Supply Chain Management Courses: From Basics To Advanced Learning

Supply chain management is one of the most lucrative professions around. To get into the industry, you’ll need some basic training at the very least. However, many higher-level positions require a degree in supply chain management.

Employers will not consider candidates without degrees for these positions. This is why it is important to go through a supply chain management program and earn a degree if you want to build a stable career in the industry.

In this piece, we’ll be covering what supply chain management training courses entail, the different courses available, and what to look for in a supply chain management course.

Course material generally includes process improvement, logistics and distribution, procurement management, operations management, manufacturing, and transportation.

The learning materials will depend on the type of course you choose.

The Core Courses

Courses in Logistics Management

Introduction to Logistics

Introduction to logistics courses provide aspiring supply chain managers with an understanding of the concepts, tools, and applications in logistics management. Students are trained in how to apply these concepts in the working world.

Some of the content covered includes:

  • Transport as a logistics function
  • Capacity management
  • Introduction to warehouse management
  • Introduction to inventory management
  • Inventory fundamentals
  • Introduction to purchasing management

Transportation Management

Transportation management courses cover key transportation concepts and issues affecting the movement of goods and people.

Some of the material covered in transportation management courses includes:

  • Transportation economics
  • Transportation public policy and promotion
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Vehicle routing
  • Transportation risk management and security.

Warehouse Management

These courses teach students how to control the various aspects of warehouse operations. This includes processes relating to receiving and storing items, as well as retrieving and shipping them.

Course content includes:

  • Labor management
  • Warehouse design
  • Inventory tracking
  • Managing warehouse space and layout
  • Handling product damages
  • Yard and dock management
  • Picking and packing goods

Inventory Control

This training teaches students about factors impacting inventory management and provides tools and techniques that can be used to reduce costs.

The content covered typically includes:

  • Basic mechanics of inventory systems
  • Forecasting for operations and maintenance
  • Inventory definitions
  • Inventory flow in the supply chain
  • Statistics application in inventory control
  • The basic rules of a successful supply chain

Procurement and Sourcing

Procurement and sourcing courses teach students how to develop and manage strategic sourcing relationships. These courses also teach students about the impact of procurement and sourcing on a business’s profitability.

They are ultimately designed to give students the skills and knowledge they need to manage the procurement process effectively.

Some of the content you can expect to see in these courses includes:

  • Supplier selection and evaluation
  • Global sourcing
  • Procurement risks
  • Environmental and social issues
  • Planning procurement management
  • How to develop a sourcing/outsourcing strategy
  • How to deal with supplier-related issues

Courses in Operations Management

Introduction to Operations Management

Introduction to operations management courses focus on teaching students how to increase productivity and reduce bottlenecks in supply chain operations. They cover the principles of operation management and related issues.

The topics covered include:

  • Consumer satisfaction
  • Production planning and lot sizing
  • Optimal timing and sizing of capacity expansion
  • Project management
  • Capacity analysis
  • Production control
  • Work coordination

Lean manufacturing

Lean manufacturing courses train candidates on how to reduce wastage in the supply chain. They provide students with the principles and techniques they need to minimize wastage and maximize productivity.

Some of the topics covered in these courses include:

  • Lean principles
  • Equipment efficiency
  • Preventative equipment maintenance
  • Lean rapid plant assessment
  • Improvement philosophies and methodology

Six Sigma Quality Control

Six Sigma quality control certification courses teach students about the Six Sigma technique. This technique is used by organizations to improve their efficiency and the quality of their products. These courses provide students with knowledge about the Six Sigma quality management methods to identify and eliminate defects.

These courses cover:

  • Characteristics of Six Sigma
  • Six Sigma phases
  • Improvement processes
  • Defect reduction processes
  • Calculating Sigma level
  • Data sampling methods
  • Problem identification

Capacity Planning and Management

These courses familiarize students with the aspects of the planning and control of capacity in an organization. They train candidates to deliver competitive products and services of the right quality, in the right quantity, and at the right time.

