Exploring Project Management in Supply Chain

Ted Klastorin in the project management in supply chain class

Project management in supply chain, and in the business world at large, is a topic that has become very popular over the years. Skills in organization, risk management, and projections are critical for today’s workforce demands. It is a focal point of the development of Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) students at the University of Washington. Students in Professor Ted Klastorin’s fall course, Managing Supply Chain Projects, dive into popular project management frameworks and tools needed to manage project risk and organization.  

Laying the Foundation 

Part of what this course builds on is a foundation established in the summer quarter where students brush up on statistics, financial concepts and budgeting models. Students encounter various project management frameworks and tools that are currently out in the field, while also taking into account the fundamentals of financial viability and risk management. “The course felt like a really well designed class,” shares current MSCM student, Shannon Awes. “Professor Klastorin, or Ted as we call him, does a great job of building in skills we have already learned. Throughout the quarter, we drew on math we learned in Probability and Statistics, techniques we learned in Spreadsheet Modeling and financial concepts we learned in Finance and Accounting. It was great to apply these concepts to something so tangible.”  

Pushing the Boundaries of Project Management in Supply Chain

Professor Klastorin has spent a lot of time thinking about project management and its impact on business. “A great deal of work in industry is organized as projects. Projects allow companies to develop new products and processes in a timely manner so that they can compete successfully in the marketplace,” he says. “Empirical studies show consistently that less than one third of all projects are successful.” The details that make or break a process of project management are part of the reason why Professor Klastorin enjoys teaching this course. “I am excited to teach a course that can significantly improve the chances that your project (and ultimately your company) will succeed and offers concepts and tools that students can apply immediately,” he shares.  

As a faculty member at the University of Washington since 1974, Professor Klastorin’s work has primarily focused on operations management, project management, operations research, manufacturing management, and supply chain management. He has many publications including a highly regarded paper on project management he co-wrote with a former PhD student titled, “An Effective Methodology for the Stochastic Project Compression Problem.” The paper introduces a new way of allocating resources and prioritizing tasks in order to complete a project faster, while maintaining low costs. In addition to various paper publications, Professor Klastorin is in the midst of publishing, Managing Complex Projects: A Risk Management Approach, a book he is already using as a supplement for his Managing Supply Chain Projects course. 

Honing In on the Details 

Without a doubt, Professor Klastorin’s expertise and passion for this subject has made an impact on students. Shannon gave one such example, “Ted’s kept it real with us about what we should stay focused on versus what’s in vogue or popular in the workplace. A lot of discussions we had [in the classroom] about Microsoft project or agile project management, were that in the workplace it can be easy to build a project around the methodology rather than choosing the correct methodology for the type of project you’re doing. He doesn’t hold back on sharing his opinion of the tools and practices out there. That type of candor is really beneficial to us as students.” The course is broken up into seven classes with deliverables such as case studies and problem sets where students get to work out their own project management solutions for scenarios with listed limitations on budgets, discount rates, timelines, etc. These are factors critical to any future project in supply chain management.  

The repeated discussions on managing risk and review of details that led to the demise of projects are just a couple of the things students will take away from this class. The deeper level of examination of processes and approach to solutions is the bigger takeaway that students are excited about experiencing in this project management in supply chain projects course.  

Would you like to see more supply chain management courses? Visit our website to learn about the skills you can gain with a Master of Supply Chain Management at UW.  

Written by Olga Jimenez
MSCM Content Strategy Writer
[email protected]