Jan 11th 2016

Supply chain innovation: How technology can create a sustainable future (FutureLearn)

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Understand how new technologies can make supply chains more sustainable and learn how to deal with today's trends.

Every product that we use today is the result of a supply chain - a complex series of steps that turn raw materials into the final products we use and everything related with this. Managing these supply chains has become more and more a challenge, especially with all modern technologies and todays trends. The 24-hour economy, fast delivery of goods to your home, wanting to have customized products and of course the focus on sustainability are a few of these trends.

In this course you will learn why managing supply chains is important and challenging. It is a key activity for both large multi-national companies as well as for small businesses. We’ll find out how to design supply chains that meet future economic, environmental and social requirements, asking questions such as:

- How did global supply chain become what they are today?

- How can current information and communication technology (ICT) make supply chains more efficient?

- Which trends do we need to recognize and cope with?

- How can you implement sustainable supply chain innovations?

- And what impact will sensing technologies, such as the use of RFID, have on the supply chain?

We will look at examples from the food industry. Also, the building and construction supply chain will be discussed since it has a big impact. One out of three trucks is construction related so innovations applied on this chain can have a huge impact.

You’ll be encouraged to apply the knowledge you gain to your own product or industry (or a company and supply chain you’re interested in). You are invited to share your ideas for optimizing your supply chain with other learners.

Together with academics from the University of Twente and experts from industry, you’ll learn how to innovate supply chains. These instructors have vast experience in integrating ICT and extensive research in supply chain process optimization, innovation and management.


Supply chain is a cross disciplinary area. In this course we give a broad overview rather than focusing on detailed quantitative/mathematical or ICT skills. Although we’ll challenge you to perform some basic modelling and technology activities, the focus is on thinking supply chain and recognizing the impact of ICT so that you can be an innovator in this area and a driver of change. Key to a good supply chain manager is his/her ability to think across company borders and functional domains. In addition, being interested in both business and technology is essential.

This course is aimed at professionals and students in disciplines such as ICT, operations, marketing, finance,.. who wish to learn more about supply chain management. Supply chain management and operations professionals and students that want to learn from about new trends and technologies can also benefit from the course. As we are all end customers of supply chains and the impact of supply chains on our world is enormous, many of us wish to know what is happening behind the scene. You are all invited to join!