Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hrs / session

Course Description

Introduces concepts of supply chain design and operations with a focus on supply chains for products destined to improve quality of life in developing countries. Topics include demand estimation, capacity planning and process analysis, inventory management, and supply chain coordination and performance. We also cover issues specific to emerging markets, such as sustainable supply chains, how to couple product design with supply chain design and operation, and how to account for the value-adding role of a supply chain. A major aspect of class is the student projects on supply chain design or improvement.

Class will be a mix of lectures, experiential games and cases. The course objectives are to develop an understanding of the challenges in the design and planning of supply chains, and to learn modeling skills and problem-solving tools, applicable to the design and planning of supply chains. Students conduct projects related to the introduction of a new product or service into a developing economy.

Course requirements are to come to class prepared, and to participate in the class. There will be a number of individual assignments throughout the class and a group project. The grading will depend on the assignments, contribution to the class and project.


Most of the class material will be posted on the class web site. We do ask that you buy and read Goldratt, et al. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. North River Press, 2014. ISBN: 9780884271956. There are 3 editions—any version is fine for our purposes.

We recommend the following books as useful references:

Simchi-Levi, David, Philips Kaminsky, and Edith Simchi-Levi. Designing and Managing the Supply Chain. 3rd ed. McGraw Hill, 2008.

Hopp, Wallace, and Mark Spearman. Factory Physics. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill / Irwin, 2000. ISBN: 9780256247954.

Hopp, Wallce. Supply Chain Science. McGraw-Hill / Irwin, 2008. ISBN: 9781121107793.

Nahmias, Steven. Production and Operations Analysis. 4th ed. Burr Ridge, 2000. ISBN: 9780072312652.

Chopra, Sunil, and Peter Meindl. Supply Chain Management. 3rd ed. Prentice Hall, 2006. ISBN: 9780131730427.

Shapiro, Jeremy F. Modeling the Supply Chain. South-Western College, 2006. ISBN: 9780495126096. [Preview with Google Books]

Silver, Edward A., David F. Pyke, and Rein Peterson. Inventory Management and Production Planning and Scheduling. 3rd ed. Wiley, 1998. ISBN: 9780471119470.

Snyder, Lawrence V., and Zuo-Jun Max Shen. Fundamentals of Supply Chain Theory. Wiley, 2011. ISBN: 9780470521304. [Preview with Google Books]

Webster, Scott. Principles of Supply Chain Management. Dynamic Ideas, 2009. ISBN: 9780975914670.

Course Requirements

This is a nine-unit class: Three hours each week will be spent in class, and the remaining six hours will be split between group work on assignments and your term project and individual work on readings, class preparation and assignments. Homework must be submitted in hard copy before the beginning of the class on the day that it is due. If you anticipate problems handing in an assignment on time, contact the instructor in advance; late work will be reduced by half a grade each day unless an extension has been granted 24 hours prior to the due date. We expect all students to attend all classes. If you cannot attend a particular class session, you should contact the instructor prior to the class. No more than two unexcused absences are allowed.

More specifically, there are the following assignments:

  • Four individual problem sets (forecasting; capacity planning and process analysis; inventory; contracts and procurement)
  • Seven individual one-page write-ups (SC example; Beer Game; The Goal; the OPT game; the Supply Chain game; Jiro Dreams of Sushi; and the Malaria SC case). Each of the individual write-ups should be at most 500 words.
  • Group project (2 or 3 person groups)


Four individual problem set 25%
Seven individual one-page write-ups 25%
Group project 35%
Class participation 15%

Academic Honesty

The rules of the MIT Faculty state: "The attempt of any student to present as his or her own the work of another, or any work which he or she has not honestly performed, or to pass any examination by improper means, is regarded by the Faculty as a most serious offense, and renders the offender liable to immediate expulsion. The aiding and abetting of a student in any dishonesty is likewise held to be a great breach of discipline."

In the context of this class, we expect you to work in groups; but groups should work independently and should not consult with each other about a particular assignment.

If you are uncertain about any aspect or instance of this policy, please ask one of the instructors for clarification.