Tag: Critical Thinking



With more than ten thousand dollars at stake, student teams competed in the first-ever Project of the Year Symposium, hosted by The Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation (BCSCI), on May 17 at Washington University. The BCSCI symposium featured the top five corporate mini-consulting projects executed via our Center in the 2016-2017 academic year. The top prize, $5,500, for Best Project of the Year was awarded to the Emerson team. A second award, $3,000, was given to the Belden team for a project that demonstrated the greatest immediate business impact.  A third award. $2,000, was given to the Monsanto team for delivering the best presentation. All winning teams will be inducted into the Boeing Center Projects Hall of Fame.

Each student team had 15 minutes in front of a panel of judges composed of BCSCI advisory board members and representatives.

While all of our project teams (a total of 15 corporate projects) did an excellent job this year, these five demonstrated a particularly high level of execution, which set them apart. We are grateful to all of our member companies for providing us with interesting and challenging projects, and to all the students who worked on Boeing Center projects this year.

A special thanks goes out to our judges and board members in attendance: Greg Krekeler (Boeing), Mike Woerner (Edward Jones), Eric Carlson (Emerson), Marcelle Pires (Monsanto), Becky McDonough (Monsanto), and of course our own Sergio Chayet (WashU) and Panos Kouvelis (WashU & BCSCI Director). We look forward to developing more innovative supply chain solutions in the fall semester!

Representing this academic year’s projects in the competition were:

ABI student team: Serena Chen, Xinyue Du, Marcus Lei, Yanyan Li, and Cauthen Mordente.

Anheuser-Busch InBev  |  Fall 2016

The Anheuser-Busch InBev team’s project revolved around optimizing the inventory mix at distribution centers for some of ABI’s craft beer products. The need to achieve shipping efficiency by shipping full truckloads is a challenge when lower volume craft beers are involved. It is also important to maintain high service levels of performance when delivering to wholesalers.

The team utilized simulation models to support either the use of higher inventory levels at the distribution center, or shipping lower volume and higher volume beers on the same truck to achieve higher service levels for craft beers.

Belden  |  Spring 2017

Panos Kouvelis with Belden student team: Bonnie Bao, Michael Stein, Yuying Wang, and Yuyao Zhu.

The award for the “Greatest Immediate Business Impact,” with impressive overall cost savings to the company, was given to the Belden team.

The Belden team used the continuous review modeling approach, together with concepts of ABC analysis and market uncertainty, to identify opportunities for lowering costs and improving service levels at PPC, a Belden subsidiary in Syracuse, NY. The proposed decision support spreadsheet will be immediately implemented by the company, and will result in substantial savings. This project delivered the most immediate business impact.

Boeing  |  Spring 2017

Student team: Vineet Chauhan, Phil Goetz, Brian Liu, Sontaya Sherrell, and Fan Zhang.  

The Boeing team’s goal was to determine the most influential order and part characteristics affecting suppliers’ on-time delivery statistics of Boeing’s transactional spare parts business.

Emerson  |  Spring 2017

Student team: Kushal Chawla, Serena Chen, Kai Ji, Jeffrey Lantz, and Zoe Zhao, pictured at top of page.

The judges determined that the Emerson team had delivered the best overall project performance (problem solution, business impact, and presentation), and was declared “Project of the Year” winner.  The Emerson project team worked with ProTeam’s Richmond Hill facility to determine the optimal product mix, optimize inventory management of stock, and develop a data analysis model to facilitate future upkeep of the system. This was a well-executed project, with rigorous analysis and strong presentation by the team.

Monsanto  |  Spring 2017

Student team: Hai Cao, Yanyan Li, Ashwin Kumar, Jonathan Neff, Tom Siepman, and Xukun Zan.

Finally, the Monsanto team’s goal was to understand, define, and map out the credit processes within Monsanto. The audience enjoyed this team’s excellent presentation. The Monsanto team impressed the judges with the quality of its work and its exceptional presentation, and received the “Presentation Excellence” award.

Boeing Center Symposium photo gallery • click here

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

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A Boeing Center digital production

BCSCI

Supply Chain // Operational Excellence // Risk Management

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In order to reduce operational costs and maximize beer freshness, Anheuser-Busch InBev is constantly identifying new tracking technologies to help them stay on top of their shipments. Many carriers have their own digital portals showing the location and route of their trucks, but since ABI contracts with hundreds of different carriers, the time and complexity needed to manage shipment logistics requires a different solution.

As a result, they’ve developed an application that allows logistics managers to log into a single portal and see real-time tracking on all trucks.  Unlike other existing portals, ABI’s aggregates many different carriers’ data feeds in a single user interface. In addition to seeing where the trucks are, they can also see what routes they’ve taken to get there, the contents of each truck, and the estimated time of delivery. The application is available to wholesalers as well, allowing them to plan ahead for the unloading process.

Navigation in phone. Isolated 3D image

The technology also allows ABI to utilize a tracking technology called “geofencing.” As soon as a truck crosses these virtual fences, a sensor pings their distribution centers and lets them know its exact location and the time it arrived at that location. It also gives them insight into their operational efficiency (i.e., how quickly the trucks are being unloaded and turned around).

