Operations and Supply Chain Management

Course Number: SUST6220
Faculty: Dwight Collins, PhD and Dennis Gawlik, MS

What students learn in this course:

  • How to apply principles of triple bottom line sustainable operations management in the workplace
  • How to select and apply quantitative analysis tools to optimize supply chain operations
  • How to develop operations plans that both optimize operations and incorporate industrial ecology and social justice principles and tools.
  • How to influence the views and decisions of others relative to best practices of sustainable operations planning and decision making

About this course:

Students learn how to navigate their way in the strategic, tactical, and operational decision-making environments of operations and supply chain management of service and manufacturing companies. Major topics are process analysis, cost and quality management, service systems management, inventory optimization, industrial ecology, life cycle assessment (LCA), and greenhouse gas emissions minimization. Students learn how to apply concepts of probability, statistics, and optimization via the use of a number of quantitative operations management tools. They learn how to apply corporate codes of conduct to enforce high standards of social justice throughout a company’s supply chain.

About the Experiential Learning Project:

Students apply the arc of pragmatic inquiry to fine-tune their skills with applied learning. They do this on a semester-long team project in which they work closely with a partner company or nonprofit organization. The focus of the project is evaluating alternative operations approaches using concepts and tools learned in class. From this analysis, students recommend the best approach and build an operations plan to execute it.  Examples of recent projects include:

  • Identify a set of production processes or distribution channels that minimizes a food production company’s carbon footprint relative to its current operating configuration.
  • Identify one or more alternative ways of designing the packaging for a firm’ cleaning products so the packaging can be diverted from a landfill at end of life and instead reused, remanufactured, or recycled.
  • Identify an environmentally friendly wastewater processing system to address the production growth plans of a draft beer production company.
  • Identify a program of medical supply purchasing by a hospital that limits sources of supply to those whose products do not yield medical waste during use.