Supply Chain Strategies I: Aligning Strategies; Efficiency and Cost Savings (back to catalog)

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The first of two modules covering Supply Chain Strategies; learn the differences between efficient and responsive supply chains and the correct strategies to use based on your product type and location in the product life cycle. Learn about the Bullwhip Effect by playing a version of the well known "Beer Game" simulation, understand the causes of the Bullwhip Effect and their solutions. Modules SCM102 and SCM103 teach core supply chain concepts and strategies, and they should be covered before moving on to modules SCM104 through SCM106.

Companies today are often presented with a number of supply chain strategies. How can you learn more about these strategies and decide which ones will help you the most? Are you operating the most appropriate type of supply chain? Are you spending time and money on strategies that aren't providing the maximum benefit? This is the first of two modules on Supply Chain Strategies designed to help you answer these questions.

You will begin by looking at product and supply chain characteristics and learning a framework for aligning the right strategies for your needs; you'll then learn strategies to improve efficiency and reduce costs. You will play a version of the classic "Beer Game" simulation used by business schools and executive training programs. Through the simulation you will see firsthand the causes of the Bullwhip Effect, which leads to major supply chain inefficiencies, including unpredictable lead times, stockouts, mistrust between supply chain partners, and higher manufacturing and transportation costs. Once you have covered the causes of these problems, you will learn the best strategies to mitigate or remove them.

This module will help you understand what type of supply chain you should be targeting, a critical first step in any supply chain initiative because putting teams to work on the wrong initiatives can cost you valuable time and money. Moreover, even within your company, several different types of supply chains may be called for; having a complete understanding of a wide range of strategies is just as important. Whether you run your supply chain initiatives in-house or hire outside professionals, you will find yourself better able to understand the appropriate steps to be taken.

In some cases responsiveness is more important than efficiency. Part two of this series, SCM103: Supply Chain Strategies II: Responsiveness & Advanced Topics, covers ways to improve supply chain responsiveness, along with several advanced/emerging topics that apply to a wide range of scenarios.


  • Identify distinctions between functional/innovative products and efficient/responsive supply chains
  • Learn to align supply chain strategies with needs; learn strategies for improved efficiency and cost savings
  • See the Bullwhip Effect firsthand through an web-based version of the well-known "Beer Game" simulation that tracks your order and inventory data
  • Learn techniques to counteract the four causes of the Bullwhip Effect


  • Enable better decision-making regarding what type of supply chain should be implemented and what improvements are best by categorizing products being produced/sold by supply chain criteria
  • Improve efficiency and reduce costs with functional products or those in the later stages of the product life cycle
  • Reduce or eliminate excess/fluctuating inventories, shortages/stockouts, longer lead times, higher transportation and manufacturing costs, and mistrust between supply chain partners by mitigating the Bullwhip Effect


List Price: $60 -

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Save $25 on "Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management" bundle; buy modules SCM102, SCM103, SCM104, SCM105, and SCM106 together and save $25 (see course catalog for details)

SCM102 Specifications

Title: Supply Chain Strategies I: Aligning Strategies; Efficiency and Cost Savings

4.3 / 5  (1466 ratings)

Total Reading Time: Approx. 1 - 2 hours (for average readers)

Word Count: Approx. 9,000 words


Certificate: Counts toward Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management

Datasheet:  Download


  1. Introduction to Supply Chain Strategies
  2. Functional vs. Innovative Products
  3. Efficient vs. Responsive Supply Chain Strategies
  4. Aligning Products and Strategies
  5. Product Life Cycle Revisited
  6. Improving Efficient Supply Chains
  7. Beer Game Introduction
  8. Beer Game Simulation
  9. Beer Game Results
  10. Bullwhip Effect: Importance and Causes
  11. Cause 1: Information Distortion
  12. Cause 2: Order Batching
  13. Cause 3: Promotions
  14. Cause 4: Allocation Gaming
  15. Counteracting Information Distortion: Forecasting Problems and the Hockey Stick Effect
  16. Counteracting Information Distortion: Vendor-Managed Inventory (VMI)
  17. Counteracting Information Distortion: Supplier Managed Availability (SMA)
  18. Counteracting Information Distortion: Reducing Lead Times, Reserving Capacity, and Direct Sales
  19. Counteracting Information Distortion: Keeping Safety Stocks Steady
  20. Counteracting Order Batching
  21. Counteracting Promotions
  22. Counteracting Allocation Gaming
  23. Conclusions
  24. Test Your Knowledge
  25. Feedback
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