In a recent workshop we explored maths and the links it has with supply chains and logistics. This is something that I had next to no prior knowledge about however I left the lecture feeling very informed on the topic.
A supply chain is the processes involved in the production or distribution of a product. Many companies use maths all the time in the process of supply chains. Particular examples we touched on in the workshop was the use of maths when shipping products. We discussed certain products in particular and the best way we think would be to transport them from place to place. It was this discussion that made me think just how many principles of mathematics are involved in processes like this. There are so many things to be taken into consideration such as the mass of the products, the shape, how many need to be transported and many other factors. Problem solving will also likely be involved since it is unlikely that the first method of which a product was transported was the best and most appropriate method that could have been used.
In the workshop we were given the opportunity to try out some demand planning. Demand planning is the process used to “forecast” customer behaviour and demand and helps an organisation know how much of, and what they need to order to enable them to meet customer wants and needs.
We were given templates in which we had to decide which things we thought we would need to order at certain times of year, we had to take into account what customers would want at the time of year given to ensure that we made a profit. By the end of the activity we had made a profit however many others in the group seemed to have made much more money than we did. Why? Because many people had the idea of bulk buying a product such as baked beans which are sure to sell all year round and do not go out of date quickly, this meant that any products they did have left over could be carried over onto the next time period and eventually all of the beans were gone!
This shows that companies use maths to keep them in business, they do the maths to ensure that they have the correct amount of the correct products in order to make a profit and keep the company alive.
I feel like this kind of activity would be excellent for a middle/upper stages class. This would give them the opportunity to feel responsible for their own little business while performing some basic principles of mathematics. I feel as though the children would really enjoy an activity of this type and again, it would be a way of engaging children who perhaps aren’t so confident with maths as a subject however may find it more accessible in a fun way like the above and working as part of a group.