Unit 26 Supply Chain Management

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The aim of this unit is to enhance a student’s understanding of the nature, role and contribution of supply chain management to a business. The growth of global business has led to organisations becoming increasingly reliant on logistics and supply chain management in order to keep up with the demands of a global economy.Students will explore the purpose of supply chain management and its benefits to an organisation, their customers and their suppliers.The unit will consider the design, development, implementation, control and future development stages of supply chain. There is an emphasis on practical employability skills throughout this unit

Learning outcomes

LO1 Apply key supply chain concepts, principles, and processes in an organisational context

The supply chain:

  • What is a supply chain?
  • How do they differ between the service and manufacturing sectors?
  • What is supply chain management?
  • The key principles of supply chain management.
  • Using lean supply chain principles to enhance competitive advantage.


  • Efficient and effective resource planning and management.
  • Obtaining working capital and capital investment.


  • The relationship between demand planning and production scheduling.
  • Incorporating project management techniques into the production process.


  • Selecting the most appropriate strategy (e.g. make or buy).
  • Flow management as a concept and technique.
  • Selecting the most appropriate location for establishing a manufacturing operation, including consideration of transport links and costs

Impacts and application of technology:

  • The use of real time automated delivery notification systems for tracking and monitoring the delivery of products.
  • The application of barcode scanning, digital cameras and smartphones, etc. in warehouse operations.
  • Computerised shipping, tracking and invoicing for effective logistics and distribution.
  • Software and cloud computing for real time updates on production scheduling and inventory.

LO2 Evaluate the importance of effective supply chain management (SCM)

Supply chain management:

  • Relationships with suppliers and logistic providers.
  • Managing service sector supply chains vs managing manufacturing sector supply chains.
  • Managing customers and meeting their needs efficiently and effectively to build a competitive infrastructure.
  • The benefits of effective SCM.


  • Developing procurement strategies, policies and procedures.
  • Consideration of demand management, forecasting and planning.

Supplier landscape analysis:

  • Cost/price – how much does it cost?
  • Quality – what is the quality of the product?
  • Time – how long will it take to deliver?
  • Place – where is the supplier?
  • Scale – can they meet anticipated future demand?

Vendor relations:

  • Giving consideration to negotiations, contracts and purchase orders.

LO3 Evaluate the interrelationships between supply chain and other areas of an organisation

Supply chain integration:

  • Holistic and integrated approach to a supply chain and supply chain management.
  • Relationship between the supply chain and other business functions.
  • Factors influencing decisions to integrate a supply chain, including the size of the business, its structure, geographic location(s), target market and competitor profile.

Supply chain logistics:

  • Aspects of logistics, including transportation and warehousing and inventory management.
  • Customising logistics networks to meet service requirements.
  • Customer demand planning and the product life-cycle.

Supply chain management:

  • A holistic approach to managing and optimising the effectiveness of a supply chain.
  • The use of the SCOR model to address, improve and communicate SCM.

LO4 Recommend improvements to a supply chain strategy for an organisation

Analysing a supply chain:

  • Taking a critical and objective approach to identify negative and positive trends.
  • Identifying and analysing issues and problems within a supply chain.

Developing justified recommendations for change:

  • Critical, creative and retrospective thinking supported by evidence to inform plausible and appropriate recommendations.

Effective record keeping:

  • Lessons learnt logs, feedback reports and fault registers.
  • Encouraging internal identification and record of issues/problems with suggestions for a resolution.


  • PRATER, E. and WHITEHEAD, K. (2013) An Introduction to Supply Chain Management: a global supply chain support perspective. New York: Business Expert Press.


  • Journal of Supply Chain Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Journal of Operations and Supply Chain Management

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