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Supply Chain Management Courses and Classes Overview

Supply chain management classes cover logistics, sourcing, forecasting, quality control and inventory management. This article summarizes commonly offered courses in supply chain management.

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Essential Information

Supply chain management courses are included in associate and bachelor's degree programs in supply chain management or logistics management. At the graduate level, students can find relevant studies in master's and doctoral degree programs in business, global supply chain management or supply chain engineering. Additionally, supply chain management and logistics courses can be found within graduate certificate or professional development programs, which may require completion of 6-8 courses. Some colleges and universities also offer stand-alone courses on the subject. Individual continuing education classes and seminars, which can range from 1-3 days, are also available through professional organizations.

List of Common Courses

The course overviews below describe the typical curriculum of the most common supply chain management courses.

Supply Chain Management and Logistics Course

Many supply chain management programs at the undergraduate, graduate and professional certificate levels include a general overview of logistics and supply chain concepts. Topics address all steps of the supply chain process, including procurement of materials, shipping, warehousing and distribution of finished goods. The information covered may be separated into introductory and advanced courses within a program's curriculum, covering details of many concepts and functions, such as material planning, production scheduling, purchasing, inventory management, operations and transportation. Graduate courses typically include project work as part of their curricula.

Operations Management Course

Operations management explores basic concepts in manufacturing and production processes. This course covers topics such as forecasting, scheduling, material management and production planning. Although operations management can be a part of many undergraduate and graduate supply chain programs, some bachelor's programs may require a general information course on operational principles as a prerequisite to further study in a supply chain management or business major. Additionally, students may have to take prerequisite math or statistics courses prior to this basic principles course.

Purchasing and Supplier Management Course

A course on purchasing and procurement practices can be found in supply chain management programs of all levels. In this course, students learn how purchasing practices affect inventory control and production scheduling. This course also focuses on the importance of supplier relationships, including vendor selection, evaluation and management. Course topics also can include resource planning, contract negotiations and global networking.

Inventory Control Course

Strategies for managing inventory often are included in undergraduate degree and certificate programs. Students learn how planning, warehousing and tracking inventory affect a company's ability to meet customer orders. Topics can include replenishment strategies, safety stock levels, inventory turns and fill rates. This course teaches the importance of finding a balance between reducing inventory carrying costs and maintaining material availability.

Transportation and Distribution Course

This course is common in bachelor's degree programs, as well as professional certificate programs. Students are introduced to the effects of transportation and distribution costs on company profitability. They learn to take fuel, freight and labor costs into account, as well as packaging, routing and scheduling parameters. Topics also can include international and domestic transportation and distribution issues, security and customs regulations, short notice shipping scenarios and ways to respond to transportation delays.

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