Supply Chain Management: A Learning Perspective

Learn about how to create maximum value through effective supply chain management, in particular, from a dynamic learning perspective.

About The Course

As a human being, we all consume products and/or services all the time. This morning you got up and ate your breakfast, e.g., eggs, milk, bread, fresh fruits, and the like. After the breakfast, you drove your car to work or school. At your office, you used your computer, perhaps equipped with 27” LCD monitor. During your break, you drank a cup of coffee and played with your iPhone. So on and so forth. You probably take it for granted that you can enjoy all of these products. But if you take a closer look at how each of these products can be made and eventually delivered to you, you will realize that each one of these is no short of miracle. For example, which fruit do you like? Consider fresh strawberries. In order for the strawberries to be on your breakfast table, there must be numerous functions, activities, transactions, and people involved in planting, cultivating, delivering, and consuming strawberries. Moreover, all of these functions, activities, transactions, and people are connected as an integral chain, through which physical products like strawberries themselves and virtual elements such as information and communication flow back and forth constantly. By grouping related functions or activities, we have a supply chain, comprised of four primary functions such as supplier, manufacturer, distributor, and finally consumer. A supply chain is essentially a value chain. 

For the society or economy as a whole, the goal is to maximize value, i.e., to create satisfactory value without spending too much. In order to create the maximum value for the strawberry supply chain, every participant in the chain must carry out its function efficiently. In addition, all of the members must coordinate with each other effectively in order to ensure value maximization. We have to face the same issues for almost all the products and services we take for granted in our everyday life, e.g., cars, hamburgers, haircuts, surgeries, movies, banks, restaurants, and you name it! 

In this course, we want to understand fundamental principles of value creation for the consumers or the market. We try to answer questions like how the product or service is made, how the value-creating activities or functions are coordinated, who should play what leadership roles in realizing all these, and so on. As our course title hints, we approach all of these issues from a learning perspective, which is dynamic in nature and emphasizes long-term capability building rather than short-term symptomatic problem solving. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How will I be evaluated?
    The final grade is based on 8 quizzes and biweekly assignments. To receive a ‘Statement of Accomplishment’, you are expected to obtain more than or equal to 60% of the maximum possible score.

  • What resources will I need for this class?
    All the material will be provided via course site. You do not have to purchase any textbook in this course.

  • Who should take this course?
    Anyone who has curiosity about operations management and supply chain management is proper audience of this class. It might include students in any background, and employees at companies. This course is not only for employees who work for manufacturing. It covers not only manufacturing perspective but also service perspective.

  • What will I learn from this course?
    It depends on you. The course deals with a variety of issues, operations management, supply chain management, new product innovation, and so forth. It provides a framework for systematic thinking. You can apply it in a number of ways.

Recommended Background

No background is required.