Meet Darrell Kent: Supply Chain Professional and Instructor
Supply Chain expert helps learners leverage data for decision-making and planning.
Georgia Tech Supply Chain Institute works with ORTEC, a global software and analytics company, to present the Supply Chain Analytics Professional Certificate and share the latest industry developments. The four-course series covers performance analysis, machine learning applications, statistical analysis, and prescriptive analysis for supply chain activities across all industries. Together they give the learner a strong foundation for applying advanced analytics to their supply chain planning and forecasting activities while also providing any SCL professional with a roadmap for enhancing their skill set. We sat down with Darrell Kent, ORTEC's professional education manager and the certificate's newest industry professional instructor. He shares his background, teaching approach, and what he sees as the future of demands for analytics in the field.
What is your current role and connection to Georgia Tech?
I am a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute’s Supply Chain Analytics Professional Certificate program.
What is your SCL-related industry experience?
I’ve had more than 15 years of senior experience helping companies deploy machine learning, mathematical optimization, and other advanced analytics solutions as part of their wider digital transformation efforts, including in relation to pricing management, customer segmentation, demand forecasting, resource planning, network design, visual detection systems for automated yard management, predictive maintenance, machine learning-based booking control, and dispatch automation and optimization.
What prompted you to start teaching supply chain analytics courses?
From our experience in industry, the instructional team for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain Analytics Professional Certificate has seen first-hand the value of a hands-on, advanced analytics course focused on real-world supply chain problems.
How would you describe your teaching style?
My teaching style is intensely practical. Our students get paid for what they can do, not merely what they know. We focus on the student’s ability to do real work on real problems, the solutions to which represent real opportunities.
What can a student in Georgia Tech’s Supply Chain Analytics Professional Certificate series courses expect in terms of course structure and pace?
The pace will be brisk. The courses are taught 100% online and size is limited to allow for discussion and interactions with fellow learners. Each course provides a tailored deep-dive into an essential component of applied analytics for supply chain activities. For our upcoming course 3 in the series, for example, we provide a comprehensive and practical introduction to machine learning (ML) for supply chain applications. Participants will be introduced to ML techniques, algorithms, and applications for a variety of supply chain activities. We also spend time reviewing forecasting and engine downtime predictive modeling, an advanced analytics technique. All the courses are designed as complementary building blocks but can be taken in any order.
What value does a learner gain by earning Georgia Tech’s Supply Chain Analytics Professional Certificate?
Completing the certificate will be a catalyst of forward momentum for learners, in terms of their ability to use analytics in the supply chain field. The certificate itself signifies a level of knowledge and achievement, but it also provides a road map for further learning.
How has demand for individuals with analytics experience changed for supply chain roles?
Demand for expertise in analytics has been strong for many years now. Increasingly, we see an opportunity for people who can both do the data science as well as lead practical change in organizations. These are both skills honed in the Georgia Tech Supply Chain Analytics Professional Certificate.
What do you see as the future demand for individuals with supply chain analytics expertise?
I believe we have many years of strong growth ahead in the supply chain analytics field. In many parts of the supply chain world - for example, the trucking industry where I have spent some time recently - there is still a relatively low rate of take-up of advanced analytics solutions. As well, there will be a natural maturation process - some applications we were initially excited about may not turn out to be so fruitful and others will come into view that will offer significant opportunities. Many companies will decide that it is too tough to build their own advanced analytics capabilities and will turn to specialized experts, particularly in view of the fast rate of growth in the creation of new knowledge in this field as well as increased pressures to improve supply chain forecasting and planning accuracy.