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This content is taken from the The Open University & The Open University Business School's online course, The Digital Economy: Effective Supply Chain Management. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsROBERT MOORE: So we're looking at how technology and the digital economy generally is impacting on the way that we live and the way that we do business. So it's split into four weeks. The first week, we explain what supply chain management is and why it's important. The second week, we explore in detail what we mean by the "digital economy." and then in week three, we go on to look at a number of companies and how they are using the supply chain to get some competitive advantage. We also look at some of the problems that supply chains can cause. And finally, in week four, we go on to explore the future.

Skip to 0 minutes and 36 secondsWhat does the future supply chain look like and what are the opportunities for small companies and large companies? To help us explore these, we're going to look at two case studies. We have Technology Will Save Us and that's the name of the company. And this is a small manufacturing company based in London and they produce educational scientific toys and they supply into a lot of major stores across the UK and in America. And Henry Haslam, who's the operations and production manager at Technology Will Save Us, will be talking us through their supply chain and how it works.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 secondsThe second company is Whitbread and their logistics director, Brodie McMillan, he will be talking us through how they work with their partners Kuehne + Nagel and we'll be looking specifically at two of the Whitbread brands. We'll be looking at Premier Inn and we're looking at Costa. And through the case study, we'll find out exactly how they manage to maintain their really impressive 99% delivery rate to all of their stores and hotels. So I hope you enjoy working through these four weeks and enjoy week one.

Welcome to the course

Hello, and welcome to Effective Supply Chain Management.

This course is one of four available in the The Digital Economy program. Successful completion of all four courses (as evidenced by upgrading and then receiving a Certificate of Achievement for each course when you become eligible), you can earn 15 UK credits towards The Open University Business School’s flexible MBA by passing a linked Open University assessment course (requiring separate OU registration and fee). Find out more about Managing in the Digital Economy, the linked Open University assessment course: http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/modules/bxm871.

Digital technology permeates all aspects of our lives as citizens, consumers and workers. It is leading to changes in the way we access goods and services, and in the way those goods and services reach us. This course will introduce you to concepts and principles governing effective supply chain management, taking account of how digital technology is facilitating and enhancing established practices as well as creating opportunities for purely digital supply chains in some markets.

Over the next four weeks you will look at different aspects of supply chain management in the digital economy. In Week 1 you will learn what a supply chain is and why it is important. In Week 2 you will look at what ‘digital’ means in terms of the supply chain and how it fits into the digital economy. Week 3 explores how companies can use the supply chain to their advantage, particularly in relation to digital opportunities, and Week 4 looks to the future of the supply chain and examines how it is developing in line with customer expectations in an increasingly digitised world.

Who will support your learning?

The lead educator on this course is Hilary Collins. Hilary is a strategic design academic with research interests in the economic and cultural role of the creative industries. She teaches Open University courses in Strategy and Design Thinking.

To support this process we will have two mentors, Robert Craw and Sue Curd. You can access the FutureLearn profiles of those supporting your learning and follow them.

A key feature of the learning experience on a FutureLearn course is the idea of social learning. Our learning is at its best when we share and debate ideas with fellow learners, and we therefore encourage you to ask questions and engage with others via comments and participation in the discussions that take place.

If this is the first FutureLearn course you have studied, you might find it useful to visit the Using Futurelearn page.

Get extra benefits, upgrade your course

You can now get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including:

Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests: Ensure you’ve mastered the material with access to tests on the course.

A Certificate of Achievement: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible

Find out more

Introduce yourself

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The Digital Economy: Effective Supply Chain Management

The Open University