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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsHello. I'm Catherine Bowser, and I'm your leader for this week. I design, develop, and lecture on a range of master's-levels programmes exploring supply-chain management ideas. I come from a background in industry, bringing together very practical application to academic thinking, as we explore supply-chain management. The cornflake example was used in an earlier week to start exploring supply-chain management. If we think about the manufacturer, the organisation needs some key imports so that they can have corn to manufacture the cornflakes, plastic so that they can make the inner, sealed lining, and cardboard to make the exterior packaging. Strategic sourcing decisions are being made to ensure that the best supplier is found and engaged with to deliver the business objectives.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 secondsAnd, just as the manufacturer is making sourcing decisions, if we go up the chain, so too is the retailer. They are making decisions about what to put on their shelves and to sell and need to make choices about who they buy from and what relationships they have with their providers to ensure success.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 secondsAnd so, further up the chain, to the end-product buyer-- the consumer-- us. We, too are making strategic sourcing decisions. We're choosing the product that we want to buy. We're choosing where it comes from. Are we thinking about the local shop, buying from a supermarket, a megastore, or online? Sourcing decisions are a key element of supply-chain management, part of ensuring that we have the right product at the right place at the right time in the right quantity, the price that we want to pay. The objective of this week is to raise awareness around sourcing choices. Wherever we are in the supply chain, whatever our role, we are making conscious or unconscious buying decisions.

Skip to 2 minutes and 29 secondsWe are processing information to help us answer questions that help us formulate our buying choices. This week, we're going to be exploring, what are those questions, what information do we need, and how do we help develop the best strategies that we can? So if Learners leave this week aware of how to evaluate their buying choices, check into the decisions that they've made, and become conscious of how they make their strategic buying choices, then our objectives will have been met. The week is structured around five fundamental questions that we need to consider in making any buying choice. The first question considers, what is it that we need to buy? It's really ensuring that we have clarity of objectives.

Skip to 3 minutes and 22 secondsIf we have that clarity, then we can start considering, where can we buy what we need, and gain an understanding of the characteristics of the supply market so that we can start making good choices. We need to consider, how much are we spending? What's the relative value of what it is that we're requiring? We need to consider the nature and characteristic of the supply market-- really, just about how easy is it for us to get what we need, and what are the risks that we're managing.

Skip to 3 minutes and 55 secondsFor example, we might consider buying our cornflakes-- relatively low-value, and very easy to acquire-- very differently from purchasing some very specialist organic product, which is relatively more expensive to us and not as readily available as our cornflakes. As we go through this data-collection process, we're identifying the potential suppliers and we're considering how best to engage with them. Really answering that third question, how do we establish the best strategy with suppliers to give us what we need? We then have the information that we need, identifying our potential suppliers, so that we can evaluate and narrow down to answer our fourth question, which is around which supplier to select.

Skip to 4 minutes and 49 secondsThe final question looks at how we can evaluate our sourcing choice, how we can improve it, and how we might need to change it if we're looking for a very successful outcome. For each question element, we're linking to the overall framework, we're looking at import to explore the idea, and we're looking at questions to enable personal reflection. It would be great if Learners could engage with the input-- really consider it against their context in the supply chain, so that they consciously make different decisions as they move forward in their buying choices.

Skip to 5 minutes and 30 secondsWe really hope that you enjoy this week, that you find it interesting, and, most of all, that it does influence you in the way that you're making your strategic decisions in whatever your role in the supply chain.

Welcome to Week 3

During this week we are going to explore sourcing decision making and its role within the supply chain

This week your educator is Catherine Bowser. Catherine has had a successful career supporting organisations and individuals through change. Working previously with Lucas Industries and CSC Consulting, she has addressed the challenges facing both small companies and multi national organisations, collaborating with clients at operational and strategic levels to deliver business value. Catherine is an associate teaching fellow at Warwick University where she is involved in the design, development and delivery of masters level programs, with a specialism in Supply Chain strategy and Strategic Sourcing. Catherine believes that the combination of her practical experience in these areas, with advanced academic thinking creates a powerful combination for her clients and students.

How does this week fit into the overall course?

Sourcing decisions are a key element of supply chain management, part of ensuring that we have the right product or service, at the right time, in the right place, in the quantity that we need and at the right cost. Businesses make strategic sourcing decisions to ensure they have the best suppliers that can deliver the products that meet their objectives. Just as the manufacturer is making sourcing choices, if we go up the chain so is the retailer - they determine which products they are going to stock and sell and need to make decisions about who they will they purchase from. We make sourcing choices, like do we buy from a small corner shop, a supermarket a mega store, online

What will learners be able to do differently at the end this week?

The objective of this third week is to raise awareness around making sourcing decisions. Wherever we are in the supply chain we are making conscious or unconscious buying choices. We are processing information to answer questions that help us formulate these buying decisions. In this week we are going to explore the questions we need to answer and the information we need to ensure that we are making good buying decisions. So, if you complete the week you will be aware of how to evaluate your buying decisions, question your choices and make these decisions consciously.

 How is the week structured?

The week is structured around the 5 key questions fundamental to any sourcing decision.

5 key questions fundamental to any sourcing decision

The first question considers checking that we have a clear view of what needs to be bought and clarity of objectives.

If we establish that we can start to consider the characteristics of the supply market that we can buy from, that could satisfy our needs. We are looking at how important is this purchase to us, how easy it is and what are the risks in getting what we want. For example we might consider the purchase of our cornflakes (low value, easily available) differently from the acquisition of our specialist organic beef (higher value in terms of spend and less readily available). As we go through this data collection process we are identifying the potential suppliers and determining how we need to engage with them, answering the third question of what sourcing strategy will satisfy our needs best. We then have the information that we need to identify the potential supplier and make an evaluation that narrows down and answers the fourth question about who should we select. The final question looks at how we evaluate the success of our sourcing choice and how we can improve or change it.

How would you like learners to engage?

It would be great if learners would look at each step with an openness to reflect on strategic sourcing and how it might influence their decision making in whatever supply chain role they play

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This video is from the free online course:

Supply Chains in Practice: How Things Get to You

The University of Warwick