Learning the principles of supply chain management in an academic setting is one thing. Applying what you've learned to a real-life problem is another thing altogether. Students from over 100 colleges across the country recently got a chance to test their problem-solving skills as part of the RedPrairie Supply Chain Challenge. Organized as part of the annual Avnet Tech Games technology competition, the contest required student teams to manage a virtual supply chain involving manufacturing, distribution, and forecasting from start to finish.
The RedPrairie Supply Chain Challenge was based on a customized Web-based version of the Littlefield Technologies game from Responsive Technologies. Students were challenged to manage a make-to-order factory and make forecasting, capacity, and inventory and pricing decisions. Contestants were judged on their ability to maximize profits by managing the assets (inventory, equipment, and cash) within the factory.
The winning four-person team hailed from the University of California - San Diego's Rady School of Management. The keys to their success, the team members said, were effective automation, efficient manufacturing, lean inventory levels, and precise calculation.
The Avnet Tech Games, hosted each April at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Ariz., is an annual competition that gives students an opportunity to apply what they learn in school to real-world scenarios and compete for scholarships. The Games include an onsite competition, a one-day event open to Arizona college students, as well as the virtual games, which are open to college students nationwide.