MBAX9127 Supply Chain Management - 2020

Weekly, Online
Term 3
6 Units of Credit

Offering Selection
This course outline is provided in advance of offering to guide student course selection. Please note that while accurate at time of publication, changes may be required prior to the start of the teaching session. To view other versions, visit the archives .

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

In this course, you will examine the basic concepts and tools of supply chain management within the broader framework of an organisation's overall competitive strategy.
The supply chain, which comprises all aspects of the sourcing of inputs from upstream suppliers, the internal value-adding processes and the distribution of outputs to downstream customers, is central to the overall success of any organisation. Any organisation that does not align its overall corporate strategy and its supply chain strategy will struggle to successfully deliver products and services to the market in a form that customers value.

While it is not necessary for participants to be highly skilled in mathematics to undertake this course, you are expected to be familiar with, or be prepared to acquire, basic knowledge about the following concepts:

  • basic probability and statistics
  • probability distributions and standard deviations (particularly the normal distribution)
  • means and weighted averages
  • basic algebra.

You will be expected to be able to perform some basic algebraic and statistical calculations in this course.

This course offers a broad examination of the key issues involved in the management of supply chains. It places supply chain management in a strategic context and requires a blend of managerial and technological knowledge and skills.

However, the course begins with a guided analysis of the strategic context of the organisation, so it can be taken early in your degree program, before any other strategy courses have been completed.

This course is well suited to a broad range of students – not only those involved in manufacturing industries – as the concepts, processes and methods are readily adaptable to organisations that provide hard or soft product/service combination industries. One full Unit is devoted to service supply chains. There are numerous other references and opportunities to apply the theory to service supply chains in both the Unit notes and the associated textbook.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

After first reviewing the importance of aligning the supply chain strategy to the overall corporate strategy, the course then looks in detail at each of the important supply chain drivers. The role of all supply chains is to allow the organisation to implement its corporate strategy in the marketplace. Some organisations place the most importance on being responsive to customer needs. Others place more emphasis on being low-cost providers. Supply chain managers must balance these two competing priorities using the drivers available to them – sourcing, facilities, inventory, transportation pricing and information. How these drivers are coordinated to deliver the overall supply chain strategy will largely determine the success of the organisation.

Additonal Course Details

3. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course CoordinatorBrad Smith

The role of your Class Facilitator is to support the learning process by encouraging interaction among participants, providing direction in understanding the course content, assessing participant progress through the course and providing feedback on work submitted. Class Facilitators comprise both academics and industry practitioners with relevant backgrounds.

4. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

Over 10 Units, the course looks at the following aspects of supply chains:
Unit 1, Introduction to supply chain management, provides an overview of how corporate strategy and supply chain strategy are integrated, and sets the scene for the discussion of operations and supply chain management in a globalised business environment.
Unit 2, Supply chain design and alignment, introduces the concepts of supply chain efficiency and responsiveness, the supply chain drivers and how these impact on the efficiency-responsiveness continuum.
Unit 3, Supply chain drivers and performance metrics, looks in further detail at the supply chain drivers and how supply chain performance can be defined and measured.
Unit 4, Service supply chains, recognises that not only product-based companies must be concerned with supply chains. Service organisations also have supply chain issues to manage. Of particular importance to services is the matching of supply to demand (due to the inability to store inventory) and the management of the customer experience.
Unit 5, Planning demand and supply issues, considers the decisions organisations must make concerning the supply of production inputs, the most suitable sourcing and procurement strategies, important issues of ethical and sustainable sourcing and methods that are then used to forecast and match this demand with a supply of products and services.
Unit 6, Location, transport and logistics, provides an overview of optimal location selection, transport modes, networks and operations in supply chains and the impact each of these will have on the overall supply chain strategy.
Unit 7, Managing inventory in the supply chain, considers the importance of inventory, and inventory management to the overall success of the supply chain strategy. We look at several models that can be used to minimise inventory costs, balance the costs associated with sourcing and holding inventory and meet defined customer-service levels.
Unit 8, Optimising supply chain inventory, looks at several techniques that supply chain managers can use to lower the costs associated with inventory while still providing the same level of customer service.
Unit 9, Aligning the supply chain using contracts and Information, examines how important it is for organisations to align their supply chain actions with other organisations in the supply chain. By coordinating their actions, organisations can seek to maximise the overall value, and therefore profit, available for all parties to share. We look at the underlying theory and the contractual means that organisations can use to align individual supply chain actions. The important of good information flow between the relevant parties in the supplychain is also discussed. 
Unit 10, Managing the supply chain of the future, looks forward to examine what aspects of the supply chain organisations must consider in the future.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

