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Supply Chain: General Motors supports new Wayne State University competition

Program gives students up-close look at high-tech vehicle manufacturing supply chain
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
September 13, 2011

Wayne State University’s School of Business Administration, with the support of General Motors, is bringing some of the leading logistics students from across the country to Detroit for an in-depth look at the supply chain systems that support the automotive industry and its high-tech vehicles.

The General Motors/Wayne State University Supply Chain Case Competition, featuring the Chevrolet Volt, will bring 16 university groups to the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center from Sept. 22-25.

The program will introduce students to the issues and challenges of buying advanced technology components for electric vehicles. They will examine topics such as component and logistics costs, single-source tradeoffs, global procurement, sustainability and recycling.

“This is a great chance for us to show young, talented supply chain professionals the many positive opportunities that Detroit and the automotive industry have to offer,” said John Taylor, associate professor and director of supply chain programs at Wayne State’s business school.

Prior to their visit, the students will analyze the electric vehicle parts and component supply chain through a case study. The case was developed by Wayne State business professors in conjunction with experienced supply chain managers at sponsoring companies.

Working in their university teams, the students will explore a scenario pertaining to sourcing components for the Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle that is being rolled out for national sale this year. The teams will develop recommendations based on their investigation of the supply chain enterprise, data analysis and study of financial implications, and then present their findings to a panel of judges during the competition portion of the program.

“This event gives students the opportunity to experience some real-world scenarios in global purchasing and supply chain management and provides GM and other sponsors the chance to spend time with some of the best supply chain talent coming out of universities today,” said Bill Hurles, General Motors executive director global purchasing and supply chain. “The sponsors also get to hear their creative ideas on new ways to approach business challenges.”

The case recommendations are prepared in advance to allow the students plenty of time to explore Detroit and the automotive industry during their visit.  They will tour the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant where the Chevrolet Volt is manufactured, visit the Henry Ford Museum and attend a Detroit Tigers game.

They will also have ample opportunities to network with supply chain managers. Several supply chain professionals are lined up to address the students during meals and mingle during receptions.

“Executives will have the opportunity to recruit top supply chain talent from across North America and showcase their electric vehicle product lines to an influential set of student leaders,” Taylor said.

The 16 teams will be divided into four groups and participate in a regional competition on Friday, Sept. 23. The winning regional teams will receive additional information and prepare a second presentation for the competition’s final round the next day.  Winning teams will take home plaques and cash prizes.

In addition to title sponsor General Motors, this program is supported by Delphi, Ryder and the Detroit Regional Chamber.

For additional information, visit: http://business.wayne.edu/supply-chain-case-competition.php

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