Teaching distribution planning: a problem-based learning approach

Alex Grasas, Helena Ramalhinho
2016 International Journal of Logistics Management  
Purpose -The aim of this paper is to present a problem-based learning (PBL) activity that uses a decision support system (DSS) to teach one of the most fundamental topics in distribution planning: vehicle routing. Design/methodology/approach -The authors describe their teaching experience in a Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) course. In the PBL activity proposed, students need to solve a typical vehicle routing case with no previous theoretical background taught. The paper is
more » ... as a teaching guide for other instructors, detailing how the activity may be carried out in class. Findings -The PBL activity involved students from the very beginning, challenging them to solve a rather complicated problem. Its acceptance was very positive according to the students' feedback survey conducted after the activity. Only when struggling with the difficulties of the case proposed, students really appreciated the potential value of DSS to make better decisions. Moreover, this activity raised concern about how DSS must be adapted for implementation in every particular business scenario. Originality/value -Teaching Logistics Management goes beyond lecturing on elemental concepts and tools, it is also about applying this knowledge to manage things. Although several PBL initiatives have been reported successful in the field of LSCM, this one incorporates a web-based DSS. The main issue in PBL activities is finding authentic and representative problems to develop transferable skills, and nowadays most logistics problems are solved using DSS.
doi:10.1108/ijlm-05-2014-0075 fatcat:ignhwacmnjbtfdiqrq2y6hyyse