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Small business owner? Here’s why you should upskill in supply chain management

SOURCE: Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP
When supply chain management practices are properly implemented, the cost of doing business goes down — and profit increases.


By Shekinah Kannan 

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In today’s competitive economic climate, both small and large business owners need to offer superior quality goods at the lowest price possible to stay competitive. Reducing the cost of a product can, however, be achieved through effective supply chain management.

Supply chain management can generally be described as the flow of goods and services and activities that take a raw material to a final product.

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Many factors affect the cost of a product, including transportation and warehousing activities. Without an effective system in place, however, cost-cutting measures can become an issue. Conversely, when supply chain management practices are properly implemented, the cost of doing business decreases, and profit increases.

By upskilling in supply chain management, small business owners can reap a suite of rewards, chiefly saving costs and reducing wastage of time and resources.

Adopting key supply chain management practices will also ensure timely fulfilment of orders, helping business owners foster closer relationships with their suppliers and customers.

These practices can also help businesses bolster their reputation and exude the qualities of an established, trusted, and rapidly evolving company.

For those looking for ways to get started in developing the fundaments of supply chain management, here are five free courses that will help you advance your knowledge:

Supply Chain Management Specialization

This six-month specialisation is offered by Rutgers University, designed to provide learners with a richer understanding of the complexities that companies face in today’s global networked economy. It is made up of four courses in logistics, operations, planning, and sourcing, followed by a capstone course in Supply Chain Management Strategy.

Managing Supply Chain Disruption During COVID-19

This course by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign teaches learners why and how supply chains become susceptible to a disruption, in just 10 hours. This topic is examined by discussing both sides of supply and demand; primary supply chain flows; complexity; risk management; and a combination of solid theoretical supply chain perspectives and real-world stories.

Supply Chain Fundamentals

Part of the MITx MicroMasters Credential in Supply Chain Management, this programme provides foundational skills for supply management and logistics. In 13 weeks, learners grasp the basics of developing and applying analytic tools; approaches; and techniques used in design and operation of logistics systems and integrated supply chains. They will also learn to improve the overall performance and reduce the total cost of a supply chain, from a managerial perspective.

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Master Control in Supply Chain Management and Logistics

Offered by the Chalmers University of Technology, this business and management course teaches participants the methods used to master control of supply chains. In just seven weeks, topics cover the basics of how to forecast demand; how to determine the best order quantity for procurement; and how to plan capacity and production, amongst more.

Operations Management

In this free course by the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, participants learn to understand the role of operations management in a firm and develop abilities to structure and solve operations related problems. The course will also nurture the skills to address important aspects of business operations including capacity, productivity, quality, and supply chain.