Meet Rachel Kennedy, industrial distribution major

Rachel Kennedy, Schaumburg, Ill.

Major: Industrial Distribution/Industrial Technology


Women in Technology, president

My major

The most challenging part of the major is the course load. We take a class within each department to get familiar with different industries. We study concepts that are useful in the shipping and receiving business, but it’s more than that. We cover warehousing and inventory, anything to do with products and the supply chain. Industrial distribution is more than just FedEx. Any company that has a product needs someone to ship, order and get the product in. The job can’t be outsourced, and it’s not a job that’s going to go away. According to the job outlook, this is a growing field. A lot of us get a dual major with industrial technology. You become more familiar with quality and processes and lean manufacturing, which can all relate to distribution. It’s good to know those to be more marketable.

A ha!

When I first came to Purdue, I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I started in accounting, and then I started looking at other majors I wasn’t familiar with. With industrial distribution, I liked the potential jobs, the class loads and the possibilities. I liked that most of the classes had lab components and that we could apply what we learned to real-world scenarios. The material really appealed to me. It has been fun, and I love being in warehouses. Every industry has them.

Making a difference

I hope to bring new ideas or ideas for processes to the company I work for to make their supply chain work smoother and more efficiently.

Simulation provides experience

In IT 33200 (Purchasing, Inventory, And Warehouse Management) we had a lab to learn software programs. We worked in the simulation in teams. The teams each had a customer base and also had to focus on inventory, pricing and replenishing stock. We had to be competitive with prices and marketing. At the end of the 20-minute period, the group with the best strategy won.


I was a supply chain field engineering intern for Office Depot, based in the company’s distribution center in Atlanta, Ga. I created a spare parts database for the conveyor systems in all of their distribution centers. I also applied inventory and replenishment processes that I learned about in class. It was a great experience to see concepts I’ve studied be put to use in a fast-paced distribution environment.