Role of Supply Chain Management in Government Settings

Supply chain and logistics management skills are transferable from industry to industry, private or public. The Fitchburg State University Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Supply Chain Management online program is designed for those pursuing a career in business or government.

The curriculum trains students for careers in transportation, logistics and distribution management within supply chain operations. It also helps students utilize geographic information systems for effective decision-making and learn the widely used professional GIS software, ArcGIS.

Supply Chain in Government

According to Burning Glass Technologies, budgeting, project management, procurement, purchasing, supply chain management, logistics, scheduling and enterprise resource planning are the greatest in-demand skills for supply chain management positions.

A supply chain “encompasses all activities associated with the flow and transformation of materials and services from inbound upstream suppliers through to end users via downstream distribution and a service provider network,” according to The IBM Center for the Business of Government. Materials, services, funds and information all flow through the chain. Effective management integrates these activities to achieve specific objectives such as medical supply capacity and readiness for pandemics or improved response capabilities for natural disasters.

Managers and executives in government roles can expect to be involved with numerous supply chain activities including joint planning, management of information systems, bidding, negotiation, sourcing, procurement, scheduling of supplier and distributor tasks, contracting, order processing, inventory management, warehousing, disposal of waste and even customer service.

Government supply chain professionals may work closely with upstream suppliers such as raw material and service providers, information technology vendors, infrastructure contractors, logistics providers and many others. Though this can be said of the private sector, in many cases the stakes are higher in the public sector, especially when public health and safety or the environment and air quality are imperiled.

Should you choose to apply your skills in the public sector, your responsibilities may include selecting the most cost-effective and efficient suppliers, holding suppliers to performance and quality standards, following government guidelines for bidding and negotiations and maintaining excellent vendor relationships.

Internal Agencies of the Federal Government

So much of what the government does regarding logistics and the supply chain is delegated to internal agencies that contract with external agencies on behalf of U.S. citizens and their needs. Internal agencies provide valuable services to the public involving infrastructure, national defense, public health and disaster response. You may be familiar with:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

How the Complex Components Come Together

Services and resources work their way downstream, passing through state and local agencies, third-party distributors, providers of healthcare, military and other services. Downstream management professionals may work closely with trucking companies, airlines, carrier fleets, receiving docks, warehouses and retail outlets, as well as with payment providers.

Emergency planning is of special importance, given the increased risks associated with the pandemic, terrorism, wildfires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. A swift and effective response requires strong supply chain team governance, IT risk assessment and planning, strategic stockpile planning, education and training.

Because the United States has a role in maintaining and regulating world affairs as well as international logistics — and one of the world’s largest populations and strongest economies — it also has the world’s most complex and advanced government supply chains. To keep that supply chain strong and prepared for emergencies, the government needs a system of higher education with training programs to develop the world’s best-educated supply chain professionals.

A specialized MBA in Supply Chain Management online program — developed in conjunction with leading public and private sector organizations — can be a pivotal component to meeting the needs of an increasingly complex system and its constituents.

Learn more about Fitchburg State’s MBA in Supply Chain Management online program.


The IBM Center for the Business of Government: Planning for the Inevitable: The Role of the Federal Supply Chain in Preparing for National Emergencies

Burning Glass: Different Skills, Different Gaps

Progress: The Role of Government in Securing Supply Chains

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