DENTON (UNT), Texas — Four University of North Texas students took second place and beat more than a dozen collegiate teams in one of the most challenging logistics contests in the U.S. and Canada, Operation Stimulus: A Student Case Competition.
“We fielded a terrific team this year and are extremely proud of their strong finish among 19 of the top logistics programs in North America,” said Terrance Pohlen, associate dean for operations and research in the UNT College of Business. “This strong finish continues to demonstrate that the UNT logistics program ranks among the top of the very best programs.”
Four UNT students were awarded: junior Ashleigh Allison, a biomedical engineering major; senior David Looney, an aviation logistics major; senior Sergio Garcia, a logistics and supply chain and marketing double major; and senior Hong Yun Yong, an aviation logistics and music double major. Additionally, two seniors also attended the case competition: Miranda Robertson, a logistics and supply chain major, and Luis Salazar, an operations and supply chain major. Julie Willems-Espinoza, associate director of the Center for Logistics Education and Research, advised the group.
Teams were tasked with helping a fictional blender manufacturer outsource the components for its newest model. Serving as consultants, students identified the countries from which materials would come from and determined how to transport those materials. The trick was to maintain product quality, while decreasing cost. The simple request was made difficult by the complexities, risks and variables surrounding international supply chain management. Students weighed their options by creating a detailed decision matrix.
“We identified the factors that were most important to us – cost, quality, economic stability and ease of transportation of various countries,” said Looney, team leader. “Then we calculated an optimal solution as well as best alternatives in the event of a contingency.”
A team from Dalhousie University in Canada won first place in the competition, which was held in February and sponsored by the Denver Transportation Club.
UNT teams have consistently done well in this and other high-level logistics challenges. Their accolades include wins for past case competitions, including Operation Stimulus, the Intermodal Association of North America's annual Intermodal EXPO Academic Challenge and the Intermodal Association of North America – University of North Florida case competition.
“Our students are performing at a consistently high level and across multiple competitions,” added Pohlen. “In addition, the team is becoming more multi-disciplinary to enable more students to participate as well as to incorporate multiple perspectives and skill sets to address complex problems.”