Supply Chain Foundations: Inventory Management

Supply Chain Foundations: Inventory Management

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

Course 3 of 4 in the Supply Chain Foundations Series

In Inventory Management, you will be able to define two important concepts in supply chain management, lead time and inventory position.

We break lead time up into its components and show how variability in any of these components can add to uncertainty of supply. We also explore different methods of managing inventory, including Continuous and Periodic Review. You will learn why inventory position (on-hand inventory + on-order inventory — any customer back-orders) is a key determinant in both of these.

Also, we develop a comprehensive understanding of inventory, which is any material, good, or commodity that is held for the purpose of some future utilization, such as making another product or to be sold. We describe inventory in terms of process and function. We identify the different costs associated with inventory beyond just the purchase cost and describe how shippers and transportation providers could work together to optimize the transportation decision given different inventory costs.

Finally, you'll learn about quantitative methods for implementing a continuous review inventory policy. These methods answer two different and critical questions—how much to order and when to order? You will answer these questions first, assuming that demand and lead time are known, and then in a more realistic setting where, like life, inputs are uncertain.



  • Inventory Lead Time
  • Inventory Position
  • Inventory Flows
  • Define Inventory and Inventory Management
  • Identify Inventory Types
  • Determine Inventory Costs
  • Determine Inventory Carrying Cost Percent
  • Decision Management
  • Economic Order Quantity and Reorder Point
  • Safety Stock and Reorder Point
  • Cost of Safety Stock and Empirical Approach
  • Determine an Inventory Policy


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

click/tap to view video

( 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.