The key to industry success lies in a symbiotic relationship between supply chain management and information systems management and in developing bright minds to marry the two, according to Harbert alumnus Randy V. Bradley, an associate professor at the University of Tennessee.
“One of the greatest challenges in industry right now is hiring and retaining qualified talent,” he said. “But we’re producing more supply chain professionals than ever now with the great programs like Auburn, Tennessee and Michigan State. This led me to think, ‘It’s not just about talent—it’s talent with the right skill sets.’”
It’s equipping supply chain professionals with information systems acumen and IT professionals with business acumen to create a harmonious supply chain organization. Bradley, who played tuba in the Auburn University Marching Band, knows something about harmony.
As a professor and consultant, he works to develop the hybrid supply chain and information systems management professional of tomorrow.
“One thing I see right now that hampers most organizations on their digital journeys is that you have IT professionals who don’t understand the context and domain in which the systems are being deployed. They become technologists and not true business partners. On the other hand, you have supply chain professionals who have depth and breadth of knowledge in supply chain management, but lack sufficient depth in technology and analytics.”
That’s where Bradley puts his Auburn degrees at work—all three of them. He earned a computer engineering degree in 1997, a master of management information systems in 2001, then completed a Ph.D. in management of information technology and innovation in 2006.
“What you’re going to see now is many organizations across the globe starting to redesign their supply chains and information systems infrastructures,” he said. “We have become extremely reliant on global markets, and rightfully so. We knew the supply chains were longer and therefore there’s a greater disruption due to increasing risks of various forms.”
“If your organization hasn’t already begun to prepare for the future, you’re already behind,” he added.
Bradley’s passion for helping other students began as a doctoral student at Auburn. He became involved in the P.h.D. Project, an initiative started by the KPMG Foundation with the goal of increasing diversity within industry. “They wanted to increase diversity in the front of the classrooms by increasing the number of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans who hold Ph.D.s in various business disciplines, with the goal of becoming business school professors. The premise behind that is once you change the way the front of the classroom looks, you can change the way the rest of the classroom looks, and that’s how you change the way industry looks.”
Bradley became an active recruiter for Auburn’s Ph.D. programs as a student and has continued his involvement with the P.h.D Project for 19 years. He was recently inducted into the P.h.D. Project’s Hall of Fame.