February 8, 2021

2021 Challenge Summaries

Student teams will address one of the sponsor-submitted challenges summarized below. Full challenge statements will be presented to registered teams on March 19, 2021; teams will have an opportunity to ask questions of sponsors after selecting a challenge to address.

Challenge Sponsor: Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

A global biopharma company seeks to improve the quality and safety of its products. Students will review complaint data and suggest improvements to improve traceability of product complaints and supply chain visibility across raw material sourcing, manufacturing and quality to ultimately improve patient service and to remain compliant with existing and future FDA regulations.
KEYWORDS: biopharma, supply chain visibility, traceability, customer-centric, product quality, agility, serialization

Challenge Sponsor: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Challenge #1: Benjamin Moore has 2000+ formulations and approximately 6000+ SKUs that are produced at 5 manufacturing plants in the US. Students shall develop a production plan that minimizes total cost and time to manufacture while optimizing inventory turnover. Analysis and simulations shall also address current and future capacity at various run rates and examine the resiliency of manufacturing under various business continuity/disaster recovery scenarios. 
KEYWORDS: production planning, inventory management, capacity planning, optimization, SC risk management, what-if scenarios

Challenge Sponsor: Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Challenge #2 Benjamin Moore offers 1-day service level to 7200+ retail channel customers and pays transportation costs for most deliveries. Students shall analyze transportation fleet / load capacity for given demand to determine a tiered service level structure that minimizes total shipping costs from 17 DC/MPs to customer outlets. Sensitivity models will analyze a combination of distances, volumes, shipping costs, fleet capacity, customer discount rates, and include other strategies such as Minimum Order Quantity and Order Frequency.
KEYWORDS: transportation planning, optimization, sensitivity analysis, inventory planning

Challenge Sponsor: New Balance

New Balance experienced a significant increase in ecommerce single pair shipments in 2020 as a result of the pandemic that has created opportunities for new and improved packaging.  Most single-item direct-to-consumer packages are double packaged or overpacked which creates waste and increases costs.  New Balance is developing a ‘shippable shoe box’ that not only works for ecommerce, but is also retail friendly, similar to our existing shoe box lineup. 

Student teams will identify a Shippable Shoe Box Structure(s) / Solution(s) for a 1-Piece shippable box that addresses the needs of Manufacturing, (durable, easy to assemble and pack) Marketing (retail friendly), and that represents a Sustainable Solution (less material usage, sustainable materials). The solution needs to work for all factory locations and distribution centers throughout the world. (The size of NB footwear boxes is based on the specific consumer needs with multiple size adult shoe boxes and multiple size kids shoe boxes – so a one-size fits all solution would likely not apply in this scenario.)  

Additional considerations include the anticipated increase in direct-to-consumer shipments in various markets, a breakeven analysis and the impact on retailers, inventory and labeling.
KEYWORDS: retail, ecommerce, distribution, packaging, sustainability, inventory, visibility, efficiency

Challenge Sponsor: Girotti Supply Chain Consulting

There is a potential sea change to TL transportation operations on the horizon with the introduction of autonomous vehicles (AV). All the major truck manufacturers have announced plans to release varying levels of automated vehicles in the coming years. When, or maybe if, autonomous trucks come to be technically, socially, and politically viable, it could have a profound impact on the design and operation of corporate supply chains. Students will research the available data on the development and deployment plans for AVs and produce a scenario plan of how and when their impacts are likely to be felt by supply chain professionals. They will also develop action plans for how a typical TL dependent supply chain should prepare for the introduction of AVs and the effect on supply chain infrastructure, inventory management, demand planning and transportation operations.
KEYWORDS: transportation, autonomous vehicles, scenario planning, inventory, infrastructure