RC TOM Challenge 2017

November 15, 2017

Read The Full Prompt

The TOM Challenge provides an opportunity for students to learn more about supply chain management by exploring how organizations are grappling with some megatrends: climate change, digitalization, and the growing influence of isolationist political movements on international trade policies.  These 700-800 word essays should address four questions:

  1. Why is (or should) your particular aspect of one of these megatrends be of concern to the management of the organization you have selected?
  2. What is the organization’s management doing to address this concern in the short term (the next two years) and the medium term (3–10 years out)?
  3. What other steps do you recommend the organization’s management take to address this concern in the short and medium terms?
  4. What are one or two important open questions related to this concern in the context of the organization you selected that you are unsure about, which merit comments from your classmates?

When posting your essay to Open Knowledge, be sure to enter “Climate change”, “Digitalization”, or “Isolationism” in the Topics field.

More details on research, sourcing, deadlines, and other matters are provided in the RC TOM Challenge: 2017 noteFor assistance with the Open Knowledge platform during business hours (9:00 am – 5:00 pm M-F), email openknowledge@hbs.edu. A short video with instructions on how to post an essay to this platform is available at https://goo.gl/yyXK2H.

Submitted (924)

Fast Fashion’s Fast Feedback: H&M Commits to Sustainable Cotton
TOM 2017
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 6:21 pm
HM is one of the largest consumers of cotton globally. Does HM have a responsibility and/or incentive to source sustainable cotton?
The Drowning Power Grid: CenterPoint’s Plight to Keep the Lights On
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:20 pm
With the increasing number of superstorms resulting from climate change, utility companies, such as CenterPoint Energy, are faced with securing power substations from storm surges and flooding.
Reducing Deforestation Impacts in the Agricultural Supply Chain at Bunge: Is Algae Oil the Answer?
Olivia Staffon
Last modified on November 16, 2017 at 12:06 am
Bunge is a leading agricultural supplier that must dramatically alter its operational supply chain to reach its zero-deforestation targets.
Fintech VS Banking – Can banks win this battle and become more efficient using technology?
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 6:24 pm
Leumi Bank recently released one of his flag ship products "Pepper". A digital bank which doesn’t have any branches or even an online website. Is this a smart decision? Would Leumi succeed in attracting the millennials? Is Pepper’s offering enough [...]
Jasmyn Beausejour
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm
Warehousing operations is big business. It is a $141B business in the US alone and accounts for 10% of all logistics costs [1].  Estimates suggest picking items from shelves represents 65% of those costs, or $92B (Figure 1) [2]. The process is [...]
The Little Smoothie Company that Could Faces the Big Bad Brexit
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:06 pm
How will the UK’s Innocent Drinks (the little smoothie company that could), deal with potential consequences of Brexit?
Foggy Future: Cummins’ response to increasing regulation in the diesel engine industry
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 9:38 pm
Facing increasing regulation with the onset of climate change, Cummins has turned its attention to developing new technologies and its supply chain to provide zero emissions power solutions to the transportation industry.
The Air War: The Isolationist Danger to Global Aerospace in the Era of the Populist Soundbite
Ben Spacapan
Posted on November 14, 2017 at 3:32 pm
In a protectionist political environment, Boeing must adjust its tactics in civil aviation after Bombardier and Airbus outmaneuvered it by forcing it to choose between opposing American jobs and accepting increased foreign competition.
Boeing Navigates Nationalist Winds
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:14 pm
This essay examines Boeing's strategies in dealing with the effects of nationalist policies on its supply system.
#hacked: the proliferation of fake news bots on Twitter
Lilian Smith
Last modified on November 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm
Twitter supplies content to the news cycle through their highly influential social platform. But they are increasingly victimized by the dark side of technology: malicious bots. What should they do to protect their supply chain, their reputation, and the sanctity [...]
Goodbye To The Big Screen, Hello Everything Else – How Much Is Too Much?
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:53 pm
How can traditional Hollywood studios compete in a new, digital world, and where do movie theaters fit in?
Can Ocado Weather the Disruption of the Grocery Industry?
Last modified on November 11, 2017 at 9:42 pm
Ocado has invested in a supply chain that is years ahead of its competitors', but will these investments pay off in time to help the company weather the disruption of the grocery industry?
The Axis of Change: Navigating the Digitalization of India’s Banking Industry Value Chain
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 9:54 pm
The digitalization of India’s banking industry supply chain, powered by multiple technological breakthroughs and government-backed initiatives, has spawned disruptive new business models and forced incumbents to reimagine their end-to-end business processes and value propositions. How is Axis Bank (“Axis”) – [...]
Amazon Works to Balance Growth with Sustainability
Last modified on December 5, 2017 at 4:51 pm
While Amazon is making tangible progress in its approach to sustainability, can it ever be truly environmentally conscious within its current business model?
Is Goodyear’s Supply Chain Designed to have Good Years in the Future?
Eddie Overy
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 5:33 pm
Goodyear has dealt with US import tariffs on tires from China over the past decade. In 2017, there are additional tensions as the Trump administration may exit existing trade negotiations, affecting the global supply chain of Goodyear. How is Goodyear [...]
Blockchain and Burgers
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 8:05 pm
Digitalization has led to the availability of extraordinary amounts of data but how should companies, like Wendy’s, be utilizing this data to strengthen its customer promise? 
The Cash Before the Storm: Forecast-based Financing at Red Cross
Last modified on November 16, 2017 at 7:52 am
With natural disasters on the rise, The Red Cross is investing in prediction and prevention to save money, time, and lives.
Adidas: Supply Chain as Competitive Advantage
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:12 pm
As in the case of Adidas, increasing sales may help reframe the business case for supply chain improvement. Once the fundamentals of inventory accuracy and data abundance have been established, there are many other opportunities for improvement.
What’s Beef? A Look Inside Lab-Grown Meat’s Aim To Tackle Climate Change
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm
In an effort to tackle climate change and emissions, Memphis Meat is attempting to shake up a legendary meat industry that has become environmentally unsustainable.
McLaren and Brexit: Driving towards an uncertain future
David Ortiz
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 4:31 pm
In light of uncertainty around Brexit, McLaren has decided to double down on manufacturing in the United Kingdom.
From “Visibility” to Prosperity
Justin Warner
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 7:44 pm
Fixing the broken promise of the digitally-connected farmer in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Digitalization and the Death of a (Real Estate) Salesman
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 5:26 pm
Can companies like Opendoor effectively disrupt the real estate broker ecosystem and home-sale supply chain through big data and machine learning?
The post-Brexit hangover: One big headache for Diageo
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:39 pm
Days before the Brexit vote, Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo, one of the largest producers and exporters of alcohol in the world, urged his UK employees to vote to ‘stay’ in the EU. Diageo couldn’t risk the uncertainty of losing [...]
Adidas: Revolutionizing the Supply Chain with SPEEDFACTORY
Last modified on November 13, 2017 at 7:02 pm
Adidas is turning to digitalization of footwear manufacturing to improve speed to market, enhance customization, and increase flexibility with greater automation through its SPEEDFACTORY project.