Engaging Process for Teaching Supply Chains

When students apply theories and principles from readings and lectures to solve problems in realistic simulations of actual supply chains around the world, they are connecting learning with practice. Quoted below are some of the comments we’ve received from instructors using SCM Globe simulations:

“Based on your simulation model, the students learned how a supply chain actually operates. By far, the SCM model made the course interesting and insightful. I can try and explain how a supply chain works, but to have the students actually see it happening on the computer was very educational.”
Douglas Langs, Instructor
Henry Ford College

“In a 30 day intensive supply chain and logistics seminar, student teams from around the world applied supply chain principles from their readings and lectures to solve real supply chain problems encountered in the SCM Globe simulations. SCM Globe integrated theory and practice and students found the experience engaging and enlightening.”
Tony Craig, Ph.D., Research Fellow
MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics

“Based on your simulation model, the students learned how a supply chain actually operates. By far, the SCM Globe simulations made the course interesting and insightful. I can try and explain how a supply chain works, but to have the students actually see it happening on the computer was very educational.”
Claus Bang Olsen, Assistant Professor
Dania – Danish Academy of Business and Technology

“SCM Globe is a very engaging simulation tool for students to learn the basics surrounding supply chain management. The tool provides a “real world” simulated environment in which various case scenarios allow students to apply the theories and concepts which they have learned in the classroom. The tool really enhances the learning experience.”
Freda Powell-Bell, Ph.D., Program Director – ASCM
University of Maryland University College – Graduate School

“SCM Globe simulations are critical to integrating the various content elements of my “Managing Business Operations” class and is very popular as a learning tool for the students. Semester after semester, class evaluations cite the popularity and practicality of the simulations. They have become a recruitment tool for the course.”
Samuel Sacco – Program Coordinator
Salve Regina University

The email below from a professor teaching a 5-week intensive course in logistics provides a useful example of how he integrated simulations with his lectures and readings, so we published his whole email:

The class went very well. Our class schedule was 2 hrs per day, 4 days per week. We spent 3 weeks working on the Cincinnati Seasonings Case. I used that case study as an aid to get students started. The first week we focused on getting the supply chain to work for 30 days and then I had the students write a paper about the changes that were needed and why. During this time I also lectured on JIT, LEAN, and Six Sigma Quality.

The first week was all foundation and learning how to play with the supply chain model and simulations and getting people registered. The second week I challenged the students to get the model to operate for 30 days with a total cost of less than $1M. That takes some creativity and requires them to make a lot of changes. The third week the challenge was to change the model and reduce the CO2 Emissions by at least 20% without increasing costs. Again creative solutions and tight scheduling were needed. We also experimented with Rail transportation.

The 4th week of class we moved to the S&J Trading Company in Angola. This required the students to gain some experience with ships, containers and researching international operations. I had them research the most effective transportation in the country. And learn a little about landmines and bandits [Angola’s civil war created severe supply chain disruptions now being addressed by rebuilding of infrastructure]. At the end of the week they summarized their changes to the supply chain model and why they made the changes in a short paper.

Week 5 was an opportunity for them to demonstrate skill using the Fantastic Corporation supply chain model. The global model and the increase in complexity provided plenty of challenge, The students expanded the model to Europe as defined in the case study. Then they wrote a summary paper explaining the challenges that they faced in the model and how Lean could be used in a supply chain.

Overall, the three cases worked very well and we were able to learn a lot. The biggest problem for the students was keeping track of what they changed and why they changed things. At first many just wanted to click around and make changes to the supply chain on the fly.

Actually thinking about supply, demand and efficient timing of product delivery was plenty challenging. It is a thought process that seemed so simple to me that I was amazed at the difficulty students had answering questions when I asked how much product are you using at facility X and how much is being delivered? One person wanted to solve the problems by reducing demand until the On Hand supply would last for 30 days. I thought that was pretty funny, and we had a long discussion about basic business concepts and what happens when you reduce demand.

Thanks for all the help you provided and for sharing the materials. I really like SCM Globe for practicing supply chain theory. I have recommended it to my peers and the college. I will definitely use it again.

Dr. Leland Taylor
Professor of Business
American Intercontinental University – Houston
Adjunct – Houston Community College

Complete Package for SC Learning3

Complement Readings and Lectures with Interactive Simulations

Combine SCM Globe interactive simulations with class readings and lectures to bridge the gap between theory and reality. It provides students with a laboratory where they turn theoretical knowledge into practical skills.

SCM Globe costs less than half the price of a textbook. Request a copy of the Instructor Manual with course syllabus examples and teaching tips for beginning and advanced courses – email to info@scmglobe.com. Please include a link to the website of the school or organization where you are an instructor.  Click on “Getting Started” in the black menu bar above to see a handful of short videos and tutorials.