KNOXVILLE—A team of supply chain students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has won a national professional organization’s case competition.
The team took first place in the sixth annual Intermodal Association of North America Logistics and Supply Chain Management Case Competition, which was hosted by the University of North Florida this spring. Team members were seniors Corey Patton of Nashville, Tennessee, and Xiaofan Wang of China, and Global Leadership Scholar juniors Heidi Faust of Johnson City, Tennessee, and Andrew Currey of Collierville, Tennessee.
UT competed against seven other major logistics and supply chain schools: Michigan State University, the University of North Texas, Auburn University, the University of Maryland, Georgia Southern University, the University of North Florida and the University of Arkansas.
Judges were senior executives from several global intermodal companies.
The 2014 case involved a total cost analysis of a global supply chain in which a mix of products were being shipped out of Southeast Asia to a retail distribution center in the Midwest. Students worked with products of different sizes and weights, calculated the best container configurations given the demand patterns for the products, and determined modal choices and routes. They took into account supply disruptions such as port strikes and other events that could delay delivery of the goods to market.
“What set the UT team apart from the other teams was its ability to not only address the quantitative tactical decisions that needed to be made, but to address the problem at a more strategic level,” said Diane Mollenkopf, McCormick Professor in Supply Chain Management and one of the team’s two coaches. “This is a hallmark of the UT curriculum—providing technical tools to students while teaching them to also think strategically.”
The team started working with their coaches in January by practicing case analyses and developing presentation skills for the competition. One week prior to the competition, each team received the case. From then on, they were not allowed to have any faculty input to develop their case solution. When they arrived in Jacksonville in early April, students received additional questions they had to answer for the next day’s competition. They had less than 12 hours to update and revise their presentation with the additional information required.
“The team dedicated a tremendous amount of time and hard work to the competition, and it really paid off,” said John Bell, assistant professor of supply chain management and the team’s other coach. “The judges told both Diane and me how incredibly impressed they were with our team. Our students are great ambassadors for the Supply Chain Management program at Tennessee.”
UT has won the event once before and was a runner-up once.