MN4480 Supply Chain Management

This course is designed to provide a broad discussion about the various issues impacting the supply chain of organizations. A supply chain is a network of organizations that supply and transform materials, and distribute final products to customers. Supply chain management (SCM) is a broadly defined term for the analysis and improvement of flows of material, information, and money through this network of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and customers. SCM emphasizes inventory-service level tradeoffs across the chain of players that together deliver a product at the right time for a fair cost to the right customer. There is probably no universal agreement on the distinction between logistics and supply chain management. However, we might say that logistics has traditionally focused on materiel issues within and downstream from the factory while SCM looks at the entire network of players, both up and down stream, and perhaps has greater emphasis on information flows through the network. Logistics has traditionally been considered a tactical subject, less likely to capture the attention of upper management. SCM has attracted the attention of top management because of its strategic approach and integration with other functions in the organization. Many companies and/or divisions have added Supply Chain Analyst positions that frequently report to high-level managers. Ultimately, logistics and SCM activities are concerned with coordinating demand and supply. Common elements in that coordination are the management of materials (inventories), the location of materials (warehouses), and the movement of materials (transportation). As part of the coordination, an analyst must consider product and process designs as well as information flows between various players in the network. These elements will form the basis of this course. We will review some elements of basic theory and consider applications of the theory in cases that span operational and strategic concerns.


The course requires prior understanding of basic statistics and process analysis.

Lecture Hours


Quarter Offered

  • As Required


  1. Determining inventory policies for independent demand items. This includes prioritizing stock-keeping units and defining policies for single-period and multi-period demands.
  2. Identifying cost-saving opportunities in a variety of supply chain structures. This includes vendor-managed inventories (VMI), inventory pooling, postponement and cross docking.
  3. Finding well-performing solutions for sharing capacity. This includes situations with equal or unequal value items.
  4. Evaluating supply chain information systems. This includes the Automatic Identification Technologies (AIT) for supply chain efficiency and life-cycle asset tracking.
  5. Applying pre-selected policies to dependent demand items. This requires using Material Requirement Planning process.