AN ANALYSIS OF THE EDUCATION SUPPLY CHAIN AND
SCM CHALLENGES IN K12 SCHOOLS
The goal of supply chain management (SCM) is to integrate and optimize activities within and across organizations for all stakeholders’ satisfaction. SCM in academia, which is called Educational SCM, aims at giving the best education possible for the students making effective use of the available resources. In the academia, the customers themselves provide their bodies and souls, minds, belongings, or information as inputs to the service processes. Supply chain management is needed for various reasons: improving operations, better outsourcing, increasing profits, enhancing customer satisfaction, generating quality outcomes, tackling competitive pressures and increasing globalization.
The suppliers in the Education System are of many categories. Those that supply the Teaching Staff:
These are typically the teacher training colleges and institutions that offer degrees and diplomas to certify "trained" teachers for schools and colleges. In addition to Government funded/aided colleges , plenty of private institutions have come up that offer quality programs to train teachers. According to Mr.Sabharwal, Chairman of Team Lease, "The biggest challenge is linking the supply side -- the training institutes -- to the demand side -- the employers. Currently, supply and demand are in parallel universes, so most kids are not "job ready." On the government side, we do not link financing to outcomes and have not made government money available for private delivery. We also need to simultaneously tackle our school system because we cannot teach someone in six months what they should have learned [over] 15 years." Those that supply the textbooks, study materials, teaching aids: The syllabi for different education systems(C.B.S.E., Matriculation, etc.) are first set by special boards for each category, a panel of educators then compile the material for the different textbooks , which are then published by the textbook publishers, Textbook Society of India, etc. Those that supply other teaching aids, lab equipment, materials for co-curricular activities, sports equipment, furniture for the educational institution: The educational institutions usually have contracts with these kind of suppliers to ensure good quality products delivered on time.
THE SERVICE PROVIDER AND THE INVENTORY
The service providers are the educational institutions themselves, in this case the K12 schools. The inventory, then, is made up of: The teaching staff comprising of the teachers who teach Math, Science, Language, Social Sciences, Physical Education, Arts and Crafts , IT, Music, Swimming and other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. The text books, software and other materials necessary to provide well rounded education, such as necessary lab apparatus, equipment for PE, crafts and other tools. The admin and other staff such as the librarian, lab assistants, watchmen, gardeners, sanitary workers, etc. without whom the school cannot function efficiently. Basic furniture including desks and chairs for the class rooms, black/white boards, playground equipment and other fixtures of the school campus which need to be changed/replaced only occasionally. CONSUMERS
The consumers are the students who avail of the services of the school and get educated. The interesting thing is that the end consumers become the inventory for the higher educational institutions. PROBLEMS
Shortage of appropriately qualified teaching staff , especially ones with the passion for teaching, is the major problem associated with the Education Supply Chain. The UNICEF report (2006) says,"19 % of the total primary schools are single teacher schools in India catering to nearly 12% of the total enrolment in primary classes . Systemic factors - lack of teachers (especially female), teacher absenteeism, irregular classes, overcrowded classrooms, and traditional methods of rote...