Introduction to Business Strategy and Supply Chain Management

First Year Module

In their attempts to achieve superior profitability for their firms, managers need to consider two key tasks. First, firms need to be positioned within business networks, matching their internal capabilities with external market opportunities, to maximise the revenue flowing into the organisation.  Second, firms need to be organised and managed to ensure that as little of that revenue as possible flows out of the organisation and into the pockets of suppliers.

This module focuses primarily on the second of these tasks, while linking it to the first. After briefly touching on the network positioning issue, the module discusses the factors associated with the boundary of the firm decision.

The module then examines in detail the core concepts and practices of supplier management. Particular attention is given to the impact of buyer-supplier power relations on the management practices of supplier selection, relationship management and the coordination of an extended chain of suppliers.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Explain the concept of a business network and indicate its significance to business management
  • Evaluate the factors driving firm positioning and boundary of the firm decisions within a business network context
  • Understand and articulate the key concepts relevant to the effective management of suppliers
  • Explain a number of key decisions and activities associated with managing suppliers, both in the firm’s immediate supply base and in extended business networks
  • Apply the conceptual underpinnings of the module to concrete case examples