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Undergraduate Supply Chain Management unit – resources for students with no working experience.

  • 1.  Undergraduate Supply Chain Management unit – resources for students with no working experience.

    Posted 09-21-2019 07:55

    I have just completed teaching a unit in SCM for undergraduate students (my first in this area) and I am concerned about the ability of students to connect what they have "learnt" in the classroom with what actually happens once they enter the workforce.


    The problem seems to be a lack of experience – many students have not worked at all before taking this course. In order to bridge this gap I would like to provide a common background to students so that they have a consistent context within which to discuss the concepts. This term I often used examples of how the University copes with SC problems to provide this context, since the students are familiar with many of the decisions / trade-offs that the University makes. However, I am looking for a better solution.


    Ideally I would like fairly comprehensive description (including financials) of a Supply Chain that students can easily relate to, and that I can give to students at the beginning of the term. We could then use this as a continuing case study as we move through the syllabus. Commercial confidentiality would appear to be the major stumbling block. It seems that Health Care might be a viable area in which to search, but if you are familiar with any resource, irrespective of industry classification,  that might help I would be grateful to know about it. I would be happy to "edit" a longer industry / government study into a suitable format for my purposes.


    There are a number of good textbooks available, so this is not a concern. However, I find the "case studies" at the end of chapter are often to superficial and not useful.



    Michael B Cohen
    Senior Lecturer in Management,
    Deakin Business School,
    Deakin University, Burwood, VIC 3125.

    Room lb5.222; Ph: +613 92445441



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  • 2.  RE: Undergraduate Supply Chain Management unit – resources for students with no working experience.

    Posted 09-23-2019 04:08
    This is a reply to Dr. Michael B Cohen's post. I have taught operations management for two years. I earned my PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2016. Prior to that, I taught business law and ethics for 9 years. Having taught law and ethics, I like using cases.

    I use the cases at the end of the book chapters. But, I also discuss with students current events that are related to the book topics. I also have my graduate students pick Fortune 500 companies to study and ask them the same types of questions that are found at the end of the book chapters focused on hypothetical companies. 

    I also have students read and do mini presentations on business school case studies and scholarly journal articles focused on real companies, their problems and their solutions.  I also have my students play games which is probably more common in engineering schools. We play the Beer game to simulate supply chains and Lego game for simulating assembly lines. When we talk about line balancing, we focus on a real industry and product such as garment manufacturing. I also show my students videos of real life operations and environmental catastrophes where operations are not managed well. 

    Some professors bring operations managers into the class from local factories and service organizations. I have had my students visit local restaurants and study service operations and apply the waiting line equations. So,there are a number of ways to get students to see how the topics and techniques in the book are used in real life.

    Dr. Clovia Hamilton