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Course Descriptions

SCTL 501: Logistics & Analysis

Instructor: Anne Goodchild

Credits: 3

Logistics is the mathematics of managing goods along a supply chain. The complexity of logistics can be modeled, analyzed, visualized and optimized with a variety of mathematical techniques and software programs. This course provides you with fundamental frameworks for considering logistics analysis. Beginning with the key trade-offs between transportation and inventory cost, the course covers the major analytical frameworks of logistics including optimization and simulation. We also conduct a broad overview of the trade, transportation and logistics activities at the center of any supply chain operation, and highlight the relationship between infrastructure and trade.

Note: Logistics & Analysis begins with a one-week residency held on the UW campus. Along with traditional in-class lectures and discussions, the week includes site visits to several local transportation hubs and supply chain facilities. Following the residency week, students submit the final course project online.

Course Themes

  • Critical Thinking: Practice your critical thinking skills by working in teams to tackle an unstructured supply chain problem.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Explore data-driven trends affecting supply chain transportation and logistics through readings, guest lectures and a research project on startups.
  • Presentation Skills: Learn strategies for effective presentations and practice presenting to your peers.
  • Integration and Collaboration: Participate in an activity throughout the course to learn the importance of integration and collaboration.

SCTL 502: IT Systems & Supply Chain Integration

Instructor: Bill Keough

Credits: 5

The supply chain objectives of many organizations are hampered by their existing legacy systems and infrastructure, as well as by the lack of cost-effective strategies for migrating to more robust and integrated platforms. This course helps you understand how to document and analyze both business and IT processes, including the best tools and approaches to use. You will get an overview of the enterprise software landscape, the key systems — including ERP, WMS and TMS — required for efficient operation of a corporation, and various approaches for integrating these systems. We also examine strategies for IT consolidation when one firm acquires another, as well as different methods for data exchange with key suppliers, distributors and customers.

Course Themes

  • Critical Thinking: Evaluate IT architecture and internal applications to improve data exchange within a business.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Play a game that simulates the purchasing and fulfillment processes and analyzing data sets.
  • Presentation Skills: Deliver a presentation about a key supply chain technology solution.
  • Integration and Collaboration: Explore methods and technologies that are used to exchange information within a large enterprise.

SCTL 503: Inventory Management 

Instructor: Apurva Jain

Credits: 5

Inventory management has a significant impact on a company’s financial performance. This course tackles the common problem of supply-demand mismatch. We explore methods of forecasting that enable you to understand the market demand for products in a supply chain and identify strategies for optimizing inventory in response to that demand. You will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the tools and methods used to manage inventory SKUs (stock-keeping units) with different characteristics — demand, lead-time and more. We also cover sourcing and contingency planning as well as current best practices in supply chain management, including the trade-offs that exist between lean and resilient supply chain principles.

Course Themes

  • Critical Thinking: Read case studies about inventory problems and propose options for improvement.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Use time-series sales data to develop predictive models.
  • Presentation Skills: Write about inventory-related issues on a discussion board and prepare a brief presentation.
  • Integration and Collaboration: Participate in a simulation to identify inefficiencies in inventory processes and collaborate on solutions.

SCTL 504: Facility Design & Operations Management

Instructor: Dave Presley

Credits: 5

The design and location of facilities can have a significant impact on the cost and performance of the supply chain as a whole. This course explores the major factors involved in the location, design and analysis of industrial facilities, including just-in-time systems, material handling systems, queuing, material flow analysis, line balancing and systematic layout planning. We also examine the managerial decision-making process in operations such as manufacturing, production scheduling, quality assurance and facility location, along with management of service systems using quantitative analysis and other methods.

Course Themes

  • Critical Thinking: Utilize linear programming to evaluate costs and production rates that impact facility design and operation.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Learn how to utilize data for capacity planning.
  • Presentation Skills: Participate in a group presentation that demonstrates good content and form, presentation delivery and ability to entertain questions.
  • Integration and Collaboration: Learn the framework of sales and operations planning (S&OP) and how it fosters integration and collaboration across the supply chain.

SCTL 505: External Supply Chain Transportation Risks

Instructor: Todd Smith

Credits: 5

This course focuses on how supply chain managers can identify and manage external supply chain transportation risk factors. These include engine technologies, fuel prices and congestion, elements that are influenced by transportation system maintenance and operations, energy issues and government policy decisions regarding air quality and greenhouse gases. We analyze how policy decisions are made at the local, regional and national level and discuss current legislative trends. You also explore how these risk factors relate to other supply chain risks — such as product source location, quantity and price — and how strategies to manage these risks might be complementary.