Course content includes:

  • Dimensions of capacity
  • Economics of capacity
  • Optimizing capacity
  • Capacity management and control
  • Recent trends in capacity management

Project Management

Project management courses provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to effectively manage a supply chain. They will also learn about the tools, techniques, and practices necessary for successful project management.

Coursework will cover concepts and skills such as:

  • Vendor selection and management
  • Effectively managing transformation projects
  • Integrated business planning
  • Sales and operations planning
  • Inventory management for service operations

Courses in Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Strategy and Design

Strategy and design training teaches students about the role of supply chain design in companies and examines the latest trends in supply chain strategy.

Some of the content covered in these courses includes:

  • Supply chain innovation and agility
  • Strategic supply chain management
  • Supply chain mapping
  • Supply chain integration
  • Risk management and flexibility

Demand Planning and Forecasting

This training prepares students to predict the future demand for an organization’s products. Aspiring supply chain managers get a thorough grounding in the techniques and processes necessary to estimate demand, and forecast future demand.

The content covered in these courses includes:

  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • Sales and operations planning
  • Forecasting models
  • Service systems
  • Production systems
  • Factors influencing demand forecasting
  • Demand forecasting methods

Supply Chain Analytics

Training in analytics teaches students how to evaluate an organization’s supply chain and understand how it responds to market demands. Students will also learn how to use supply chain analytics to improve an organization’s operational efficiency.

The content covered in these courses includes:

  • Supply chain management analytics models
  • Demand analytics
  • Inventory analytics
  • Network design in supply chain
  • Machine learning applications for supply chain

Supplier Relationship Management

The main goals of supplier relationship management courses are to provide students with an understanding of ratings, metrics, and methods to evaluate supplier performance. Students learn techniques to correct supplier performance and mitigate risks and distractions.

The content you will find in these courses includes:

  • Methods to improve supplier performance
  • Steps to evaluate supplier performance
  • Supplier performance metrics
  • Development of joint cost-value initiatives

International Logistics and Supply Chain Management

International logistics and supply chain management courses give students a comprehensive grounding in this specific field. They deal with tools and techniques to analyze, develop, and adjust supply chains.

Students also receive the latest information about supply chain management and global logistics.

The course material usually includes:

  • Core concepts of supply chain management
  • Strategies for delivering value
  • Global logistics and transport management
  • Global purchasing and supply management
  • Innovation and supply chain technology

Elective Courses

Elective courses are taken alongside regular supply chain courses. They are not mandatory, and students can usually choose from a list of courses that suit their needs or interests.

Elective courses can help prospective supply chain professionals develop skills that they can use in other sectors. This is why they can also give candidates a competitive advantage when seeking employment in the industry.

Examples of elective courses are as follows:

Green Supply Chain Management

Elective courses in green supply chain management focus on the strategies, tools, and techniques needed to analyze and create environmentally sustainable supply chain systems.

Content typically includes:

  • Carbon footprinting
  • Reverse logistics
  • Green supply chain strategy
  • Life cycle analysis

Global Supply Chain Management

Global supply chain management elective courses cover the structure of global distribution systems, costing models for intermodal transportation, and issues relating to global logistics and international trade agreements.

Course material covers:

  • Evaluating global supply chain infrastructure
  • Leveraging logistics and business processes in global supply chains
  • Purchasing in global supply chains
  • How to establish a global supply chain strategy

Supply Chain Risk Management

Elective courses in risk management cover the complexities and impact of supply chain risks, and how to plan for them accordingly.

This is done by teaching students how to use relevant technology for risk modeling and identification.

The material covered in these elective courses includes:

  • Understanding supply chain risks
  • Risk identification and planning
  • Evaluation of key risks
  • Risk response

Retail Supply Chain Management

Retail supply chain management elective courses cover the operations of retail establishments and consumer behavior.

