Preparing the Next Generation of Supply Chain Leaders through Innovative Education, Gamification, and Talent Focus

Preparing the Next Generation of Supply Chain Leaders through Innovative Education, Gamification, and Talent Focus

At the heart of The Prophets’ vision are “The 24 Essential Supply Chain Processes.” What are they? Find out, and see the future yourself. Click here

In this episode of the Auto Supply Chain Prophets podcast, hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths are joined by Thomas Kull, a professor of operations and supply chain management at Arizona State University. They discuss the evolving landscape of supply chain education, workforce expectations, and the importance of gamification. Thomas shares insights on how Arizona State University has adapted to meet the needs of modern students and how they are integrating supply chain management into various fields, including public and nonprofit sectors.

The conversation also explores the challenges students face entering the workforce, such as navigating workplace culture and the importance of understanding and influencing organizational culture. Thomas emphasizes the value of considering talent as a supply chain and treating labor markets as a supply base, highlighting the need for preventative maintenance on the human capital side.

Ultimately, the episode encourages organizations to adopt a supply chain view of their workforce, embracing supply chain thinking across various business aspects to create a more interconnected and sustainable approach to talent management.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • Supply Chain Education
  • The role of gamification in education and the workplace
  • The significance of organizational culture
  • The concept of talent as a supply chain
  • Experiential Learning
  • Supply Chain Thinking

Featured on this episode: 

Name: Thomas Kull

Title: Professor of Supply Chain Management, Arizona State University

About: Thomas is a distinguished professional with over 13 years of industry experience and an impressive 15-year academic career. He currently holds the position of Professor of Supply Chain Management at W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. Notably, he is also an accomplished co-author of "People, Process, and Culture: Lean Manufacturing in the Real World" and a co-author of an upcoming book in 2024, emphasizing supply chain management and operations.

Connect: LinkedIn

Mentioned in this episode:

Episode Highlights:

[03:23] Innovative supply chain education: Thomas discusses how universities like Arizona State are reshaping supply chain education to align with the changing needs and expectations of students entering the workforce.

[07:30] Gamification in learning: The episode highlights the use of gamification in education and how it can be employed to motivate and engage students, making learning a more interactive and enjoyable experience.

[14:07] Culture in the workplace: Thomas emphasizes the significance of understanding and navigating workplace culture, highlighting the importance of being a "student of culture" to thrive in various organizational environments.

[21:44] Thomas’ advice: Integrate supply chain thinking: Thomas introduces the concept of treating talent as a supply chain and encourages organizations to adopt a supply chain perspective across different facets of their operations to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and talent management.

Top Quotes:

[04:20] Thomas: "What we've done, we've kind of reconfigured our institutions, reconfigured our colleges, they are no longer aligned by classical silos. They are integrated, and they're continually being integrated. And it changes how you approach students, who your students are, where your market of students is, and who comes to hire your students.”

[08:07] Thomas: "I think probably one of the largest areas that we are trying to push into and continually are growing is the gamification of education. The nice thing is that everyone likes it – even seasoned executives enjoy these 'video games.' I believe that gamification will only continue to flourish."

[10:23] Thomas: "I would rather have a bunch of people who wanted responsibility than a bunch of people who didn't want responsibility."

[11:11] Thomas: “One of the great aspects of gamification is the constant sense of leveling up. When you find yourself in a job where you don't experience that upward progress, it's easy to feel stagnant or discontent. Instead of dwelling on the frustration, it’s better to embrace that and figure out a way to leverage that need to feel like I'm progressing.”

[14:59] Thomas: "When you join any organization, recognize that its culture transcends its physical appearance. Whether it's a manufacturing setting or a gleaming glass-walled office, the culture's impact can be profound. Sometimes, even in seemingly humble surroundings, a vibrant and energetic culture thrives. The social elements of a work environment are very, very important.

[21:14] Thomas: "I think that my piece of advice is to help others have a more systemic, interdependent network value stream thinking beyond just production."D


Delivering on the Promise of Delivery: Automotive Sustainability and Profitability

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White Paper for Leveraging Risk Management in Automotive

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Operational Restart Readiness

Download here

The 24 Essential Supply Chain

Download here


Keep in touch with Auto Supply Chain Prophet's co-hosts Terry Onica and Jan Griffiths on LinkedIn.


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