This course provides students an understanding of detailed logistics operations and how to design the optimal logistics network, while meeting the joint goals of cost minimization and service delivery. With reference to its cross-functional relationships with marketing, finance, and production, the course teaches an integrated approach to logistics management; showing how logistics “fits” into the totality of end-to-end integrated business enterprise operations. With a specific goal to enhance students’ understanding of the (i) methods and tools used by logistics and transportation managers, and (ii) effects of tradeoff and variance on the logistics system, the course employs an applied, problem solving approach, which emphasizes decision-making in the areas of (i) transportation management; (ii) warehouse and distribution center operations; (iii) supply chain information technology and ERP applications; and (iv) integrated logistics network design and strategy. Student performance is assessed through a combination of in-class and lab exercises, online blog submissions, writing assignments, as well as traditional quizzes and exams.
The basic format of this course (traditional face-to-face meetings for 80-minutes twice a week) did not change. Rather, class meetings were augmented by taking advantage of MSU’s REAL (Rooms for Engaged and Active Learning) classrooms and SCM 373 course sections adopted a flipped classroom teaching approach. In-class technology enhancements, combined with active learning techniques and group-based exercises further rounded out the teaching strategies for the course. Specifically, the course emphasized technology use in facilitating the optimization of an end-to-end integrated learning enterprise with the use of commercially-available supply chain modeling (IBM LogicNet Plus XE) and enterprise resource planning (SAP-ERP) software tools.
The learning goals of the course, and its specific technology enhancements share a common primary objective to increase student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction. The combined use of seminar-type lectures/discussions, active learning in-class exercises, and hands-on computer lab and case study sessions enabled learning to occur with this primary objective in mind. In order to ensure that content quality was not compromised while providing opportunities for these technology-enhancements, students were responsible for some preparation outside of the classroom to allow the REAL classroom space to be used to emphasize lively interaction and engagement. Supplemental material on D2L was provided so that students would have access to coursework even outside the traditional bi-weekly face-to-face meetings.
Rapid changes in the global economy and supply chain practice are challenging business-schools to significantly upgrade their curriculum, particularly in the area of technology use. As industry struggles to find good quality talent with adequate technology skills, our primary focus as educators is the need to be responsive to these rapidly changing market needs. With purposeful emphasis on student-centered learning, supply chain technology tools are employed to enhance students’ fundamental understanding of the cross-functional, cross-firm integration that is the backbone of supply chain management in practice.
“From the students’ perspective, this course is by no means easy (as their comments – and complaints - show in the SIRS)” Bolumole said. “But student performance and reviews have always been overwhelmingly positive.”
- D2L learning management system (https://d2l.msu.edu)
- IBM LogicNet Plus XE (http://www.ibm.com)
- SAP-ERP (https://www.ibm.com/services/sap/)
Yemisi A. Bolumole, Ph.D., CLTD - faculty
Justin A. Jagger - Academic Specialist