Material includes:

  • Retail management
  • Business operations and data analytics
  • Consumer psychology and shopper marketing
  • Negotiations

Supply Chain Sustainability

This type of course is designed to teach students about sustainable supply chains. Content also typically covers complex supply chains and the role that sustainability plays in them.

These elective courses usually cover topics like:

  • Sustainability in supply chains
  • Sustainability reporting
  • Sustainable sourcing and procurement

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Experiential learning offers students extra credit, providing them with hands-on training that they wouldn’t get from their normal classes.

There are various options available, including:

  • Internships: These allow students to shadow managers, and see how they handle daily supply chain operations.
  • Case studies: Theseprovide students with real-life examples of how companies’ logistics networks operate. This allows them to understand how the processes they learn about can be put into practice.
  • Simulations: Thesegive students the opportunity to put what they have learned into practice. Simulations are often highly realistic and provide students with excellent experience.
  • Supply chain site visits: Site visitsallow students to see how the supply chain of an actual company operates.

What to Look for in a Supply Chain Management Course

  • Course format: When selecting a supply chain management course, choose a format to suit your learning style: lecture-based, discussion-based, and project-based courses are three options.
  • Course length: There are many short supply chain management certificates that can get you into the industry quickly. However, if you want to apply for higher-paying management positions, you should consider pursuing a degree.
  • Course accreditation: Before you take a supply chain management course, make sure that it is accredited. Employers prefer accredited courses, as it shows that a candidate has received a high-quality education.
  • Course content and curriculum: Always choose a course that suits your needs. For example, if you want to become a supply chain analyst, take a supply chain analytics course.
  • Course delivery mode: Management courses can be taken in-person or online – choose a course delivery mode that suits your needs.
  • Course cost and value: Supply chain management certificates are cheap and can expedite your career. Supply chain management degrees, on the other hand, are longer in duration and much more expensive.
  • Course schedule and flexibility: Training programs can be taken either full-time or part-time (suitable for those who are already employed).

Choosing the Right SCM Course for You

Assess your career goals

Before choosing a supply chain management course, consider what you want from your training. Supply chain managers almost always need degrees, so if you want to progress to this level, it would be better to pursue a degree instead of a certificate.

Evaluate your prior knowledge and experience

If you already have some supply chain management credentials, it would be beneficial to take a course that will allow you to specialize. If you already have a basic supply chain management certificate, for example, a course in demand planning and forecasting may give you an advantage over other job-seekers.

Consider the course format and delivery mode

It is important to choose a course that comes in a format that you like and decide whether you want to take online or in-person classes.

Most classes will be lecture-based and presented in person, but if this doesn’t work for you, there are various online courses available.

Research the course content and curriculum

Choose a course with content and a curriculum that are relevant to your needs. For example, if you want to become a supply chain analyst, it would not make sense to take a course that focuses on transportation management.

Check the course accreditation

Before you sign up for a course, you should ensure that it is accredited. When a course is accredited, it means that it covers the knowledge and skills required to work in the field.

Employers always prefer candidates who have taken accredited courses, as it’s likely they have a better educational background.

Analyze the course cost and value

Some courses are more expensive than others, depending on their duration and content. You should ultimately choose a course that suits your budget.

Look for testimonials and reviews from previous students

Before enrolling in a course, see what other people have to say about it. If previous students don’t have good things to say about a course, it is a good indication that you should look elsewhere.


Can I take supply chain management courses without a background in business or logistics?

Yes, there are some basic supply chain management certificates that do not require prior experience or qualifications other than a high school diploma.

How long does it take to complete a supply chain management course?

Supply chain management courses can range in duration from a few weeks to a few years, depending on the type of course you choose and how advanced it is.

Do I need a degree to take a supply chain management course?

Some advanced courses require you to have a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management. This isn’t always the case, though, so you should look at a course’s entry requirements when making your decision.


Supply chain management courses provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to work and succeed in the industry. It is wise to consider whether and where you want to specialize before choosing a course.

Enrolling in your chosen program is the first step towards what should be a rewarding career in supply chain management.