A group of logistics students from Germany brought back more than postcards, key chains, and T-shirts from their recent visit to the United States. The five graduate students from Darmstadt University of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany, also took home the top prize in the FedEx Freight International Graduate Logistics Case Competition, held at the University of Arkansas's Supply Chain Management Research Center in February. Teams from Iowa State and the University of Minnesota finished in second and third place.
This year's teams competed as supply chain business consultants, called in to create a crisis-management plan for the executive team of a major corporation. The case was set in the immediate aftermath of a 1988 scientific report that presented proof that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) contributed to the hole in the earth's ozone layer. The company directors had made the decision to withdraw all chlorofluorocarbon products faster than required by the Environmental Protection Agency. The students were given 24 hours to review the case and prepare their recommendations to create a supply chain plan for the worldwide phase-out, recall, and replacement of all products containing refrigerants, solvents, and propellants in the 10-year time period mandated by the board of directors.
"The supply-chain solutions offered by this year's teams were thought-provoking and showed that these graduate students have top-notch analytical skills," says Pat Reed, executive vice president and chief operating officer of FedEx Freight, which sponsored the event. "It's heartening to know that this caliber of student is in the pipeline for the transportation industry."