You have four major resources to help you learn:

  1. The course materials, comprising the weekly study units with readings, references, insights and commentary. You will do much of your learning outside the classroom by working through the course materials, and by completing the exercises as they arise.
  2. Your online or face-to-face classes with your facilitator. The facilitator's job is to guide your learning by conducting class discussion, answering questions that might arise after you have done the week's work, providing insights from his or her practical experience and understanding of theory, providing you with feedback on your assignments, and directing discussions and debates that will occur between you and your co-participants in the classroom.
  3. Your co-participants. Your colleagues in the classroom are an invaluable potential source of learning for you. Their work and life, and their willingness to question and argue with the course materials, the facilitator and your views, represent a great learning opportunity. They bring much valuable insight to the learning experience.
  4. In addition to course-based resources, please also refer to the AGSM Learning Toolkit (available in Moodle) for tutorials and guides that will help you learn more about effective study practices and techniques.

Course Structure

After first reviewing the importance of aligning the supply chain strategy to the overall corporate strategy, the course then looks in detail at each of the important supply chain drivers. The role of all supply chains is to allow the organisation to implement its corporate strategy in the market place. Some organisations place the most importance on being responsive to customer needs. Others place more emphasis on being low-cost providers. Supply chain managers must balance these two competing priorities using the drivers available to them - sourcing, facilities, inventory, transportation pricing and information. How these drivers are coordinated to deliver the overall supply chain strategy will largely determine the success of the organisation.

6. Course Resources

Course materials

The course materials comprise this Course Outline, the Assessment Details and 10 Units. Each Unit has a number of associated readings.


Specific readings are prescribed throughout the Units and are available via active hyperlinks or URLs. Please note that you may be required to enter your UNSW zID and zPass in order to access these hyperlinked readings.

Prescribed textbook

The prescribed textbook for this course is:

  • Heizer J, Render B & Munson C 2020, Operations Management: Sustainability and Supply Chain Management - Global Edition, 13th edition, Pearson.

Readings and exercises from the textbook are integrated with the Unit notes and other readings provided.
Please note that enrolled students will be provided with access to the eBook version of this text prior to the commencement of the session.

Recommended reading

(either the listed edition or a more recent edition)

  • Bowersox, D J, Closs, D J & Cooper, M B 2012, Supply chain logistics management, 4th edn, McGraw-Hill, Boston, MA.
  • Chopra, S & Meindl, P 2018, Supply chain management, strategy, planning and operation, 7th edn, Pearson Prentice Hall, NJ.
  • Fitzsimmons, J A & Fitzsimmons, M J 2013, Service management: Operations, strategy, information technology, 8th edn, McGraw-Hill Irwin, Boston, MA.
  • Johnston, R & Clark, G 2012, Service operations management, 4th edn Pearson Prentice Hall, NJ.
  • Simchi-Levi, D, Kaminsky, P & Simchi-Levi, E 2007, Designing and managing the supply chain, concepts, strategies and case studies, 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill Irwin, Boston, MA.
  • Stevenson, W J 2017, Operations management, International Student Edition with Global Readings, 13th edn, McGraw-Hill Irwin, Boston, MA.
  • Harvard Business Review
  • Sloan Management Review
  • Supply Chain Management Review
  • The Journal of Supply Chain Management
  • The European Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management
  • International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management
  • Logistics Management
  • International Journal of Logistics Management
  • International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
  • Journal of Business Logistics
  • International Journal of Production Research
  • APICS - Association for Operations Management
  • ISM - Institute for Supply Management
  • ACLM - Asian Council of Logistics Management
  • ASQ - American Society for Quality

