Each semester, MBA students are required to participate in the Applied Learning course led by Center Director Jake Dean. This course is designed to connect classroom learning content to industry. The students had a full year of diverse opportunities. Applied learning events included:
- Analytics applications at Google with Kevin Pickett (BBA ’14)
- Watson and Supply Chain with Tom Ward of IBM
- Supply Chain Security Solutions with Caitrin O’Shea (MBA ’15)
- Site visit to Kohler, hosted by a team of Center alumni
- Blockchain at IBM with Vishnu Tadepalli (MBA ’15)
- ITW site visit hosted by EAB member Carolyn Woznicki
- Supply Chain at Medtronic with EAB member Sheri Lewis
- Sustainable Success series in partnership with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
by Hridoy Das
On October 4th, the Center invited IBM’s Tom Ward, A.I. project leader, and Steve Loehr, Vice President-Global Technology Services, to demonstrate IBM Watson’s capability in managing supply chain risk. During this session, MBA and BBA supply chain students, MBA risk management students, and MS business analytics students learned how globalization and changing customer needs are impacting modern-day supply chains. The need to be proactive in this area is extremely important
Through the session, students were introduced to the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its applicability to assess supply chain risks associated with a global supply chain network. Tom and Steve explained some use cases where Watson was used to get real-time insights about supply chain disruptions and the information gathered was used to make informed decisions to mitigate risks. IBM is also using this platform to help communities in responding to and recovering from natural disasters. This is another great example demonstrating that AI can be utilized in various spheres of life to make informed decisions in order to create agile and nimble organizations.
Their insights, with inputs from faculty, provided a clear perspective to students about the growing importance of building efficient and resilient supply chains for a global corporation. This was a perfect opportunity for students to interact with industry experts and learn how the classroom concepts are applied to deal with constantly changing demographics and business needs.
by Amanda Miller
In December, students had the opportunity to learn about blockchain technologies from Alumni Advisory Board member Vishnu Tadepalli of IBM. Students learned about blockchain basics, supply chain applications of blockchain, and Vishnu’s experience with blockchain at IBM. One use case that I found interesting was IBM’s “Trust Your Supplier” blockchain, which uses a cross-industry blockchain network to accelerate the supplier onboarding process and improve supplier compliance processes. Vishnu’s insights provided a perspective into how blockchain can revolutionize supply chain management as we see it today. Not only will blockchain provide better data visibility across the supply chain, it also has the potential to improve speed, product traceability, and trust amongst supply chain partners and consumers.
Kohler Co. Site Visit
by Jessica Colby
In November, the Center’s site visit brought supply chain MBA students, staff and faculty to Kohler Co. It was an excellent opportunity for students to observe the operations and manufacturing process of the kitchen and bath product group, the Waste Lab sustainability program, and how automation and new technology helped Kohler’s distribution center to better meet customer requirements. Moreover, it was fascinating to discover the variety of bathroom and kitchen designs Kohler produces.
The panel meetings with Kohler’s senior management and their teams were immensely beneficial. The students not only learned the overview and best practices of Kohler’s channel structure, supply chain, and customer relationships, but also gained great insight into supply chain trends and challenges. The advice and guidance that Kohler management offered was valuable in helping students succeed in their future careers.
ITW Site Visit
by Utkarsh Kohli
In February the Center organized a visit to Illinois Tool Works’ Miller Welding site in Appleton, Wisconsin hosted by Executive Advisory Board member Carolyn Woznicki. ITW’s core values are Integrity, Respect, Shared Risk, and Simplicity; these were the first things we saw about the company and we were excited to see what was in store for us.
Carolyn started things by giving us an overview of ITW’s diverse set of businesses. She elaborated on automotive parts, test and measurement, food equipment, polymers and fluids, construction products and how each of these fit in ITW’s business. This gave us a good overview about the scale at which ITW operates. Next, we learned how ITW is structured around an MRD (Market Rate of Demand) framework, which pulls inventory through its supply chain based on demand.
We next learned how ITW follows a bottom-up culture. White boards with sales, targets and metrics are everywhere, and employees have significant involvement in a rewards and recognition program. The part that was the most fascinating was their machine center of excellence, which allocates manufacturing tasks to equipment, focusing on utilization.
Overall, it was an excellent experience. It showed us how vast, complicated yet integrated a supply chain can be, and the value of keeping your suppliers informed when running a dynamic supply chain.