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Impact of Natural Resources on Supply Chain

Whether looking for paper products, canned goods, a car or your favorite sneakers, you most likely became familiar with supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one of the most significant issues in today’s supply chain disruptions relates to natural resources, such as various critical minerals used in electric cars and other clean-energy technologies.

Not surprisingly, supply chain resilience is a top priority in the business world. The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Operations and Supply Chain Management online program prepares business professionals to meet this need. In addition to strengthening business and leadership competencies, this online MBA program equips graduates with the specialized supply chain skill set to succeed in this dynamic, high-demand field.

How Do Natural Resource Shortages Affect the Supply Chain?

Minerals mined from the earth are used in items as wide-ranging as jet engines, anti-microbial medical equipment, anti-flaking agents in foods, auto parts and insecticides, to name a few.

While some minerals are found in abundance, others are in short supply. The automobile industry experienced the impact of natural resource shortages during the pandemic when supply chain disruptions for semiconductors led to empty car dealer lots. The U.S. Government Accountability Office notes that semiconductors rely on critical minerals such as lithium and cobalt.

Lithium is also a key component in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. As the world addresses climate change, demand for EVs is putting a strain on the supply of this nonrenewable resource. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), a global lithium shortage may come as soon as 2025. Unfortunately, boosting production is not a quick solution. WEF notes that it took an average of 16.5 years for lithium mines that started between 2010 and 2019 to develop.

Forest resources such as lumber offer another example of the impact of natural resources on supply chains. An article in the Journal of Commerce describes “significant supply chain challenges” resulting from recent wildfires in western Canada. The spread of harmful beetles, made worse by warmer temperatures brought on by climate change, adds to lumber shortages. A mismatch of supply and demand led to higher lumber prices, delaying many constructions projects.

Why Is UIS’s MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management an Ideal Choice?

A 2022 McKinsey survey shows that supply chains remain the top corporate priority, with an “acute shortage of talent” hindering efforts to improve supply chain resilience. Bloomberg calls supply chain management the new “must-have MBA.”

Companies count on MBA graduates to have a strong foundation in core business topics such as finance, accounting, marketing and human resource management. However, UIS’s MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management goes a step further to prepare graduates to meet the demand for supply chain talent, which includes addressing the implications of natural resource shortages.

For example, supply chain sustainability impacts a company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, a set of standards used to evaluate investment risks. Therefore, finding opportunities to increase the use of renewables throughout the supply chain has cost and risk benefits.

UIS’ MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management prepares graduates with advanced skills, methodologies and business applications for global supply chain design and management, which includes improving sustainability. Areas of emphasis include:

  • Current issues in supply chain management, such as supply chain strategy, supply contracts, risk mitigation strategies, flexible logistics systems, service supply chains, sustainability and the role of IT
  • Predictive analytics, including the use of Minitab and SPSS
  • Optimization modeling, such as with LINGO
  • Financial analytics and forecasting
  • Lean operations and quality systems for continuous improvement
  • Six Sigma methodologies, including DMAIC (define, measure, analyze, improve and control), a data-driven process improvement strategy

According to McKinsey, companies can expect supply chain disruptions of a month or longer every 3.7 years. Whether trigged by pandemics, geopolitical conflicts, climate change, cyberattacks, warehouse fires, wildfires or other factors, supply chain disruption is a reality that business professionals must anticipate.

As companies seek supply chain talent to optimize performance, MBA graduates with a supply chain specialization can expect to be in demand. If you are ready to advance your career in supply chain management, UIS’ MBA in Operations and Supply Chain Management online program can prepare you for leadership roles in as few as 12 months.

Learn more about the University of Illinois Springfield’s online Master of Business Administration in Operations & Supply Chain Management program.

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