Supply chains are the systems of organisations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. But how exactly is this process executed?

About the course

This free online course will explore the complex web of supply chains that bring goods or services to you.

Take, for example, eating your cereal in the morning. The cereal and milk have gone through a seamless chain of processes to get from the field to your kitchen table. The bowl and spoon also had to be manufactured from raw materials and retailed to you. Did you go to a shop to buy these things, or did you have them delivered?

This invisible world of supply chains is important, because it helps us to ensure that we get things in the most efficient and effective way. If this does not happen there can be dramatic consequences - imagine a world without water, food, medicine, education, buildings, roads or planes.

What you will learn

This free online course will introduce you to the fundamentals of the supply chain by applying the core concepts and principles in relation to everyday things. Topics include:

Just the tip of the iceberg: What is the supply chain?

The global orchestra: Balancing supply and demand.

Shop till you drop: Purchasing and procurement in context.

Factory of the future: Changing nature of manufacturing.

I like to move it, move it: Logistics in context.

Closing the loop: Meeting the challenges of a more circular economy.

The course is led by Jan Godsell, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy at WMG, University of Warwick – a world leader in supply chains and the host of the Global Supply Chain Debate.

Jan will be joined by her network of supply chain thought leaders, who will use multimedia resources and case studies, to introduce the key concepts, critical roles and best practices that define supply chains.

Through activities and discussions, you’ll also be invited to share your own experiences of supply chains, whether at work or at home.

Check out: Valuable Management Lessons Everyone Should Know


This course is aimed at everyone who has an interest in finding out more about supply chains and their management. No prior knowledge about supply chains is required and we recommend you spend between 2 to 4 hours per week on the course materials.

It will provide insight to those whose roles may not be directly involved in the supply chain, but wish to see how their role interacts. It will also benefit those currently working within one part of a supply chain, who wish to understand the broader supply chain context.

About the instructors

Jan Godsell leads the Supply Chain Research Group and the Supply Chains in Practice (SCIP) industrial collaborator forum. Her work is focused on helping companies turn supply chain theory into practical reality.

Catherine Bowser brings together academic thinking with practical application in the design and delivery of Masters level business programmes to support individual and organisation success.

Dr Donato Masi is an Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of Warwick and his research focuses on the role of Supply Chains in the Circular Economy.

Gwynne Richards is a logistics and supply chain consultant and trainer. He is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Warwick, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and SIM. He has also written books on logistics.

John Bancroft is the co-module tutor on the MSc module in Supply Chain Management at WMG. It is his aim to provide students with an insight into the topic, the key elements and common issues encountered.

Starting date: 15 May, 2017

Duration: 6 weeks, 2 hours per week

Language: English

Instructors: Jan Godsell, Catherine Bowser, Donato Masi, Gwynne Richards, John Bancroft

Institution: The University of Warwick