Each year, The Boeing Company holds its Northwest Case Competition, in which student teams from universities around the Pacific Northwest are challenged to generate innovative solutions to a “real-world” scenario focusing on Supply Chain, Lean Manufacturing, and Finance.
The fierce competition this school year included student teams from Central Washington University, Western Washington University, Portland State University, and the University of Washington. Each school held preliminary rounds in the middle of fall quarter, then sent their best team to compete with the other Northwest schools in the final round held at the Museum of Flight on November 15, 2019.
Ultimately, the team from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business came out on top, making history as the first UW team to ever win the competition.
The Boeing Company
As the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space, and security systems, The Boeing Company strives for innovation. The company invests more than $3 billion each year in research and development as it operates in an increasingly competitive market. Boeing’s mission is to “connect, protect, explore, and inspire the world through aerospace innovation.”
The primary goals of Boeing’s Northwest Case Competition are twofold: to offer an opportunity for students to apply their business knowledge in a team environment to solve industrial problems they may encounter in the real world, and to foster the relationship between Boeing and the universities.
The 2019 Northwest Case Competition
This school year, the participating teams were informed that Boeing is heavily considering expanding into the autonomous air taxi (AAT) market. They were challenged to develop a strategy for Boeing to take the competitive advantage as the first company to successfully, safely, and effectively deliver the first fleet of autonomous air taxis in the world.
Some of the specific deliverables included developing a supplier sourcing strategy, master phasing plan (MPP), build plan, and funding strategy for the program. The students not only created the design and features of the aircraft, but were also asked about the government and legal obstacles that Boeing would have to overcome for the program to be a success.
The teams had twenty minutes to present their recommendations and supporting research to a panel of Boeing judges, followed by ten minutes of questions.
In the end, it was SWOT Team 3 – Everett Buck, Jennifer Chen, Benjamin de Lacy, Indri Saskiaputri, and Peony Situ – who came out victorious. The team was proud to take home not only a large monetary award and guaranteed interviews with Boeing Global Staffing or the Boeing Business Intern Program, but also bragging rights as the University of Washington’s first winning team in the history of the competition.