In addition to course-based resources, please also refer to the AGSM Online Learning Toolkit (available in Moodle) for tutorials and guides that will help you learn more about effective study practices and techniques.

7. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

AGSM courses are revised each time they run, with updated course outlines and assessment tasks developed. Changes relating to any industry developments will also be included.

Additionally, the AGSM surveys students each time a course is offered. The data collected provides anonymous feedback from students on the quality of course content and materials, class facilitation, student support services and the program in general. This student feedback is considered during all course revisions.

Student Response

The course received good ratings the last time it was offered in 2019. Students like the content and timing of assessments. Students commented on the nature of the forum use by some students, and some sections of the course having too much content or emphasis on complex calculations.

Response to Student Feedback

The course material has been revised from 12 units down to 10 units by selectively editing some of the material not considered essential knowledge and combining some of the units . This has resulted in a reduced reading load for students , while not comprimising the overall quality of the course. 

The global Covid pandemic has had a significant impact on the supply chains of organisations. Unit notes have been updated at several points to discuss the impact of the pandemic and the lessons that oranisations must learn to increase their resilience.

The Newshound activity will be closely monitored and moderated, as required, to ensure the activity flows correctly and everyone participates appropriately.

Please do respond to the mid-term survey to help us check how we are tracking on meeting this improvement. 

Please do feel free to contact your facilitator at any point in the course if you are stuck on any concept or theory, or are simply feeling overwhelmed. We want you to succeed and can offer practical advice on how to keep moving towards success.

8. Course Schedule

Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 ParticipationUnit 1: Introduction to supply chain management

Participation is assessed throughout the session (15%)

Forum participation : Class Participation
NewshoundUnit 1: Introduction to supply chain management

Newshound activity will be assessed in assigned weekly slots (15%)

Newshound activity : Newshound activity
Week 2 -Unit 2: Supply chain design and alignment
Week 3 -Unit 3: Supply chain drivers and performance metrics
Week 4 -Unit 4: Service supply chains
Week 5 -Unit 5: Planning demand and supply issues
Week 6 Assessment 1Unit 6: Location, transport and logistics
Assessment 1 : Question 1 : Supply Chain Review
Assessment 1 : Question 2 : Supply Chain Strategy
Assessment 1 : Question 3: Service Supply Chain
Week 7 -Unit 7: Managing inventory in the supply chain
Week 8 -Unit 8: Optimising supply chain inventory
Week 9 -Unit 9: Aligning the supply chain using contracts and information
Week 10 -Unit 10: Managing the supply chain of the future
Week 11 Assessment 2
Assessment 2 : Question 1: Inventory Control
Assessment 2 : Question 2 : SC optimisation
Assessment 2 : Question 3 : SC Optimisation

9. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

​Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

​The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations. 
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning & Careers Hub
The UNSW Learning & Careers Hub provides academic skills and careers support services—including workshops, individual consultations and a range of online resources—for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Student Support Advisors
Student Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

International Student Support
The International Student Experience Unit (ISEU) is the first point of contact for international students. ISEU staff are always here to help with personalised advice and information about all aspects of university life and life in Australia.
Advisors can support you with your student visa, health and wellbeing, making friends, accommodation and academic performance.
02 9385 4734

Equitable Learning Services
Equitable Learning Services (formerly Disability Support Services) is a free and confidential service that provides practical support to ensure that your health condition doesn't adversely affect your studies. Register with the service to receive educational adjustments.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

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