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Supply Chain Innovation: How Technology Can Create a Sustainable Future

Understand how new technologies can make supply chains more sustainable and learn how to deal with today's trends.

22,933 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Every product that we use today is the result of a supply chain - a complex series of steps that turn raw materials into the final products we use and everything related with this. Managing these supply chains has become more and more a challenge, especially with all modern technologies and todays trends. The 24-hour economy, fast delivery of goods to your home, wanting to have customized products and of course the focus on sustainability are a few of these trends.

In this course you will learn why managing supply chains is important and challenging. It is a key activity for both large multi-national companies as well as for small businesses. We’ll find out how to design supply chains that meet future economic, environmental and social requirements, asking questions such as:

  • How did global supply chain become what they are today?
  • How can current information and communication technology (ICT) make supply chains more efficient?
  • Which trends do we need to recognize and cope with?
  • How can you implement sustainable supply chain innovations?
  • And what impact will sensing technologies, such as the use of RFID, have on the supply chain?

We will look at examples from the food industry. Also, the building and construction supply chain will be discussed since it has a big impact. One out of three trucks is construction related so innovations applied on this chain can have a huge impact.

You’ll be encouraged to apply the knowledge you gain to your own product or industry (or a company and supply chain you’re interested in). You are invited to share your ideas for optimizing your supply chain with other learners.

Together with academics from the University of Twente and experts from industry, you’ll learn how to innovate supply chains. These instructors have vast experience in integrating ICT and extensive research in supply chain process optimization, innovation and management.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds JOS VAN HILLEGERSBERG: Supply chains consist of all the activities needed to produce and distribute products to the end consumer. Increasingly, also, the reuse and returns of products, and the actual use of products, is important. Supply chains consist of many organisations, often crossing multiple country borders. As such, supply chains can be highly complex. Global trends, such as growing population, scarcity of energy, scarcity of raw materials, new consumer demands, new regulations, they all ask to reorganise our supply chains. Fortunately, we have a lot of technologies now that allow us to innovate our supply chains and to make them more sustainable. This free online course is about making supply chains more sustainable, using new technologies. My name is Jos van Hillegersberg.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds I’m a professor at the University of Twente. We work together with industry and partner knowledge institutions around the world to research new ways of organising supply chains. Our state of the art research in information technology and business are facilities, such as the design lab, entrepreneurial campus, and business and science park, and close links to industry allow us to pioneer innovations in supply chains. In this course, we will learn about what supply chains are, what the challenges are, and how we can use new technologies to make supply chains more sustainable. We will look at case studies from different industries, such as construction and the food industry and learn from these examples.

Skip to 1 minute and 41 seconds After following this course, you will have a better understanding of the supply chain concepts and the ways in which new technologies can help us to innovate supply chains. I invite you to join this course and hope you will join us to become an innovator in achieving more sustainable supply chains around the world.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to supply chain innovation

    • Introduction to supply chain innovation

      A welcome to this course and introduction of the theme of supply chain innovation.

    • Sustainable and global supply chains

      Get to know more on the meaning and significance of sustainable and global supply chains.

    • Key processes in a supply chain

      Learn more about key supply chain processes using the SCOR model. Examples are also given.

    • What are drivers for supply chain innovation?

      Learn about drivers for supply chain innovation and see some innovation examples. You will examine the role of a Logistics Service Provider and how such companies can help to enhance sustainability.

    • Wrap up of this week

      We end this week with a quiz with several questions to summarize what we have learned on supply chain innovation.

  • Week 2

    Innovations and sustainability in supply chains

    • Introduction to supply chain innovations and sustainability

      What are supply chain innovations? What is supply chain sustainability and why is it important?

    • What are innovations in today's supply chains?

      You will be introduced to supply chains, supply chain challenges and get a first introduction to how technology may enable supply chain innovation.

    • What is sustainability?

      You will be introduced to key concepts of sustainability

    • Summary of this week

      Now it's your turn to check for yourself what you've learned. Please answer the questions in the quiz to see how you are really doing.

  • Week 3

    The role of information technology in supply chains

    • Introduction to ICT in supply chain

      How have ICT technologies enabled supply chain innovations?

