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DM 890 – Operations and Supply Chain Management

Course Objectives

The trend toward an integrated world economy and global competitive arena is forcing companies to develop strategies for designing products for a global market and maximizing the firm’s resources in producing them. Planning and operating in the global arena and the Internet era requires new management skills such as developing a truly global network of warehouses, distribution centres and consolidation points, optimizing multiple transport service types, and design information and communication systems that integrate the supply chain. This course is intended for students with interests in developing skills, knowledge and understanding of global operations and logisitifcal frameworks, and a desire to conceptualize and manage at both strategic and tactical levels.

This course aims to help you prepare for a management career through three development objectives: (i) acquire, understand and apply general knowledge of operations and supply chain management; (ii) advance your managerial insights from both the C-suite and frontline points of view with regards to the value to be realized through efficient and effective work-related efforts and flows; and (iii) enhane your confidence in addressing operational and supply chain issues (i.e, relating to the everyday and routine activities of the organization) faced by all service firms, manufacturers, not-for-profits, etc.

Course Leader: David Barrett, Ph.D, MBA, CPA, CMA, Ivey Business School, Western

Course Description and Class Process

The course will generally be taught using the case method. This 3-step learning process requires participants in the course to first read and prepare individually a case prior to each class, second to discuss their analyses in small learning teams, and then third bring the results of their group’s discussions to class for further discussion and analysis. In this highly effective learning method, the responsibility for learning rests primarily with the student, not the teacher. The instructor’s role is that of facilitator and discussion leader. We will discuss several cases each day. During the day, just under an hour has been allocated for individual preparation of the second and third cases, and a further 30 minutes for learning team discussion. You will have to prepare the first case of the day in the evening before class.


Module 1- Operational System Design, Delivery and Improvement

The first module, Operational System Design, Delivery and Improvement aims to identify the major components of an operational system and to determine how best from the frontline perspective to manage throughput performance (how many ‘items’ can be processed per unit of time) and lead systematic operational system improvement efforts to determine ways to reduce defects and eliminate waste in the operational system.

Module 2 – Supply Chain Management and Competing on Operations Strategy

In the second module, Supply Chain Management and Competing on Operations Strategy, a multi-site and flows-based view of operations is adopted in order to advance understanding on managing inventory, procurement and distribution, and the buyer-supplier relationships. In addition, this module highlights from the C-suite perspective how a firm’s operations can be leveraged for improved value realization for and from customers and to achieve a sustainable marketplace competitive advantage for the organization.


Ritzman, Krajewski, Malhotra and Klassen, Foundations of Operations Management (4th Canadian edition).


There are no formal prerequisites other than those for the programme as a whole. As such, we assume that you have no previous operations and supply chain management experience, however we recognize that some students may have more exposure to the topic than others.

Course Grading

At the end of the first module there will be a short group case report analyzing a company’s operational system and providing recommendations for improvement, which will contribute 30% of the course grade. This report should be short (maximum 2,500 words) and focus on analysis and improvement of the operational system, and will be due before the start of the second module.

At the end of the second module a case will be distributed for individual preparation and hand-in two weeks after the end of the module. This report will focus more on strategic elements of the course and materials emphasized in the second module. This report should also be no more than 2,500 words in length and will be due two weeks after the end of the second module.

Participation in class discussion (the quality, not quantity, of your discussion, questions and answers) will contribute 30% to your course grade. Quality is measured by the extent to which a contribution moves the discussion of the case forward; it can include a relevant example from work experience, a question that captures a key issue in the case, or an answer to that question.

To summarize:

Group hand-in end of Module 1 = 30%
Independent case hand-in end of Module 2 = 40%
Contribution = 30%

Biography of Course Leader

David Barrett

David Barrett is an Assistant Professor of Operations Management at the Richard Ivey School of Business. He teaches in the School’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leads multiple executive educations programs in health care management. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is the Executive Director of the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation. His research interests are in the deployment of lean management in healthcare, and the global adoption of value-based healthcare principles.

Dr. Barrett has a diverse background in manufacturing, supply chain and high-performance team management. As a versatile, performance driven executive, he has 20 plus years of proven success delivering measurable results within large and small organizations. His experiences and strengths in operational process improvement, lean management, business development, inventory management, long-term strategic planning and leading implementation initiatives have been used to support improved operational efficiency, productivity, and profit margins to fuel organizational growth. Over his career he has demonstrated an ability to influence internally and externally diverse, cross-functional teams to achieve objectives and meet critical deadlines in fast-paced environments.

Dr. Barrett received his undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce degree from Mount Allison University, and his MBA and PhD from Ivey. He earned his CMA/CPA in 2004, before commencing a consulting career at Adventis (now Cambridge Strategic Management Group) and Axia (now Accenture) specializing in telecommunications strategy and subsequently operations and supply chain management. Past engagements include (but are not limited to) work with Mondelez, Venture Steel, Cott, Pfizer, Kinetic Concepts, Bell, Sprint, August Storck, HSBC, Bombardier, Sol, Tufts Medical Centre, and Granite City Electric. His distinct blend of academic training, high performance coaching and “boots-on-the-ground” experiences enable Dr. Barrett to lead discussions on a broad range of operations management topics.