15:08 PM

Rahl Details Supply Chain At CoB Speaker Event

Rahl Details Supply Chain At CoB Speaker Event

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

It takes 19 different countries to make a single cup of Starbucks coffee. That’s a lot of beans to line up.

Rodney Rahl, the General Sales Manager at Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) and a graduate of Bellevue University’s MBA program, used the Starbucks example to illustrate the complexity of supply chain and logistics management in the modern world. Rahl served as the as the keynote speaker for the College of Business Speaker Series Wednesday, December 9 in the Muller ASB Symposium Room.

SONY DSC“This is why supply chain is so important. You have to make sure that all of those 19 different products from all of those 19 different countries come together at one point,” Rahl said. Can you imagine how many different countries it takes to build a car? A computer? A refrigerator?

Rahl’s presentation, entitled The Changing Landscape of Logistics: A New Dynamic for Retailers, drew in a large crowd almost filling the Symposium Room seating. Students from Guangzhou College of Commerce, many of whom are majoring in Supply Chain and Logistics Management, filled the center section.

Rahl, who earned his MBA in 2013, has 24 years of experience at NFM. Having earned his bachelor’s degree from Peru State, Rahl started at NFM in order to learn sales.

“I fell in love with the company, the family, the atmosphere, the product. It just became what I wanted to do,” he said.

He opened his presentation with a brief history of the business.

“Mrs. B (Rose Blumkin) started the business in 1937 in the basement of a pawn shop. She couldn’t read or write English. She worked until she was 103 and passed away at 104. She had such passion for what she did, that she couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Rahl said.

He then detailed some of the changes in the furniture business dating back to 1905 when Singer sewing cabinets became one of the first pieces of furniture to be mass produced, through the migration of manufacturing from the United States to China and then into other countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Understanding the culture and traditions of each country and how it can impact production and delivery are key components of logistics management, Rahl said.

“The world market changes every day, what is true today may not be true tomorrow,” he said.

Rahl did encourage students to stay the course while pursuing their degrees.

“When you’re sitting in your class thinking, ‘oh, when am I going to use this?’ Trust me, you will,” he said. “A lot of times going back into those books will help a lot. Excel, learn that thing backwards and forwards.”