Haworth College of Business News

WMU places fifth at Supply Chain Challenge

A team of four WMU students took fifth place, placing in the top three in two of four categories, in the Undergraduate Supply Chain Challenge held in Lansing, Mich. The WMU team competed against 15 other teams.

The team of Joseph Cronk of Vicksburg, Mich., Dylan Green of Livonia, Mich., David Lipowski of Mattawan, Mich., and Erik Markstrom of Northville, Mich., competed against teams in the fourth annual competition held in mid-March. Hosted by Michigan State University, the challenge involved a supply chain simulation—the Supply Chain Operations Decision Environment (SCODE)—which was developed at the MSU Broad College of Business in cooperation with several major corporations including Chrysler, Dow Chemical, Flextronics, IBM and Motorola.

The team received its top three scores in percent of demand satisfied and supply chain contribution–the combination of the percent of demand satisfied and efficiency and low-cost in filling that demand.

“Initially, the student in me was excited about competing with other schools and sizing ourselves up to other students,” says Markstrom. “After we went through even the first few functions of the competition, the intrinsic motivations of learning different aspects of purchasing and strategy were really what justified our efforts.”

“Everyone on the team was honored to represent WMU’s Integrated Supply Management program at the competition. In addition to our team’s prior work experience, the accomplishment was a direct result of the education we have received from knowledgeable professors at WMU,” says Cronk. “Dr. Sime Curkovic and Dr. Bret Wagner, both professors of management, go above and beyond, to ensure our graduates have the tools to become leaders in supply chain roles.”

Students were introduced to the SCODE simulation through an overview and “training” scenario involving a manufacturing plant location serving the world. Decisions had to be made regarding suppliers and modes of transportation for inbound raw materials. Production had to be scheduled based on a demand forecast, and orders had to be filled involving transportation mode selection.

The actual competition was more complex as it involved two plant locations and two products which complicated the scenario. Additional consideration included capacity requirements and sourcing strategies. Teams were measured on total revenue, order fulfillment, inventory turns and a profit figure MSU calls “supply chain contribution.”

“The students had to balance all the external factors involved, from environmental variables to selection of a global operations strategy and making week-to-week operating decisions for the firm,” says Curkovic, who is the team’s advisor.

In addition to WMU, undergraduate teams from around the country participated from the following colleges: Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, University of Dayton, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Marquette University, University of North Florida, Northeastern University, Ohio State University, Portland State University, Rutgers University, University of Texas and Wayne State University.