Being the First Supply Chain Intern

By Brandon Peterson, Supply Chain Intern

When it came time to look for a summer internship, I really wanted to find something that would help me explore the various aspects of supply chain management. With that in mind, I felt like interning for a larger scale company wouldn’t be ideal because I would likely be limited to a narrower role with fewer activities. Conversely, a smaller company like Tekna would enable me to view the process more comprehensively, and gain a better understanding of what I would like to do in my future endeavors.

My time at Tekna proved to be unique, because not only was this was my first supply chain internship, it was also the first time Tekna had hosted an intern in the production facility. Though I was aware throughout the entirety of tenure that I was the intern, I was never treated as such, but rather was treated as a part of the team.

On my third day of work, before I even had my feet underneath me to get comfortable, I was invited to participate in visiting a new, potential supplier. From there, I knew this was going to be an unforgettable experience that would only benefit me and my professional development. Sure, I had my share of mundane daily tasks such as receiving and payables, but this internship also allowed me to explore other critical functions. Success in supply chain management begins with effective planning, which requires an understanding of customer demand, supplier lead time, inventory management, production capacity, and logistical considerations.  I got to see almost every single aspect of what Tekna’s supply chain looks like from supplier to producer to distribution. I also got to interact in some way or another with several different exercises, such as extracting data from the purchasing software and manipulating it to generate an easily-understood report categorized by product family, and linking that inventory to the value of open sales orders to the customer. An understanding of this type of information is vital to ensure the proper alignment of inventory assets with customer demand and represents a task that moves beyond tactical activity and into strategic planning.

Being able to work with one of the most closely-knit group of individuals made it so easy for me to learn so much. Working side by side with James, Deb, and Ryan every day made it extremely easy to come into work every morning eager to learn and to see what kind of tasks and challenges they had for me. I am forever grateful for all that they have taught me and I couldn’t be happier with how this internship turned out and all the experience I have gained.