Supply learning is a term introduced by Brian Tomlin in 2008/09. Supply learning answers a key question for customers – “Will a company be able to meet orders in the future?”. A prediction is made based on information on how well the company has performed in meeting order deadlines in the past.
In effect supply learning is a process wherein a customer uses past supplier performance information to predict future supplier performance. A good performance report increases the chances of a customer ordering more from that supplier in the future. Supply learning impacts both sourcing and inventory strategies of a firm and helps in framing an optimal operating policy.