Sustainable Supply Management

Module description

Purchasing and Supply Management (P&SM) has become increasingly important nowadays.  In this module, you will learn the most important concepts and theories in P&SM.  In particular, the module takes a sustainability perspective and discusses the emerging best practice in sustainable supply management of large or small firms globally.  The module illustrates the theories with real life case studies appeared in the literature and carrier out by the lecturers themselves.

Internationalisation:  The module is entirely about purchasing and supply chain with sustainability as the main focus and these concepts are applicable around the world.

Sustainability:  Sustainable supply management is at the core of this module.

External Engagement: Previous guest speakers have spoken on closed-loop systems and cradle-to-cradles, and sustainable initiatives in China.

Employability:  You will acquire a general background in supply chains and where sustainability thinking fits in and you will have an opportunity to connect with CIPS (Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply Chain) which would help you in future employment. You will also develop your ability to ask questions, leadership, empathy and listening skills.

Full module specification

Module title:Sustainable Supply Management
Module code:MBAM817
Module level:M
Academic year:2014/5
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Jeff Jia -
Module credit:12
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 3:

4-day module (+study 8 weeks)

Module aims

Sustainable supply management (SSM) is a critical field in business which reflects the increasing debate over globalised trading that compares the extended supply chain with more localised models of performance delivery. Whereas only two decades ago purchasing and logistics were considered tactical functions within the firm, today supply management has become a strategic activity which manages supplier relationships, enables network innovation, reduces cost and mitigates the impact on the natural environment. As supply chain management is increasingly recognised as one of the cornerstones of 21st century competitive advantage, the challenge of implementing sustainable, lowcarbon and ethical approaches across all partners is attracting interest from practitioners and academics alike. The module begins with the process, context and theoretical elements of the supply chain. Chains and networks of firms are presented in a step-by-step approach to SSM and how it has evolved. It emphasizes the importance of a strategic approach to managing supply networks, often involving complex service delivery in the public-private environment. The module demonstrates where ‘supply’ fits into the overall business decision models of today which invariably involve end-to-end awareness of the impact on emissions tariffs, legislation, and international labour laws. The module examines how and why organizations choose to sub-contract particular activities, purchase goods and services, and having done so, what drives these decisions in terms of management theory and sustainable business practice.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Describe the evolution of purchasing and supply management from tactical to strategic.
  • 2. Discuss the significance of supply strategy and sustainable practice in relation to examples from industry.
  • 3. Discuss the core concepts and principles of 'soft' and 'hard' supply chain and network management practice.
  • 4. Evaluate the dynamics of the lean, agile (and 'leagile') models on supply chain responsiveness and the effects on sustainability.
  • 5. Evaluate the impact of performance-based innovation in the supply chain, including 'servitization' and the delivery of outcomes in terms of how sustainability enables supply chain competitiveness.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. Critically evaluate the role of innovative approaches in process improvement, such as IT tools, mapping software and lifecycle analysis in terms of implementing the sustainable supply chain.
  • 7. Apply appropriate theory and conceptual frameworks which address 'global vs local' sourcing issues in determining appropriate inter-organizational relationships and types of firm behaviour.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Develop written (and in class: oral) communication.
  • 9. Manage independent (and where appropriate: group) learning.
  • 10. Develop secondary (i.e. desk-based, literature search) research skills.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact hours28Lectures

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In class group discussions and presentationN/A2-9Oral feedback during class

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Assignment (individual)1003500 words1-10Feedback written on assignment

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual Assignment (100%)Individual Assignment 3500 words (100%)1 -106 weeks after briefing

Syllabus plan

Introduction to Sustainable Supply Management (SSM); the Beer Game - exploring soft and hard supply dynamics; competing as supply chains and networks; understanding the ‘make or buy’ decision - outsourcing global vs local; supplier assessment, evaluation and development; supply strategy and responsiveness - lean, agile and ‘leagile’; global sourcing and supply chain configuration; tools, technology and enablers for implementing the sustainable supply chain; new product development, innovation and the supplier; green supply: low carbon procurement, legislation and corporate social responsibility; ‘servitization’, service-based supply and delivering outcomes.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Van Weele, A J (2005) Purchasing and Supply Chain Management – Analysis, Strategy, Planning and Practice. 6th Edition Cengate Learning.

Johnsen, t., Howard, M. and Miemczyk, J. 2014. Purchasing and Supply Chain Management : A Sustainability Perspective.  Routledge.

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