This course, as its title implies, is about discussing and highlighting those control mechanisms and principles through which operational activities and thus the performance of an organization (engaged either in manufacturing or in service) and its supply chain can be improved. Generally speaking, there are two major impediments to operational performance (e.g., throughput): variability (both in the form of inter-arrival variability and process variability) and batching. In supply chains, coordination is the key; eliminating the bullwhip effect and avoiding double marginalization through contracts can help to achieve this goal. The goal of this course is to show—in a supply chain setting—the importance and improvement possibilities of operations control in variability reduction and coordination by reinforcing basic principles and explore why systems or supply chains behave the way they do. This course is about “understanding” supply chain management through highlighting the principles at work. The ultimate goal of the course is to convey replicable findings that may serve as basis for actionable managerial advice.

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