Question to Readers: Where should I go to learn supply chain management?


    By Mike Lopez

    A question for readers: Which short courses or classes in manufacturing or supply chain management would you recommend? Who has the best program for a young professional with a strong technical background that is becoming a supply chain manager and needs a crash course in the basics. After the crash course, what would you recommend for continuing education?

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    1. Here are some options I found last night in order to depth and breadth:

      A. Supply Chain Online: This company has a series of six one-hour long online courses on supply chain managemnt. Taking all six courses costs $300. I’ll try this out, but I am looking for more than six hours of instruction.

      B. U of Michigan Lean Logistics and Supply Chain: This is a 10 day course composed of two one-week session that are one month apart. The cost is $6450. This is probably a great program. Lean is a strength at the Univ. of Michigan. As a graduate of the University of Michigan, I would like to go to this, but cost is high and it would be hard for me to get away for two one-week sessions.

      C. APICS CSCP Learning System: This program is APIC’s training system for the CSCP exam. It is composed of paper and online information. It looks self-directed, but meant to make the reader proficient enough to achieve the CSCP certification. The cost is $850.

      D. Lehigh University Supply Chain Management Certificate: This is a 12 credit online certificate from Lehigh University. It consists of 4 college courses online. The cost is $2000/course.

      E. Univ. of Michigan M.S.E in Manfucturing: This is a 30 credit online masters of engineering program in manufacturing engineering from the University of Michigan. This is probably the most comprehensive educational option, but also the longest. It would probably take me a few years to do all these courses. Cost is $2600/course in-state and $5000/course out-of-state tuition.

    2. The APICS CSCP can be done as a self directed class or as a guided class employing reading material (about 850 pages), combined with on line material likes quizzes and vocabulary flash cards. It is geared to prepare someone with a basic knowledge and some experience to take and pass the CSCP Certification exam.

      The material is pretty good and pretty inclusive. There are some good articles in the Harvard Business Review that will fill in some of the gaps.

      It does not deal with Lean Supply Chains, but more with the typical ERP driven supply chains that SAP and Oracle help you manage.

      If you want a basic education in Supply Chain from APICS, I would suggest that you buy the Student Guide for the Basics of Supply Chain Management and use Google to fill in the unanswered questions your person might have. There are a large number of Supply Chain Management PowerPoint presentations available on the web.

    3. One option might be to try the “MIT Open Courseware” version of their business school intro to manufacturing system and supply chain course:


      For those of us who sometimes criticize b-school content, this is a pretty meaty class. I know both of the professors who run the course and the course is by no means a superficial treatment of supply chain topics.

      David Simchi-Levi’s book is excellent as is the Hopp/Spearman “Factory Physics” book.

      The Open Courseware site has lecture notes and suggested readings… not the same, maybe, as being in class, but it’s free.

    4. The University of Cardiff Business School (United Kingdom) has a good reputation within the Lean community in Europe. They have been researching into Lean for many years:




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