Building Integrated Supply Networks Program

Seizing New Opportunities Through Sourcing, Partnering and Distribution

Program Features

Building Integrated Supply Networks consists of five, 1-week courses developed with Penn State Smeal College of Business. Learners will explore another layer of complexity in supply chains as procurement activities shift to strategic sourcing, capabilities of outsourcing partners factor into strategies, and supply chain teams take proactive steps to manage risk.


Assessing Your Supply Chain Alignment and Collaboration

Alignment and collaboration are essential conditions if supply chain teams want to discover the next wave of performance improvements, and become adaptive and resilient against the onslaught of change. In Assessing Your Supply Chain Alignment and Collaboration, learners evaluate alignment and collaboration across the entire supply chain organization, and within their own departments. Learners will review and define actions to improve alignment and collaboration in one area of the supply chain while considering people, process technology and other success factors.


Strategic Sourcing for Improved Performance

This course illustrates why procurement, once focused on driving low cost of materials, now serves as a strategic lever to create value through strong supplier relationships.

  • Learners will see how procurement practices can:
  • Improve the cost and performance of spend categories
  • Monitor and improve supplier performance
  • Encourage suppliers to participate in developing innovations
  • Manage risk to minimize supply chain disruptions

Participants will use the “quad model” to classify supplier relationships as bottlenecks, routine, leverage or critical. They then learn the best way to manage each type of supplier, and consider complex factors that influence decisions to insource or outsource important capabilities. Finally, learners will review the benefits and risks of using local or global suppliers.


Evaluating Opportunities with Third Party Logistics Providers

In this course, learners look further into supply chain activities that are strategic—part of an organization core competency—versus those that might be managed more effectively by a partner. They evaluate advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing, and begin to understand how services offered by 3PL and 4PL companies can augment internal capabilities to keep pace with change. Finally, they’ll learn why these outsourcing arrangements are often embedded into long-term supply chain strategies.

In Evaluating Opportunities with Third Party Logistics Providers, leaders see how inbound and outbound logistics and warehousing and distribution center performance all improve when transportation and facilities networks are strengthened.


Optimizing Distribution Network Strategy

Distribution Network Strategies work to achieve the lowest distribution costs by balancing the numbers, sizes and locations of facilities while also achieving exceptional levels of customer service. DNS strategies are continually influenced by eCommerce, channel growth, real estate costs and other factors. Learners will begin to understand how underperforming distribution centers, rising fuel prices, expansion into new regions and other factors impact distribution. They’ll consider these factors as they conduct research on one area of their own company’s distribution network and consider how its performance might be improved. They’ll also learn the steps, goals and data requirements for developing a Distribution Network Strategy.


Managing Supplier Risk

Supply Chain disruptions result in harmful impacts on an organization and its stakeholders. Disruptions can impact the supply of materials into manufacturing, the distribution of products to customers, and customer satisfaction with service. Any of these can further result in a devastating blow to a company’s revenue. In this course, learners will learn to use tools and techniques to identify and prioritize risks, analyze risks and develop treatment mechanisms to either prevent the risk from happening, or minimize the consequences if a risk event occurs. Learners will build a risk management matrix, discuss strategies to manage risk, and use a toolkit to develop risk mitigation plans.

Download the Course Overview

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Developed in partnership with:


  • Supply Chain Leadership Academy


Steve Tracey

Executive Director of the Center for Supply Chain ResearchTM and Penn State Executive Programs, and Professor for the Supply Chain and Information Systems Department within Smeal College of Business.

John Langley Jr.

Clinical Professor of Supply Chain Management in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University

Chris Norek

Senior Partner, Chain Connectors, Inc. and Affiliated Faculty Member in Supply Chain Management, Penn State University

Chris Craighead

Dove Professor, Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, and Affiliate Faculty in Supply Chain Management at Penn State University

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