(l-r): Amanda Harrold, Xinze Li, Shaeed McLeod, and Nick Ziter

A team comprised of students from the Lally School of Management and the School of Engineering recently brought home the top honor from the 2018 APICS Case Competition regional held in Parsippany, New Jersey. Sponsored by APICS, the professional association for supply chain management, and Deloitte, the industry-leading professional services firm, the competition aims to promote skills necessary for the supply chain profession.

More than 200 teams from around the world entered the competition, and seven regional winners will compete at the finals this September in Chicago. The competition was held in seven cities on the same day (Toronto, Atlanta, Chicago, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Parsippany, and Costa Mesa).

“The APICS Case Competition advances the supply chain profession by promoting supply chain and logistics knowledge among students,” said APICS CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE. “On behalf of APICS and Deloitte, we are excited to showcase and support these talented students, who will shape the future of the profession.”

Teams consisting of undergraduate and graduate students presented original solutions to a supply chain management problem, which involved challenging elements from across the supply chain skillset, including distribution, logistics, planning, inventory management, and more.

Winners were selected for their exemplary real-world case solving skills and their excellent grasp of end-to-end supply chain principles, according to APICS. The winning Rensselaer team included Nick Ziter, Shaeed McLeod, Amanda Harrold, and Xinze Li.

The teams were given a case study about a manufacturer of economical washer-dryer units headquartered in Mexico. The units are known for their ease of use and product quality in the North and South American markets. Seeking to grow its business, the company ventured into the Brazilian market in the previous quarter. However, the company has since struggled to ramp up production to meet demand and is evaluating options for a successful market expansion and growth strategy in Brazil.

“The number of entries in the first round was quite high,” said T. Ravichandran, the Irene & Robert ’55 Bozzone Distinguished Professor of Management and Technology and associate dean for research in the Lally School. “From this they picked eight teams in each region to compete in the regionals. The competition was stiff and it is a testimony to our students’ ability that they came out with flying colors. In fact, our graduate students have done quite well in this competition in the past—RPI placed second last year and third a couple of years back.” Ravichandran and Hakan Hekimoglu, assistant professor in the Lally School of Management, coached the team for this competition.

“We look forward to seeing all of this year’s participants begin impactful careers in supply chain management,” said Doug Gish, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and supply chain and manufacturing operations service line leader. “This collaboration with APICS came about as a result of both organizations’ desire to hone this field’s future leaders. It’s encouraging to see motivated students with the strategic skills and knowledge needed to manage next-generation supply chains.”

To see the full list of winners, go to http://www.apics.org/about/overview/apics-news-detail/2018/03/01/regional-winners-2018-apics-case-competition