For the second year in a row, a team from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business has won the Boeing Northwest Business Case Competition, which is an annual event that asks students from universities across the region to generate innovative solutions to a “real-world” scenario focusing on Supply Chain, Lean Manufacturing and Finance.
The stellar team of Medha Sindiri, Samuel Kuo, Christopher Lam, Stephanie Pao and Ryan Jung, took home 1st place, and a team prize of $3,500, when they presented their recommendation on how to mitigate a large-scale disruption to Boeing’s regional supply chain in East Asia after a Japanese volcanic eruption.
During a time where midterms required a lot of their attention, these resilient and determined students spent many hours coming up with the ideal solution, ultimately recommending a three-phase plan: 1) Optimize aftermarket parts from Japan and implement Humanitarian Delivery Flight Program, 2) Create strategic alliances in Singapore and the U.S. for manufacturing, 3) Implement Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) and Geographic Analytics. Their research, analysis, detailed financials, and of course, teamwork and presentation skills, paid off when they went home victorious.
I asked the team what their biggest takeaways were from the experience. Below I have included some excerpts!
“This case competition was a great opportunity to learn about using business skills in a real-world situation. Additionally, it was wonderful to get feedback from professionals who are actually working in the field. Furthermore, this case competition allowed our team to grow our presentation, research, and analysis skills. My biggest takeaway from this experience was the difficulty of answering real-world problems. Although the case was only 4 pages along, it took our team around 40 hours to come up with a solution. This experience highlighted the importance of taking time to research and analyze information before creating a recommendation.“
“I definitely had to practice time management and budgeting my resources in order to stay on top of everything.I have Operations and Supply Chain Management declared as one of my concentrations, but I haven’t really taken upper-division OSCM classes yet. This case comp showed me a real-life view of how supply chain affects and is affected by business in the real world. With such a large company such as Boeing, supply chain management is by far one of the most important aspects to running an international aerospace company. This competition has pushed me to look forward to taking future Foster OSCM classes!”
“This case competition has definitely expanded my understanding of what supply chain is. Additionally, it has helped me strengthen my soft skills of presenting and engaging with a virtual audience that I know I can bring into my career ahead. As this is my first case competition, I was nervous about performing well for the presentation, but also being able to bring “useful” ideas to our team. What I have learned is that a supportive team will always be open to listening, whether or not it is a bad idea.”
“I definitely learned a lot more about the supply chain process. I also learned how to work better in a group of people I have never worked with before. The biggest takeaway was how much more I know about supply chain and inventory management from all the research our team had to do.”
“Participating in the Boeing Business Case Competition has revealed a lot about supply chain and the different factors that influence it. However, more importantly, I think this case showed me how to effectively work in a team. The research process and the ideation of our plan definitely could not have been done without my teammates. My biggest takeaway from this experience is that creativity and different perspectives can play an instrumental role to the success of a project. I would not have been able to come up with the ideas that we did without the help of my teammates. The collaboration that is involved in this project demonstrated the work that is often done by people in real companies.”