Students Team Up for Supply Chain Challenge Competition

MIT SCM students teamed up with fellow graduate supply chain students from the MIT Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence (SCALE) Network for the SCALE Supply Chain Challenge.

In this 2-week, team-based business case competition, randomly-assigned student teams addressed real-world data-centric supply chain problems put forward by sponsoring companies including BMW, StockX, O9 Solutions, Heyday, ARS Traffic & Transport Technology, and others. 

Each team of five students had 14 days from receiving its data set to come up with an innovative, feasible, and effective solution to present to the sponsor company. 

The top prize went to Meiling Chen (MIT SCM), Nicholas Winters (MIT SCM), Kubra Bayik (LCL), Rachael Clark (MIT SCM), and Nina Anttila (ZLC), who came up with two possible solutions to a challenge facing StockX, an online clothing resale marketplace.

StockX wanted to reduce costs and improve inbound and outbound shipping times in its Los Angeles market. The team’s first strategy, aimed primarily at reducing costs, focused on implementing a customer merchandise pick-up service, from which StockX stood to save $750,000 per year. Their second solution, however, prioritized maximizing service and proposed a drop-off model for merchandise as well as a concierge pickup service for top-tier sellers, shaving an annual $300,000 off the company’s costs. “We really liked the proposal for [its] innovation, data-driven flexibility from a supply chain perspective,” said Sean McCartney, Chief Supply Chain Officer at StockX, “but also for its customer focus.”

“The StockX team had a very innovate solution, but they were not alone,” said MIT CTL Executive Director Chris Caplice, who was one of the final-round judges. “Other teams facing different challenges explored sophisticated solutions ranging from machine learning to large-scale optimization to insightful visualizations. I was really impressed how the teams used the cutting-edge methodologies and techniques to bring insights to the company sponsors.”

Fred Baumann, Vice President of Global Industry Marketing at sponsor company o9 Solutions, echoed Caplice’s sentiments. “I was extremely impressed with all [your] hard work,” he said of the projects. “It was clear you put your heart and mind and soul into this.”

The Supply Chain Challenge is designed to provide students with applied learning opportunities and valuable industry exposure. By working closely with top companies on relevant, timely supply chain and operations problems, and collaborating in teams to solve complex challenges requiring a broad range of skillsets, students gain invaluable experience while strengthening practical skills. The challenge also provides students with an opportunity to connect in substantive and productive ways with professionals at top companies as well as with seasoned industry practitioners.

Winning Teams:

1st Place (for work addressing a challenge from StockX):
Meiling Chen, Nicholas Winters, Kubra Bayik, Rachael Clark, Nina Antilla)

2nd Place (for work on addressing challenge from ARS T&TT):
Jessica Xiong, Emre Kulluk, Sushanth Purandhar, SK Ker, Ly Vo Thi Ngoc, Pamela Quintanilla

3rd Place (for work addressing challenge from a large grocery retailer):
Tony Kook, Devender Singh, Taylor Peterson, Himanshu Halbe, Juan Preiti

MIT SCALE Supply Chain Challenge Competition 1st place winners. (L-R) Fred Baumann, VP of Industry Strategy, o9 Solutions (prize sponsor); Chris Caplice, Executive Director of MIT CTL; SCALE supply chain master’s students Meiling Chen (MIT), Rachael Clark (MIT), and Nicholas Winters (MIT). Not pictured: winning team members Kubra Bayik (LCL) and Nina Anttila (ZLC), who joined the final-round presentations and awards ceremony remotely.