© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: This research is about embedding service-based supply chain management (SCM) concepts in the education sector. Due to Canada's competitive education sector, the authors focus on Canadian universities. Design/methodology/approach: The authors develop a framework for evaluating and forecasting university performance using data envelopment analysis (DEA) and artificial neural networks (ANNs) to assist education policymakers. The application of the proposed framework is illustrated based on information from 16 Canadian universities and by investigating their teaching and research performance. Findings: The major findings are (1) applying the service SCM concept to develop a performance evaluation and prediction framework, (2) demonstrating the application of DEA-ANN for computing and predicting the efficiency of service SCM in Canadian universities, and (3) generating insights to enable universities to improve their research and teaching performances considering critical inputs and outputs. Research limitations/implications: This paper presents a new framework for universities' performance assessment and performance prediction. DEA and ANN are integrated to aid decision-makers in evaluating the performances of universities. Practical implications: The findings suggest that higher education policymakers should monitor attrition rates at graduate and undergraduate levels and provide financial support to facilitate research and concentrate on Ph.D. programs. Additionally, the sensitivity analysis indicates that selecting inputs and outputs is critical in determining university rankings. Originality/value: This research proposes a new integrated DEA and ANN framework to assess and forecast future teaching and research efficiencies applying the service supply chain concept. The findings offer policymakers insights such as paying close attention to the attrition rates of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. In addition, prioritizing internal research support and concentrating on Ph.D. programs is recommended.