Original Research

Industry expectations of supply chain management graduates: Perspectives from third-party logistics providers in South Africa

Marc Allden, Wesley Niemann, Theuns Kotzé
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 12 | a379 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v12i0.379 | © 2018 Marc Allden, Wesley Niemann, Theuns Kotzé | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 February 2018 | Published: 08 August 2018

About the author(s)

Marc Allden, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Wesley Niemann, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Theuns Kotzé, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Background: There is currently a skills mismatch between what the third-party logistics (3PL) industry expects from new supply chain management graduates and what the educational system supplies. As the traditional roles of 3PLs are changing, subsequently increasing their importance within the supply chain industry, supplying graduates with the necessary skills becomes even more critical.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine what the South African 3PL industry expects from new graduates with a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management or related fields in relation to skills, personal attributes and knowledge.

Method: A generic qualitative research design was used to collect data from 12 participants using semi-structured interviews.

Results: It was found that academic institutions equip new graduates adequately with knowledge, but not with the expected skills. Furthermore, the findings confirmed the current literature, while also identifying additional expectations. 3PLs expect new graduates to perform various activities throughout the supply chain, such as warehousing and transport activities, while simultaneously using their technological knowledge and abilities to improve different processes within the supply chain. This requires new graduates to be creative, innovative and analytical and to have advanced communication skills. Therefore, supply chain management programmes should provide graduates with more exposure and experiences in real-life supply chain settings.

Conclusion: The findings allow for academic institutions to revise and adapt their curricula to meet the need of more practical skills development.


industry expectations; graduate skills; supply chain management; 3PL; generic qualitative research; semi-structured interviews; South Africa


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