Course Syllabus

Welcome to PRDV304: Introduction to Supply Chain Management

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Student Handbook.


Course Description

Explore how raw materials are selected, obtained, and then distributed to the customer as a finished product – the supply chain. Learn how every step in the process can be affected by changes in distribution, resource availability, and other external factors.


Course Introduction

Have you ever thought about how the goods we buy get to the stores where we buy them? When we buy a computer, do we consider where the parts came from, how they got to the manufacturing plant, and how they were shipped to the stores? What about the fruits and vegetables we buy, or the coffee we purchase at our favorite coffee shops?

In this course, we will explore the steps organizations use to select suppliers for raw materials, bring those raw materials to a manufacturing facility, and turn those resources into a finished product. After the manufacturing process is completed, the goods must be delivered to the customer. All of these steps are part of the supply chain. Along the way, things may happen that hinder the smooth operations of the supply chain management process. These might include problems with a supplier, changes in laws, inefficiencies, hidden costs, or many other factors.

As you study, consider how the concepts could be applied to real-world situations, and relate them to your own experiences as a consumer and a businessperson. Even if you do not have plans to work in supply chain management, understanding the process will enable you to be a more effective professional in any field.

This course includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Fluctuations in the Supply Chain
  • Unit 2: Supply Chain Procurement
  • Unit 3: Supply Chain Distribution


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • apply the principles of supply chain management to various organizational settings;
  • explain the "bullwhip effect" and evaluate strategies to limit variation;
  • apply appropriate criteria in choosing suppliers; and
  • describe the two main areas of distribution management.

You can use these learning outcomes to help organize your studies and gauge your progress.


Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are articles, lectures, and videos.

All course materials are free to access and can be found in each unit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will tell you what to focus on in each resource, and will help you to understand how the learning materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also see a list of all the learning materials in this course by clicking on Resources in the navigation bar.


Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you may take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.


Tips for Success

PRDV304: Introduction to Supply Chain Management is a self-paced course, which means that you can decide when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or an assigned schedule to follow. We estimate that the "average" student will take 3 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so we've compiled a few study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories that you come across. This can help you put each concept into context, and will create a refresher that you can use as you study later on.
  • As you work through the materials, take some time to test yourself on what you remember and how well you understand the concepts. Reflecting on what you've learned is important for your long-term memory, and will make you more likely to retain information over time.


Suggested Prerequisites

In order to take this course, you should:


Technical Requirements

This course is delivered entirely online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one for free here. Although you can access some of the course without logging in to your account, you should log in to maximize your course experience. For example, you cannot take assessments or track your progress unless you are logged in.

For additional guidance, check out Saylor Academy's FAQ.



This course is entirely free to enroll in and to access. Everything linked in the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, and activities, is available for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

Last modified: Monday, July 12, 2021, 1:32 PM