Courses

MEM and OPIM Partner on Supply Chain Case Competition

Supply Chain Competition UConn

Last month, Management and Engineering for Manufacturing and Operations and Information Management partnered with Unilever to bring students a Supply Chain Case Competition. Eleven teams of three students each competed to develop a plan to resolve a mock supply chain issue for Unilever’s brand Lipton and their green tea product.

Students were given a challenge with some background information, and two weeks to develop a comprehensive plan to solve the problem. In this case, the problem was procuring an organic green tea from a new supplier in Vietnam as the first organic green tea in the Lipton product range, and operating in line with the company’s guiding principles of safety, quality and operating efficiency. Students were also given Unilever company values of improving health and well-being, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing livelihoods, as well as references to the company’s sustainable living goals. The plans they suggested had to factor in these sometimes competing goals as they prepared and presented their strategy. Data on supply chain and sourcing, green tea facts, as well as product consumption and demand were also given to the teams to take into consideration.

Teams made their presentations in front of a panel of judges including faculty from the School of Business, the School of Engineering, and Unilever supply chain representatives. After their presentations, the judges were able to ask them questions to further clarify and challenge the students’ ideas.

Luca Mastrogiacomo, junior and a Management Engineering for Manufacturing major, says he really appreciated the opportunity to see how supply chain problems look in real world settings. “It showed why supply chain is important because of how interconnected it is with all areas of a business and how a supplier relationship is so much more than just transactional,” he said. “It was very fulfilling to me to be able to actually apply what I’ve been learning in class to a real business problem.”

The case competition served as part of the Supply Chain Management course taught by Dr. Craig Calvert. Students in the supply chain course were required to participate and provide a report following it for the class, while additional students joined from other engineering and business school majors because they were eager to showcase their critical business skills and win coveted scholarships associated with the first, second and third place winning teams.

The breadth of majors found among team members was also beneficial. Students said they found extra value in working with other students on a team beyond their own major. “It was fun because I was able to do it with some of my friends from the supply chain class,” said Paige Lombardi, Management and Engineering for Manufacturing senior, “…since Chloe is an MIS major and Liz and I are MEM majors, we were able to see how the two different majors interpreted the case differently. The case study was beneficial to me because it allowed me to use the knowledge from my internship experience as well as what I have learned in my supply chain class with Professor Calvert this semester and apply it to a real-world case study.”

Top Three Teams

  • First place was awarded to Team Blue, a team consisting of Cara Tran, Biomedical Engineering senior; Prabhas KC, Economics senior; and Alexander Kim, Finance senior.
  • Second place was award to team Supply Chain Reign including Elizabeth Downey, MEM senior; Paige Lombardi, MEM senior; and Chloe Sainsbury, MIS senior.
  • Third place was awarded to Andrew Warshavsky, MIS senior; Luca Mastrogiacomo, MEM senior; and Jacob Patterson, MEM senior.

 

Supply Chain Management Course Offered for Fall 2021

For the last several years, in the Management and Engineering for Manufacturing program, more and more of our graduates are finding jobs related to supply chain management. With the evolving nature of manufacturing and industry in the United States, it’s really no wonder.

Supply chain management is defined as the process of managing the movement of goods and services from suppliers, as raw materials, and to end users, as finished goods, in an efficient and effective way. Careers in supply chain management can take the role of sourcing, negotiating, contracting, purchasing, logistics, product design and development, inventory control, distribution and more.

The world is getting smaller, but that doesn’t mean that managing the supply chain for manufacturers is getting any easier. In fact, while the world has become more and more accessible with parts of the supply chain traveling around the world in record time, we know it is necessary to produce graduates ready to enter manufacturing in this field, and to bring with them the skills and the creativity needed to expedite the segments of production and access to supplies.

That is why, Dr. Calvert, professor in the School of Business and the co-director of MEM, is developing a course for students interested in supply chain management as a career.

“This course will examine the supply chain from a practical perspective.” Calvert said. “Class time will focus on active discussions and case analysis over the lecture format.”

The topics, including sales, materials management, logistics, and transportation, and will include real-world examples from the professor’s own professional experience.

In addition, external experts such as former MEM and School of Business students, now employed at Unilever, will discuss how supply chain management is performed at their company. Other guest lecturers in the field will include an independent consultant with more than 30-years of experience in the field.

Supply Chain Management, OPIM 4895, will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 to 12:15 pm.

Supply chain management is an exciting business and engineering field, perfect for MEM students, as well as other engineering and business students as they consider the future of manufacturing leadership in the United States.

Flyer promoting Supply Chain Management Course OPIM 4895 (Fall 2021)