Retail Supply Chains and E-Commerce



The objective of this course is to deliver core Retail Supply Chain knowledge required for executives in operational retail management and e-commerce, enabling them to make aligned decisions integrating supply chain issues across other functional areas of their businesses.
The topics to be covered in this course include;

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Program Content

Session Topic Description
Session 1 Retail Supply Chain Essentials – Retail Supply Chain Essentials introduces the elements of efficient retail supply chains including key management levers and performance indicators. These will be illustrated using examples and case studies from high performing retail supply chains highlighting factors that are common and the linkage between overall corporate strategy and supply chain performance. Differences between high performing companies (e.g., Inditex(Zara) and H&M) and between success and failure (e.g., Ocado and WebVan) will be discussed with the participants to illustrate the concepts. Implications for retail supply chains from changing technology and lessons learned in appropriately harnessing technology will be addressed.
– Participants will learn to reevaluate their own supply chains in the context of these benchmarks and understand how elements of high performing supply chains could be implemented to improve their performance.
Session 2 Ecommerce and OmniChannel Supply Chain Basics – Ecommerce and OmniChannel Supply Chain Basics builds on the Retail Supply Chain Essentials module with a focus on the supply chain requirements for a successful Ecommerce model. Unique aspects to Ecommerce supply chains such as rapid delivery to individual locations, high return rates, manufacturer to customer direct shipments, etc. will be highlighted. The challenges of integrating Ecommerce with an existing physical store network will be discussed. The dependence of the successful Omnichannel Retailer on the fulfillment supply chain and innovative solutions will be illustrated through real world examples. The challenges Marks and Spencer faces in providing an Omnichannel experience for both its department stores and food halls will illustrate for the participants the strategic changes needed as well as the technology aspects of an integrated approach.
– Participants will learn to evaluate an OmniChannel approach to their retailing strategy and (a) see whether it is appropriate for their company and (b) if appropriate begin to identify key strategic changes and operational requirements that must occur if they are to be successful.
Session 3 Supply Chain Finance and the Business Model – The relationship between physical supply chains and financial flows is becoming both more complex (with globalization) and relevant to the business (with the financial and credit crises). This module will emphasize the role of financial control and the integration of appropriate financial strategies into supply chain decision making. Inventory strategy, total landed cost and optimal commodity procurement are some topics that will be covered. The relationship between response time and the financial metrics of the business will be addressed.
– Participants will understand (a) the linkage between inventory and cash flows (b) the financial impact of different customer response strategies such as short lead times and product customization and (c) the implicit cost of risk in the sourcing process
Session 4 Data Analytics for Retail Supply Chains – Data Analytics for Retail Supply Chains introduces the rapid growth of technological capability for advanced data analysis in the retail industry. The challenges faced by most companies in actually integrating this data analysis and the resulting information flow into their operational and strategic decision making will be discussed. New sources of data and the opportunities for leveraging existing data for particular businesses will be illustrated.
– The learning from this module is a basic understanding of the process and potential benefits of advanced data analysis and how it can be effectively integrated with decision making.
Session 5 Case Study Discussions and Industry Expert Presentations – The executive presentations will be made by mid-level operational executives (VPs, Directors) who can provide insight into operational issues and challenges in their respective retail environments. The content of these sessions will be driven largely through the course participants’ questions (submitted prior to the course) and also based on feedback from past participants in similar courses. Planned case studies include Inditex (Zara) Distribution Center & Retail Operations and Privalia: Omni-channel and on-line clothing retailer operations.



Prof. Dr. David Gonsalvez
CEO & Rector

Dr. Gonsalvez is the CEO & Rector at MIT Global SCALE Network’s Malaysian Institute of Supply Chain Innovation.

Dr. Shardul Phadnis
Director of Research

Dr. Phadnis holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Systems from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Before starting his doctoral studies, Dr. Phadnis worked in the manufacturing industry for seven years.