Student teams from six engineering schools in Morocco competed last week in a supply chain competition loosely based on the supply chain of a real Moroccan company. The goal of the competition was to redesign and expand the company supply chain to best support its sales growth and profitability.
There were 64 participants in the contest and they organized themselves into 13 teams. Students quickly learned to use the supply chain simulations, and practiced working with existing case studies in our library. When the competition started, the teams had 48 hours to analyze problems and find solutions for the challenges in the Morocco supply chain case we sent them.
Two Winning Teams
We intended to pick only one winning team. During the competition judges knew the teams only by their team numbers, not by their personal names or school names. We did not want teams to be judged by anything except the quality of their work. Yet still the judges felt two teams each demonstrated excellent solutions to the challenges in the competition, yet each team used a different approach to analyzing the problems. So we recognized both teams as winners (see more about the challenges and what these teams did below).
After we selected the two winners, we asked them to send pictures and tell us what they learned and something about themselves. Here are the pictures and quotes from the team members.
Team 3: Ecole Mohammadia d’Ingénieurs-Rabat (EMI)
(starting top left; El Mehdi Boukham; Salma Biyad; Ismail Zirhem; El Ghali Benjelloun; Yousra Zahre)
We got to apply analytical and critical thinking skills that we acquired from our engineering education along with practical business smarts to solve the different problems that we faced. — El Mehdi Boukhiam
Sometimes, a model could appear to someone the most improved one and then another member of the team comes up with a better design. This leads us to emphasize the importance of teamwork because “great ideas don’t come from lone geniuses”. Every member of the group had his own perspective however their intersection takes us to the winning solution. — Salma Biyad
Concerning my career, I aim to keep going on the domain of supply chain, and try to learn new things within this field, such as how to apply machine learning and data science in the supply chain domain… — Ismail Zirhem
I find myself driven towards supply chain and logistics knowing that I am good at taking responsibility and respecting delays as well as managing stress and hard work. — El Ghali Benjelloun
Working on this supply chain challenge was a great opportunity to get to know what tasks a SC manager does, and what challenges are faced and how to overcome them following a specific strategy based on all the information available and constraints to satisfy. — Yousra Zahre
Team 9 : Ecole Nationale des Sciences Appliquées de Kénitra (ENSA-K)
(starting left; Marouane Tarre; Malak Elajaje; Chaimae Terfas)
Working on this challenge helped me learn some valuable skills that improved my planning and analytical abilities, my time distribution, and gave me a better understanding of the cost-to-serve concept, and of professional financial and project management. — Marouane Tarre
The most interesting thing about supply chains and logistics is the impact that this function has on business performance by meeting product demand and reducing inventory and operating costs, also it provides personal growth and development that’s why I would like to be a demand planning analyst in the future. — Malak Elajaje
I discovered this sense of logic that we used when competing. We were in the middle of a lot of parts that we should master so I focused on the methods or the paths we had to use to get to our goal. — Chaimae Terfas
The SCM Globe Morocco Supply Chain Competition
On Saturday morning the teams received an email with the case study introduction describing the challenges they must meet (French is their language of instruction and they speak Arabic and English also).
“Bonjour tout le monde,
J’espère que vous allez bien ainsi que vos familles.
Vous trouverez ci-joint l’étude de cas ainsi que le fichier de simulation…
On vous souhaite très bon courage.”
[ Hello everyone,
Hope you and your families are doing well.
You will find attached the case study as well as the simulation file…
We wish you very good luck. ]
Attached to the email was the “Heritage Couscous” case study and an initial supply chain model that could be uploaded and run in simulations to see how it worked. Teams had to submit a short presentation explaining their analysis process and problem solutions. They also had to send in their new supply chain models showing those solutions, plus monthly Profit & Loss Reports generated by simulation data from their models.
Teams Analyze Problems and Design Solutions
The judges were impressed by what they saw. Teams showed they could apply theory and techniques learned in their courses to solve real-world problems. All teams were able to make operating improvements in their supply chains and reduce costs. But only a few were able to find ways to generate a profit. The data used to create the initial model was realistic, and it was hard to meet the challenges and also earn a profit – just like in the real world.
The two winning teams stood out because of the problem-solving processes they used and the results they achieved. Each team used a different process for analyzing the problems, yet their analysis led both teams to make similar design decisions. And each team achieved operating efficiencies and profitability levels that were so close as to be almost the same. The screenshots above show sample results from supply chain simulations of these two teams.
Because both winning teams had simple yet well defined procedures, they were able to use the simulations to analyze multiple supply chain designs and find the best ones. One team also used the Microsoft Excel Solver tool to further analyze their simulation data and optimize their design.
These two teams each demonstrated excellent work and achieved outstanding results as shown below in improvements to the company’s monthly Profit & Loss reports. Both teams designed new supply chains that generated profitable reports from their simulation data.
Supply Chain Challenges and a New Generation of Professionals
Companies face a world that becomes more demanding every year. Supply chains must be efficient so companies can be profitable, and now we are learning supply chains must also be resilient and responsive to handle unexpected events like the Covid virus, and the effects of climate change, to name just a few.
Clearly there is a talented new generation of professionals entering the field. It is good to know companies will be able to find the people and ideas they need to grow and prosper in the coming years.
Special thanks to Professor Imane Bouhaddou, Ph.D, Industrial Engineering at ENSAM- Meknès (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers de Meknès). She participated as a judge in the competition and her input was most valuable in selecting the winning teams.
Copies of the Heritage Couscous case study plus presentations and P&L Reports from the two winning teams can be viewed and downloaded at the SCM Globe LinkedIn page:
- TEAM 3 Presentation – https://www.linkedin.com/posts/scm-globe_morocco-supply-chain-competition-winner-activity-6704072835700178945-ImbL
- TEAM 9 Presentation – https://www.linkedin.com/posts/scm-globe_morocco-supply-chain-competition-winner-activity-6704083829822410752-htWp
- HERITAGE COUSCOUS Case Study – https://www.linkedin.com/posts/scm-globe_heritage-couscous-supply-chain-competition-activity-6704212698055413760-frus