Students take second place at Supply Chain Challenge

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 A team of four Grand Valley State University students took second place at the 2011 Supply Chain Challenge held at Michigan State University April 7-8. Grand Valley placed first at the 2010 Supply Chain Challenge and second at the 2009 event.

Seidman College of Business students Greg Rotman, Anna Veldman, Alexandra VanderMoere and Allison Whipple, along with their advisors Ashok Kumar and Vivek Dalela, competed against 75 other participants from 16 universities around the state and country.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of our students,” said Jaideep Motwani, professor and chair of the Management Department in the Seidman College of Business. “We take a wholistic approach so our students learn all aspects of supply chain management. Their continued success in this competition and in the workplace, and the dedication of our faculty has solidified our program’s strong reputation nationally and internationally.”

The competition involved a supply chain simulation developed at MSU in cooperation with several major corporations including Chrysler, Dow Chemical, Flextronics, IBM and Motorola. Students were introduced to the simulation and had to decide which suppliers to use and what modes of transportation to use for inbound raw materials. Productions had to be scheduled based on a demand forecast and orders had to be filled involving transportation mode selection. Teams were measured on total revenue, order fulfillment, inventory turns and a profit figure.

“We only had three-and-a-half hours to work on the simulation and we used every minute of that time,” said Rotman. “We worked well as a team and trusted each other.” Veldman said the team felt prepared because of the real-world skills they already learned in classes.

VanderMoere said the simulation was like running a company. “We had to figure out every step from product to customer; we split into two teams with two of us handling supply and two handling demand,” she said. Whipple said the supply chain program at Grand Valley is unique. “We were familiar with the process placed before us because of the coursework and class projects and simulations that are required in our major. The program gives us the skills needed to win competitions like this and find jobs.”

Three of the four students graduated in April 2011 and have already found jobs. Veldman was hired as a buyer for Amphenol-Borisch in Kentwood, VanderMoere was hired as an inbound logistics coordinator for Irwin Seating in Grand Rapids, and Whipple was hired as a logistics coordinator for Chep in Orlando, Florida. Rotman is a senior at Grand Valley.

Teams from Ohio State University took first place and MSU took third place. Competing universities included Arkansas State University, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, University of Kentucky, University of Maryland, Miami (OH) University, Northeastern University, Ohio State University, Portland State University, Rutgers (State University of New Jersey), University of Texas, Texas Christian University, Towson State University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.