Introduction to Supply Chain: Competitive Strategy, Customer Service, and Performance

Introduction to Supply Chain

— Offered by the Sam M. Walton College of Business —

Course 1 of 4 in the Supply Chain Foundations Series

Learn critical concepts that are essential to supply chain management, as well as how important that management is in global and domestic business. Explore the differences between supply chain management and logistics, and learn how supply chain efficiencies can be creatively exploited for competitive advantage through case studies and real stories from industry leaders.

Gain an understanding about the total cost of ownership, inventory management and stockouts, customer service concepts. Then begin to master the tools of the trade, the all-important metrics calculations supply chain managers use to monitor logistics and firm performance.

This online, on-demand class provides flexibility to enhance your business knowledge on your timeline, outside working hours. This introductory course is the first of six in the Supply Chain Foundations training series, developed by the Sam M. Walton College of Business.



  • Introduction to Supply Chain Competitiveness
  • Defining Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • The Four Rs of Supply Chain Competition
  • Inventory Performance
  • The Total Cost Concept and Customer Service
  • Measuring In-stock Inventory
  • Stockouts
  • Customer Service and the Normal Distribution
  • Impact of Logistics on ROA
  • Inventory Turns, GMROI and ROA
  • Limitations of Metrics


Access / Completion Time:
6 Months

U of A 10% discount available - view details

  Certificate of Completion

Learners who complete this course and desire documentation can download a Certificate of Completion for three professional development hours at the end of this course.

Video: Supply Chain Foundations

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( video length - 1:23 )

  Certificate in Supply Chain Management Studies

Learners who complete the entire Supply Chain Foundations Series of four courses are entitled to the Certificate in Supply Chain Management Studies (not academic credit) issued by the University of Arkansas. You will receive instructions on how to apply for this non-credit certification upon completion of all four courses.


What to Expect

  • All four courses are all approximately the same length, with around 11-12 lessons each.
  • The four courses can be taken in any order, but since the courses increase in complexity, it is recommended you take the courses in sequence for maximum comprehension.
  • Modules within each course are in sequence, meaning you must finish the first module before starting the second.
  • Learn content through videos, selected readings, practice exercises with feedback, and interactive self-assessments.


After completing this series, you will be able to do the following:

  • Discuss the components of supply chain and logistics, use analytical metrics, and implement high-level strategies to maximize your company’s competitive stance.
  • Recognize intersecting interests among supply chain management, logistics management, and the functional areas of your business (e.g. Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing).
  • Optimize your supply chain and logistics design.
  • Use prescriptive analytics for strategic inventory and distribution management, forecasting, and decision making.