    • History of ICT in the supply chain

      You will be introduced to key ICT discoveries that changed the supply chain over the last decades.

    • Current use of ICT in the supply chain

      You will learn how IT is currently supporting supply chain processes. How will see and understand the role or ERP and why, in addition, there is such a rich variety of ICT systems in use.

    • Next generation ICT in the supply chain

      You will learn about key ICT technologies and their potential for supply chain innovation.

    • Innovation at a logistic provider: the case of Kuehne + Nagel

      Innovation and ICT at Kuehne + Nagel.

  • Week 4

    Business process management and enterprise architecture

    • Architecture view and integration

      This is an introduction to information architecture and how to integrate the different flows and processes.

    • Business process modelling concepts

      Explanation of business process modelling concepts and practical cases

    • Chain integration

      Chain integration

    • Week summary

      Week summary on business process management and enterprise architecture.

  • Week 5

    Sensing in supply chain

    • Introduction sensing in supply chain

      Sensing and wireless technology in the supply chain and smart logistics.

    • The Internet of Things

      The basic building blocks and various applications of the Internet of Things explained.

    • Communication and sensing technologies

      Sensing and identification technologies and their application in the logistic and transport section are explained.

    • Positioning

      A insight in localization systems and basic mechanisms and technologies for positioning systems are presented. Applied to the case of an airport environment.

    • Week summary

      Summary of this week and looking at the last week

  • Week 6

    Supply chains in the construction industry

    • Introduction to supply chains in the construction industry

      The construction industry is large and a very diverse industry sector. Buildings don’t emerge out of nothing. A lot of activities need to come together in order to realise them.

    • Why supply chains in construction industry are interesting

      What makes the construction supply chain and logistics unique? We will highlight several aspects that make the construction supply chains different compared to supply chains in other sectors.

    • Challenges of urban building

      An important trend in urban building is urbanization and inner-city construction. The importance of inner-city construction is ofcourse directly related to urbanization. Also interesting cases from practice are shown.

    • Supply chain innovations in construction

      What are possible solutions to improve the supply chain and logistics of the construction industry? What are important initiatives towards supply chain innovation in construction?

    • Wrap up for this course

      You've reached the end of this course! Jos van Hillegersberg says "thank you"!

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the key trends in supply chain innovation.
  • Explain in their own words the role of information and communication technology in supply chain innovation.
  • Discuss the impact of innovative information and communication technology in a clear and substantiate way.
  • Reflect on supply chain innovation in different application areas, as for example logistic service providers and construction industry.

Who is the course for?

Supply chain is a cross disciplinary area. In this course we give a broad overview rather than focusing on detailed quantitative/mathematical or ICT skills. Although we’ll challenge you to perform some basic modelling and technology activities, the focus is on thinking supply chain and recognizing the impact of ICT so that you can be an innovator in this area and a driver of change. Key to a good supply chain manager is his/her ability to think across company borders and functional domains. In addition, being interested in both business and technology is essential.

This course is aimed at professionals and students in disciplines such as ICT, operations, marketing, finance,.. who wish to learn more about supply chain management. Supply chain management and operations professionals and students that want to learn from about new trends and technologies can also benefit from the course. As we are all end customers of supply chains and the impact of supply chains on our world is enormous, many of us wish to know what is happening behind the scene. You are all invited to join!

What do people say about this course?

"Indeed it has been a great course and truly inspiring! The course helped me to learn regarding supply chain innovation. The course gave us a series of new areas to think about. It gave us a new way to look at some of the areas in our business that we thought were all wrapped up but in reality, we had glossed over the subject matter. The material of this course was so easy to follow because of how relevant and interesting the readings and videos were. The learner comments and discussions made a great contribution, making the course easier and successful for me."

Who will you learn with?

I'm a professor in Business Information Systems at the University of Twente. I love to research and design innovative and sustainable business using new ICT. Lead educator of the SC Innovation Course

I'm Associate Professor in Supply Chain Management at the department of Construction Management and Engineering. I like to resarch Supply Chain Management and ICT issues in the construction industry.

Who developed the course?

University of Twente

As a young and entrepreneurial university in the Netherlands, the University of Twente prepares young people to tackle the grand challenges the world will be facing during the coming decades.

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