With their environmentally friendly and profitable solutions for how retail store chain Walmart can manage delivery of bottled water, Chalmers students brought home first prize in an international case competition in logistics and Supply Chain Management. Apart from the prestige and an expanded network with professionals in the industry, the students will share 3,000 dollars in prize money amongst themselves.
The Sam M. Walton College of Business, along with the Walmart chain of retail stores, arranged the competition with several teams from the United States, Sweden, and Germany. For three days the students wrestled with task of advising Walmart on how they should manage deliveries of bottled water, a product sold in large volumes and which at the same time has a major negative impact on the environment. To get a better understanding and form an idea of how the delivery chain can be improved, the team got to ask questions of Nestlé, the water supplier, a distribution centre, and a Walmart store where the water is sold to consumers. After the precise case had been presented the students had 24 hours to work on the solution before facing the jury.
Sustainable solution was to the jury’s taste
The Swedish team, consisting of Vlad Månsson, Sixten Sidfelt, Emma Grönlund, Hanna Ålgårdh, Saamet Ekici and Carolina Ståhlberg, put their full effort into an environmentally friendly solution that at the same time contributed to increased profitability for Walmart. The solution is based on improving the company’s forecasting work, changing the distribution structure, and creating a return flow for recycling used bottles. Every Walmart should have a recycling station and the money that comes in there should be donated to welfare – an idea that was quite to the jury’s taste.
– It’s been a few days since we heard “And the winner is Chalmers University of Technology” and it still really hasn’t sunk in that we won. We’re all naturally really happy, proud, and satisfied that all our hard work paid off, the students say.
Presenting before the jury, the students showed a clear financial result for the solution, and they believe that this, in combination with the fact that the solution was creative and innovative – and that the presentation itself was clear and well thought out – was decisive in their taking home the prize. They also point to the group’s good teamwork as an important factor in their success.
Education from Chalmers does well internationally
The students are all studying the last semester in the Supply Chain Management master’s programme, and say that their education was of great use in the competition and useful from several perspectives.
– It feels good to have it in our luggage now that we’re about to get our degrees from Chalmers. Winning also shows that our education from Chalmers does really well in the international competition within Supply Chain Management, something that feels really cool, they say.
Networked with professionals in the industry
Apart from the prestige and 3,000 US dollars in prize money, the competition also meant a golden opportunity to network with professionals in the industry.
– With Walmart responsible for the case and sponsors like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestlé and FedEx, there was plenty of opportunities to make a good impression, which is not a bad thing now that we’re about to enter the working world. Additionally, we had the opportunity to network with students from both American and German universities, which naturally is always a good thing for our coming careers, the students say.
As far as the prize money was concerned, the students were touchingly in agreement even before the competition – if they won, the money would go towards buying each of them an iPad.
– So, the morning after the competition we went down early to Walmart, but only two of the team’s members kept their word and obtained an iPad each. The rest of the team went for smoothing out their suitcases instead, since we luckily had four days of shopping in New York before the competition in Arkansas, they smile.
Photo: Tom Ewart NWA Photo/ Sam M. Walton College of Business
Translation: Jeff Skinner, Space360