Course Themes

  • Critical Thinking: Learn how to identify risks in the supply chain, assess the potential impact and analyze ways to mitigate the risks.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Learn basic decision analysis in order to make decisions in the presence of risk or uncertainty.
  • Presentation Skills: Deliver a presentation on a supply chain risk that you are familiar with.

SCTL 506: Finance & Performance Management

Instructor: Dan Stull

Credits: 5

Thoughtfully managing and funding ongoing supply chain operations, as well as new initiatives, is a key competency for firms seeking to use their supply chain capabilities to gain competitive advantage. This course explores the two critical and interrelated elements of managing a successful and cost-effective supply chain operation.

The first part of the course provides an overview of corporate finance theory and demonstrates the application of that theory to decisions faced by financial managers. The second portion addresses a set of competencies that are critical to consistently reaching financial and operational targets. This includes a review of the theory of performance management and how the theory is put into practice in the day-to-day operation of real firms. We also cover financial sustainability metrics and how they can be effectively integrated with a company's supply chain finance strategy.

Course Themes

  • Critical Thinking: Identify non-value added core processes in an organization and develop solutions to efficiently produce value.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Develop metrics to analyze the performance of strategically important processes and establish improvement priorities.
  • Presentation Skills: Deliver a presentation about an improvement made to a strategically important core process.
  • Integration and Collaboration: Work in a group to develop solutions to improve a strategically important core process.

SCTL 507: The Practicum 

Instructor: All Faculty

Credits: 5

The practicum project gives you the opportunity to apply the knowledge you’ve gained in the program to solve a contemporary supply chain problem, preferably one facing your current company or organization. In the practicum you will work in a team to conduct a preliminary analysis of potential project ideas and determine which one — based on complexity, the political landscape and other factors — is most likely solvable within the available timeframe. After reviewing this analysis with your supervising instructor, you will select one problem to be the focus your practicum. You will then create a detailed plan that defines the overall approach, key stakeholders, major tasks, required resources, potential risks and mitigation strategies, project timeline and metrics used to measure results. Students present their findings to the program's advisory board.

Course Themes

  • Critical Thinking: Identify, define and scope a real-world supply chain or logistics challenge and develop a realistic and cost-effective solution.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Collect actual performance data relevant to the change you are advocating and use it to validate your proposed solution.
  • Presentation Skills: Deliver a pitch to a panel comprised of members of the SCTL advisory board.
  • Integration and Collaboration: Work in teams to develop your project solution and present your findings.

SCTL 508: Collaboration Across the Supply Chain

Instructor: Bill Keough

Credits: 5

In an era of stiff global competition and an unprecedented drive to reduce supply chain costs, successful firms know that effective collaboration across the supply chain can provide a powerful competitive edge — if executed properly. Effective collaboration with suppliers upstream and distributors, retailers and customers downstream can boost sales, reduce product inventories, speed time to market and offer a host of other business benefits. However, reaping these benefits requires the artful and simultaneous orchestration of technology, performance and relationship management, along with the harmonization of business processes across organizations. This course examines these critical success factors and their inter-relationship, while also emphasizing the importance of corporate culture as an enabling factor in collaboration.

Course Themes

  • Critical Thinking: Play a complex game over the course of 8 weeks where you will optimize the supply chain for a manufacturer. You will analyze factors and develop strategies in order to achieve the highest return on investment (ROI).
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Analyze quantitative performance data in the supply chain game.
  • Presentation Skills: Present in both individually and in teams, real-world career experiences that show how collaboration could have produced different business results.
  • Integration and Collaboration: The entire course will be exploring this subject.

SCTL 510: Freight Transport

Instructor: Alan Van Boven

Credits: 5

The transport of freight — everything from B2B industrial materials to B2C e-commerce to the home — plays a critical role in terms of cost and competitiveness for any enterprise that moves physical goods. This course addresses the key components of transportation in the context of strategic, business and operational management of complex supply chains. Given today’s rapid evolution of freight transport business models, technologies, regulation, sustainability and time, we explore current aspects of transportation with a focus on impactful trends over the next five-plus years. You will learn techniques to develop strategies and plans over multiple time horizons, execute freight movement and analyze a wealth of information to continuously improve enterprise freight performance in the global business environment.

Course Themes

  • Critical Thinking: Evaluate macroeconomic factors and assess potential impacts on a corporate freight transportation business.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Design data-based key performance indicators (KPIs) and model and analyze scenarios for a freight transport scenario.
  • Presentation Skills: Deliver two presentations during this course, one which will be to an outside logistics professional.
  • Integration and Collaboration: Model and analyze the costs and risks of collaborative shipping with other enterprises.