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MGT3104 Optimisation of Supply Chains

Semester 1, 2019 Online
Short Description: Optimisation of Supply Chains
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Management and Enterprise
Student contribution band : Band 3
ASCED code : 089901 - Purchasing, Warehousing and Di
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Joe Zhou

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at


In contemporary supply chains, it is important as much as possible to remove the subjectivity related to planning. In seeking to reduce the costs within and across the supply chain, managers want to maximise gross margin by minimising transportation, manufacturing, inventory costs, including transportation and distribution costs, so that products are delivered to buyers or end-users at the highest possible profit. The word ‘optimisation’ means maximising or extracting the most profit possible in a supply chain system. To do this, managers now need skills in being able to forecast inventory demand, statistical trending, and applying ‘best fit’ models to historical and future data. This means manufacturers and suppliers will be able to forecast demand as accurately as possible and then make and distribute products to meet these forecasts. For instance, manufacturers are interested in knowing which products to make and how much stock to carry. Similarly, in very large firms such as Aldi and Costco with multiple distributions centres, they want to know which centre will be selling what products, when to restock and what transportation options exist to deliver products to markets. Given the range of forecasting requirements and technical access to large data bases, contemporary managers need to know how to apply this to specific product bundles such as milk and frozen cheese in a food distribution chain to furniture ranges in a retailing chain with different stores. This course will equip students with key problem-solving skills related to how to increase profit and reduce costs within a supply chain network by optimising value.


The course will cover the main concepts of optimising profit and minimising costs in a supply chain network. Forecasting techniques related to managing inventory and distributing products requires important forecasting skills. Hence, students will be able to apply these skills to real-life case studies while at the same time, acquire specific knowledge pertaining to optimisation problems and how solutions are contained in bounded spaces/areas such as those found within a warehouse or factory. This solution space can be represented diagrammatically using two dimensional graphing methods. Students will learn how to apply forecasting techniques for maximising profitability and productivity, maximising space utilisation or minimising costs, losses and wastage. The course illustrates how linear programming and graphical methods can be applied to in optimisation problems. Students will also acquire skills and knowledge about the shortest route calculations and total throughput minimisation. Students will also learn how to apply the general concept of sensitivity analysis in optimisation problems.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. explain the general concepts of optimisation including quantitative and heuristic approaches in modelling supply chain problems
  2. acquire knowledge of the application of selected quantitative managerial tools to scheduling, location, layout problems by using a variety of problem-solving skills and tools such as assignment method
  3. apply selected quantitative managerial tools to scheduling by application of sequencing rules such as Johnson's rule
  4. illustrate how selected quantitative managerial tools of queuing modelling and simulations related to linear programming can be used to maximise and minimize cost problems
  5. develop and review solutions related to linear programming problems through the use of the graphical method and how to apply different solutions using “what if” analysis.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Modelling using quantitative and heuristic approaches 10.00
2. Scheduling and resource allocation 10.00
3. Applications of scheduling 20.00
4. Linear programming 40.00
5. Introduction to queuing modelling 10.00
6. Introduction to simulation. 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Heizer, J Render, B 2017, Operations management sustainability and supply chain management, 12th Global edn, Pearson Education, Boston, Massachusetts.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Lectures or Workshops 36.00
Private Study 89.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ONLINE QUIZ 10 10 25 Mar 2019
PROJECT 30 30 27 May 2019
EXAMINATION 60 60 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. This is a restricted examination. The total working time for the examination is 2 hours. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the examination for this course are:
    1. writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination)
    2. calculators which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination).

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at