A team of students representing Miami University were chosen as the winners of the second annual GM/Wayne State University Supply Chain competition, held at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit this past weekend. The event featured presentations by teams from 16 universities that were based on automotive supply chain challenges written and judged by companies supporting the event, including General Motors, Delphi, Lear, Bridgestone, Ryder and the AIAG.
The competition was structured into two rounds of presentations. All 16 universities were given details of a case several weeks in advance of the conference. They were split into four regional divisions to present their cases to panels of judges made up of supply chain and logistics executives. Four regional winners were selected after the first day and given a new case in which they had only one night to analyse and present their recommendations the next morning.
Although there were effectively no wrong answers, the judges revealed that logistics and inventory considerations should have played a significant part in the students’ considerations. Another judge and case author, Jeff Kosloski, Ryder’s group director for customer logistics, pointed out that, in the case of the Lear seat factories, the extra 100 miles in transport should have been viewed as critical.
The final case, presented to the four semi-finalists, was less specific and data driven than the first, and depended more on students’ own risk assessments. It stated that Delphi’s factories for numerous components to the Malibu, including wiring and instrument panel harnesses, are single sourced from different locations in Mexico. Considering that there have been “supply chain disruptions” in the country, students were asked to consider the risks, advantages and disadvantages of this supply chain, as well as to give recommendations for the Mexican-made production. The potential for engineering changes of each product was given, as well as pallet quantities, dual tooling investment costs and weights per commodity.