Rethinking Supply Chains through Behavioral Science

Unlocking the Human Element: A Prelude to Dr. Michael Becker-Peth's Fireside Chat

Share on:

Understanding human behavior is not just important; it’s essential for the future of supply chain management. This perspective is championed by Dr. Michael Becker-Peth, an esteemed Associate Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Recognizing behavioral science as a “must” in rethinking the supply chain, Dr. Becker-Peth has carved out substantial insights that echo the urgency of integrating this field into supply chain management.

As we gear up for the online fireside chat , we are thrilled to announce that Dr. Becker-Peth will be joining us to take a deep dive into the pivotal role of Behavioral Operations Management in reshaping modern supply chains.


Why is understanding human behavior so crucial for the future of supply chain management?


In our tech-driven world, Dr. Becker-Peth emphasizes the indispensable role of understanding human behavior:

“Only by understanding human behavior can we truly enhance the system’s predictability and operational efficiency.”


The Connection Between Behavioral Science and Supply Chain

Dr. Becker-Peth passionately believes that the decisions made in the supply chain are profoundly influenced by human behavior. He says, “Humans have a significant impact on supply chain decision-making. Humans may have flaws, make mistakes, and hold misconceptions, yet they also provide value and intangible knowledge.

Despite technology and automation, Dr. Becker-Peth is convinced that humans are crucial in the supply chain “Humans and technology need to coexist, and to do that effectively, we must understand how humans behave in various contexts, their reactions to incentives, and their interactions with technology.”


“Humans and technology need to coexist”


While technology plays a crucial role in optimizing delivery routes and tracking packages, the human element is still essential in ensuring a positive customer experience. As an example, couriers and delivery personnel interact directly with customers, handling delicate situations like missed deliveries or damaged goods. Businesses that are effectively using technology and engage in staff empowerment and training deliver outstanding client service. This allows them to gain a competitive advantage in the e-commerce supply chain.

To improve supply chain outcomes, Dr. Becker-Peth encourages using the best of both worlds: human skill and technology, a topic that will further be discussed in the online Fireside Chat.


A Career’s Worth of Lessons

Navigating uncharted territory in emerging fields, like behavioral science within supply chains, demands an unwavering commitment to open-mindedness and forward progress. Dr. Becker-Peth stresses the importance of being receptive to diverse viewpoints and staying open to alternative approaches.

Dr. Becker-Peth underscores this with a note on the current


People are trying to model everything.”


This is often done through the implementation of optimizers. However, this can create a bubble, limiting people’s perspectives to what can be modeled within that bubble. “To evolve and advance in such uncharted territory, Dr. Becker-Peth urges individuals to explore beyond their expertise, embracing a holistic perspective that enriches their own views while acknowledging the uniqueness of others.

Dr. Becker-Peth’s career was punctuated by a pivotal moment when he met resistance and closed-mindedness from those around him. This experience crystallized the significance of fostering and being part of a support system.



He emphasizes the importance of not only seeking support for one’s innovative ideas but also providing support to others with creative and innovative approaches. In an evolving landscape, this collaborative and open-minded approach not only propels individual growth but also drives transformative change within the field.


Observing Behavioral Changes

Observing behavioral changes in a company, effectively, can occur gradually and subtly according to Dr. Becker-Peth. He points out, ” Usually, we see gradual changes in behavior and results. We often only see the effects of our activities, not our internal workings.”

While the challenge of seeing these changes persists, Dr. Becker-Peth believes that all management positions should be aware of potential behavioral factors that may affect decision-making. “We can holistically improve the old systems if we are aware of those behavioral factors and also open to change.”


A Pivotal Question

There is a pivotal question Dr. Becker-Peth aims to pose to you during the fireside chat on November 15th

Are you able to acknowledge potential biases in yourself and others?

This question was inspired by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. It encourages individuals to introspect and recognize their cognitive limitations.

 We are blind about our own blindness” – Kahneman

Dr. Becker-Peth affirms that “we need to understand that we are suboptimal. However, he also says that we need humans, we need us, and we need to understand us.”


The Power of Gamification and Experiential Learning in Behavioral Science

“I believe that experiencing something firsthand is a highly effective way to learn and grow.” – Dr. Michael Becker-Peth

Dr. Becker-Peth is an enthusiastic advocate of simulation games and hands-on learning in the classroom. Experiential learning offers a more profound understanding of complex concepts, particularly in supply chain management.

“I have found great value in conducting lab experimental games with my students to analyze behavior. This approach offers a rich understanding and presents a genuine opportunity to explore people’s actions and motivations.”


“Gamification is a strong tool to reach or add personal goals without really forcing or incentivizing the participants strongly.”


In addition to training, gamification offers powerful but simple tools: rewards and badges. These benefit both personal and organizational success nudging individuals toward desired behaviors “Enriching tasks with gamification elements is really a great way to learn. Gamification is a strong tool to reach or add personal goals without really forcing or incentivizing the participants strongly.”


Join the Conversation

Eager for more insights? Don’t miss Dr. Michael Becker-Peth’s deep dive into the connection between behavioral science and supply chains!

Reserve your online spot for free and discover a fresh perspective.


Share on: