Management Class Maps Out Supply Chain Impact With Hands-On Activity

Senior lecturer, Ms. Karen Eboch, believes in interactive teaching in her management course (MGMT 3000).  At the beginning of each semester, she assigns a reading by an environmentalist regarding how he got his cup of coffee.  The chapter is from the book Stuff:  The secret lives of everyday things by John C. Ryan and Alan Thein Durning. However, this semester she took the reading assignment a step further to improve the understanding of a supply chain through an interactive assignment.

Eboch separated the class into a white and a blue team to construct the supply chain using handouts detailing over 50 steps. She explains, “This exercise allows me to set the stage in the first week of the semester for their engagement and also to demonstrate how complex supply chains can be.  Students were assigned the reading and each came to class with their interpretation of the supply chain from the information provided.  The variety of diagrams produced is amazing!”

Once the steps were posted on the wall, volunteers went through the chain to identify all the global aspects, transportation linkages, and places petroleum/crude oil derivatives are used.   Eboch describes the outcome of the student learning.  “Through the process they were able to see different ways to represent the supply chain even when the level of detail is included.  By reviewing the completed diagrams for steps with a global influence, transportation link, or crude oil usage, students also gained an awareness of why it’s important to look beyond their own organization’s boundaries when considering the impact of supply chain management.”