By using these technologies, ABI is able to have greater visibility of its supply chain on a granular level. They can then take this information to identify the most efficient carriers and negotiate rates.

In the video above, Dan Hazlett and Matt Gordon of ABI describe some of the innovative technologies they are employing to improve the visibility of their payloads. This is a highlight of their presentation at the 2016 Boeing Center Industry Conference at Washington University.

By Evan Dalton

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

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A Boeing Center digital production

BCSCI

Supply Chain // Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube


For Anheuser-Busch InBev, it’s difficult enough to manage the most efficient beer supply chain in the U.S. As they acquire an ever-growing number of craft breweries, the complexity of their distribution increases dramatically. But with extremely accurate production planning and time-tested transportation methods, the largest brewer in the world is able to spread the joy of delicious craft beer to the farthest corners of the earth.

Chris Pickett, Senior Director of Tier 1 Warehousing & Transportation, paid a visit to The Boeing Center to talk about his role in AB InBev’s operations. He shared insights on effectively integrating craft beers into a macro beer supply chain, as well as managing load complexity and shipment quantities across brands.

Product mix complexity is managed by AB InBev using three main strategies. First, they use rigid cycle production to maximize output for each SKU. Second, they plan pallets using optimized order quantity, which helps them to meet wholesaler demand using the fewest number of shipments. Third, they build pallets using proprietary technology in the warehouse environment, ensuring the most beneficial product stacking patterns. All of these techniques allow AB InBev to manage an efficient supply chain, while maintaining an extremely high service level for their craft beer offerings.

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

Supply Chain // Operational Excellence // Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube




A team of operations and supply chain management graduate students from Washington University’s Olin Business School came in second place at the regional finals of the Supply Chain Finance Community’s Global Student Challenge on Thursday, March 9. The competition, held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, was designed to promote awareness on the topic of supply chain finance and risk management.

“The Challenge engages participants to consider corporate strategy and business objectives and to manage cross-functional trade-offs in the value chain. Cross-functional understanding and collaboration are key components, as teams work together to turn their company around.” ~ globalstudentchallenge.org

The competition was based on a business simulation called The Cool Connection. According to the competition’s website, this simulation “provides insight in the complexities and inter-dependencies in supply chains operating under uncertain and volatile market conditions.”

The Olin team, composed of Xingxing Chen, Fasheng Xu, Yu Li, and Yunzhe Qiu, performed consistently well over multiple rounds, and stayed within reach of winning throughout the competition. Unfortunately, they were ultimately edged out in the final round of play. However, they placed ahead of strong competitors from Duke, USC, Maryland, and other top universities. They will find out in the coming weeks if they will advance to the global final to be held in the Netherlands in April.

On behalf of the Olin community, The Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation would like to congratulate the team on its excellent performance! All of them have sharpened their supply chain management skills through their participation in mini-consulting projects that BCSCI conducts with its member companies. Our students’ success at the Global Student Challenge serves as another validation of their capabilities.

By Evan Dalton

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

• • •

A Boeing Center digital production

Supply Chain // Operational Excellence // Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube




Our last day with The Women’s Bakery started off a little bit differently than the rest of our week in Rwanda. Instead of waking up and looking out over Kigali, we woke up to the sun rising over the hazy Congo, just barely visible across the beautiful Lake Kivu.

RELATED: Building bakeries and a new business model in Rwanda

Lake kivu

We made our way out to the Western Province the day before, climbing over a mile in altitude and watching the fauna become increasingly mountainous and green. This area of the country sees much more rain, which we learned first-hand in the village of Bumba while visiting one of three TWB bakeries in Rwanda. We experienced a massive downpour that came in quickly as we met with Ernest, a member of the cooperative that owns this particular bakery.

IMG_0555Ernest was one of the many people that we met throughout the week who is involved with The Women’s Bakery at all levels of the value chain. In addition to Ernest, we met with three other field partners, both men and women, who are helping to run their bakeries with their co-ops. We also had the chance to meet with and watch the women themselves in action.

In addition to visiting the bakeries, we were able to meet with partners of TWB. Atikus is a microfinancier who is working to make loans available to the women who go through the training program. And SMGF is a firm that is taking steps to become a hiring partner that will invest in building a bakery in the future. And finally, we spent a lot of time with the TWB team themselves, trying to figure out how to best help them.

IMG_0571As we met with all of these people throughout the week, we regrouped whenever and wherever we could as a team to unpack everything we had been hearing. These ad hoc meetings happened at restaurants, in our hotel, and in the car as we moved around the country. And now our task, as we sat in the lodge overlooking the water, was to bring all of the information together and figure out how to move forward.

We sketched out possible solutions to multiple challenges and debated the merits of each. We did a brainstorming exercise that was used in creating Apple products and addressing the financial crisis to bring out issues we may have missed. And when all was said and done, we were ready to present our preliminary thoughts and plans for the rest of the semester to the TWB team. It had been a long and tiring week, much of it spent in very close quarters, but it was all worth it to see the enthusiasm on the TWB team’s faces as we presented and celebrated over one final dinner.

Guest blogger: Erin Ilic, MBA ’17 

Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) is committed to creating innovative learning opportunities that result in meaningful impact in the business and nonprofit communities.