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Online course

Supply Chains in Practice: How Things Get to You

Behind each simple everyday activity there is a complex web of supply chains that have brought those goods or services to you.


  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate


  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Supply Chains in Practice: How Things Get to You

Why join the course?

This free online course will explore the complex web of supply chains that bring goods or services to you.

Take, for example, eating your cereal in the morning. The cereal and milk have gone through a seamless chain of processes to get from the field to your kitchen table. The bowl and spoon also had to be manufactured from raw materials and retailed to you. Did you go to a shop to buy these things, or did you have them delivered?

Explore the invisible world of supply chains

This invisible world of supply chains is important, as it helps us to ensure that we get things in the most efficient and effective way. If this does not happen there can be dramatic consequences - imagine a world without water, food, medicine, education, buildings, roads or planes.

This free online course will introduce you to the fundamentals of the supply chain by applying the core concepts and principles in relation to everyday things. Topics include:

  • Just the tip of the iceberg: what is the supply chain?
  • The global orchestra: balancing supply and demand
  • Shop till you drop: purchasing and procurement in context
  • Factory of the future: changing nature of manufacturing
  • I like to move it, move it: logistics in context
  • Closing the loop: meeting the challenges of a more circular economy

Learn with a team of supply chain thought leaders

The course is led by Jan Godsell, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy at WMG, University of Warwick – a world leader in supply chains and the host of the Global Supply Chain Debate.

Jan will be joined by her network of supply chain thought leaders, who will use multimedia resources and case studies, to introduce the key concepts, critical roles and best practices that define supply chains.

Through activities and discussions, you’ll also be invited to share your own experiences of supply chains, whether at work or at home.

Skip to 0 minutes and 17 secondsSupply chains are all around us, yet we take them for granted. Imagine a world without water, without food, without medicine, without our homes, that would be a world without supply chains. Take an everyday occurrence like eating your breakfast-- your cereal, your milk, the bowl, your spoon. They've all got to you via a supply chain.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 secondsThe MOOC is designed to have broad appeal. If you understand how supply chains work in practice, you'll start to look at the world differently. As a consumer, it could change how you behave. And from an organisational perspective, that kind of understanding can help to make more holistic and long-term decisions.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondThis MOOC is going to take you on a journey through the basic principles with different processes-- the planning, manufacturing, the logistics-- and we want to understand how these things work in practice through case studies. Some of the companies we have worked with include Robert Welch, Rype Office John Lewis, Alucast. [Radio: Chukka Umunnan] I think of supply chains as being the blood that pumps the heart in our economic system. They are such an important part of the economy. It's a six-week course, and each module will begin with a course introductory video, some core principles, and different supporting materials. Each week, we'd expect you to commit about two hours to the MOOC, digesting content.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds There's some interactive work through the discussion boards, small activities. And at the end of each week, there'll be a short quiz just to check your understanding.

Skip to 1 minute and 55 secondsWe hope that this MOOC will spark your imagination, will get you to think about the world of supply chains differently, and that help you make more informed decisions, either as an individual consumer or within your organisation.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at everyone who has an interest in finding out more about supply chains and their management. No prior knowledge about supply chains is required and we recommend you spend between 2 to 4 hours per week on the course materials.

It will provide insight to those whose roles may not be directly involved in the supply chain, but wish to see how their role interacts. It will also benefit those currently working within one part of a supply chain, who wish to understand the broader supply chain context

Who will you learn with?

Jan Godsell

I lead the Supply Chain Research Group and the Supply Chains in Practice (SCIP) industrial collaborator forum. My work is focused on helping companies turn supply chain theory into practical reality.

Catherine Bowser

I bring together academic thinking with practical application in the design and delivery of Masters level business programs to support individual and organisation success.

Donato Masi

Dr Donato Masi is an Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of Warwick and his research focuses on the role of Supply Chains in the Circular Economy.

Gwynne Richards

I am a logistics and supply chain consultant and trainer. I am an Associate Lecturer at the University of Warwick, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and SIM. I have also written books on logistics.

John Bancroft

I am the co-module tutor on the MSc module in Supply Chain Management at WMG. It is my aim to provide students with an insight into the topic, the key elements and common issues encountered.

Who developed the course?

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats, to celebrate taking part.

£34.00 + shipping

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.