The competition was organized and hosted by the Eli Broad College of Business of Michigan State University. The students are Kyle Koenigsknecht, who studies operations management; Michael Hershfield and Jason Wilkie, whose emphasis is in distribution and logistics; and Paul Rahrig, a supply chain management major. They competed against teams from 11 universities, including Michigan State, Penn State, University of Kentucky, Miami University of Ohio and Ohio State.
“The team wanted to win because we knew that beating some of the most well-respected supply chain programs in the country would bring recognition to the quality of Grand Valley's supply chain program,” Wilkie said.
Koenigsknecht added: "Given the competition, it was a great opportunity to put our skills to the test and come out victorious."
The competition participants receive three hours of training in a simulation program developed at MSU involving a single manufacturing plant location serving the entire world. Decisions had to be made concerning which suppliers to use and what modes of transportation to use for inbound raw materials. Production had to be scheduled based on a demand forecast, and orders had to be filled involving transportation mode selection. The competitors were then presented with a more complex global logistics challenge to solve using this simulation program, and limited time in which to do it. The simulation package exposed the students to real-world supply chain challenges, requiring them to explore the interdependencies of a large number of variables and constraints.
The students were guided and advised by management professors Ashok Kumar and Jaideep Motwani and marketing professor Vivek Dalela.
"Some of the competing schools have the best-known supply chain management programs in the country," Motwani said. "This award — coupled with the fact that Grand Valley placed second in this competition last year — confirm the quality and rigor of Grand Valley’s Supply Chain Management program and establish it as one of the best supply chain programs in the country."
Professor Ashok Kumar added that "Participating in competitions with national scope helps Grand Valley earn recognition for its high-quality supply chain program. The competition is designed to remove all biases and predispositions that benefit other universities by virtue of a better name identification."
The competition was sponsored by Abbott Laboratories, The Dow Company, Ford Motor Company, John Deere, Norfolk-Southern, Northrop Grumman, Procter & Gamble, and Shell.