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)

Nordstrom’s Attempt to Survive in the New Amazon Era
Kat K
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 8:20 pm
“We knew it was going to happen, it’s just happened faster than we thought.” – Peter Nordstrom[1]
Shrinking the Supply Chain: Target needs an integrated digitalization strategy to thrive as an omnichannel retailer
Bob Bedetti
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:57 pm
While many big-box brick-and-mortar retailers focus on closing stores and cutting costs, Target (NYSE: TGT) is bucking the trend by opening new stores, renovating existing locations, and pouring money into its physical infrastructure. To be a successful omnichannel retailer in [...]
A Pricier Pint: How Tighter Borders Could Increase Your Bar Tab
Last modified on November 14, 2017 at 7:43 pm
Diageo Plc, owner of Guinness, must create a plan to mitigate the looming trade effects of Brexit.
Hot fudge Hyundai: The sweet taste of a well-managed supply chain
Matt Fisher
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 7:49 pm
Hyundai is working with suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint. This mitigates Hyundai's risk exposure to climate change related tariffs.
Indonesia’s Ore Export Ban and its Impact on Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg Mine
Sean Bracken
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 8:10 pm
How will Indonesia's ore export ban impact the world's largest gold mine and second largest copper mine, Freeport-McMoRan's copper concentrate supply chain, and the global base metals market?
Efficiencies through digitialization of supply chain at Inditex
Phil Mickelson
Posted on November 13, 2017 at 5:30 pm
The essay explores the supply chain efficiencies that Inditex gains through digitalization
H&M and digitization of supply chain trends – will the [fashion] show go on?
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 11:04 pm
H&M, the second largest fast fashion retailer in the world is facing challenges as consumers expect fashion to be increasingly fast-paced, affordable and personalized. The emergence of new fast fashion retailers such as ASOS and Boohoo coupled with the constant [...]
Climate Change as a National Security threat: The Outlook of the U.S. Department of Defense
Fidel Cashflow
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm
The United States Department of Defense considers climate change to be a National Security threat to the US and her allies, and is taking strategic steps to mitigate the effects of those risks.
Building the Future at GE, One Layer at a Time
Ada Tiveman Ufacturian
Posted on November 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm
Additive manufacturing will transform the way industrial companies design, develop, and support their products. How is GE layering up its defenses to compete in this new world?
At home in a hotel: Mass customization at Marriott
Last modified on November 12, 2017 at 5:55 pm
Supply chain digitization offers Marriott an opportunity to deliver customized experiences and deepen guest relationships. Is the investment worth it?
A Small Company Setting the Standard in a Big Way
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 3:12 pm
Patagonia, Inc. has taken a hard look at the way they do business, and ensuring they make the necessary changes to ensure our future.
Sustainability: When Doing Good Is Good for Business
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 4:26 pm
As countries, corporations and consumers band together to address increasingly severe climate change, several retailers, including Gap, are leading the charge in supply chain sustainability.
Chipotle: Balancing Sustainable Ingredients with a Sustainable Supply Chain
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm
Chipotle has recently run into trouble balancing sustainable ingredients and its increasingly complicated supply chain. With global warming set to increasingly affect agriculture worldwide, how can Chipotle balance staying on the leading edge of sustainability, while maintaining a functioning supply [...]
Tenet Health: Fighting the Climate Change Fever
Leigh McAdams
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:50 pm
Tenet Health is actively adapating to and mitigating the impacts of climate change at the forefront of the healthcare industry.
Supply chain risk management: Cargill’s war against climate change
Maha Malik
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 7:37 pm
The United States' largest private company and the global food giant, Cargill, is currently in the process of implementing a climate change mitigation and adaptation plan as part of its long-term risk management strategy.
The Virtual Supply Chain: Instantaneous, Custom & Local delivered by UPS
Last modified on March 29, 2018 at 3:39 pm
3D printing and virtual warehousing has the power to improve the consumer offering and increase the efficiency of the supply chain by providing wider product variety with faster delivery while accessing scale manufacturing advantages and reducing inventory holding cost and [...]
Unique QR Code Enables Unilever to Digitalize Channel Management
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm
Unilever puts unique QR codes on each Dove product to digitalize the channel management and incentive system. Anti-fake function and consumer loyalty program can be further added.
The impact of climate change on Saint-Gobain’s supply chain
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:56 pm
Saint-Gobain's manufacturing plants have to be included in the company's overall environmental strategy to hedge against the risks created by climate change. Here we discuss a couple of ideas to manage these risks.
Made in America? Ford Motor Company’s Battles with Isolationism
Jeff Keller
Posted on November 14, 2017 at 9:34 pm
A look at the impact of nationalist and isolationist movements on Ford's capital investment decisions.
Drummond Company: Will an old industry be able to adapt to new climate regulations?
M. Diaz
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 9:44 pm
The coal industry is under pressure to renew and optimize its supply chain as climate regulations get tighter and demand and coal prices shrink every year.
Starbucks: Growing Sustainability One Cup at a Time
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 4:06 pm
Starbucks implements proactive climate change strategy both as contributor to and sufferer of global warming.
Coca-Cola’s Newest Competitor: Water Supply
Justin Ernest
Posted on November 10, 2017 at 7:57 pm
Climate change is having a significant effect on water scarcity, especially in developing nations. Food and Beverage multinationals such as Coca-Cola are striving to increase water efficiency and water replenishment in these nations - all without taking a major hit [...]
Pass The (Cassava) Beer: Diageo’s Response to Water Scarcity
Darrin Bedol
Posted on November 14, 2017 at 7:42 am
How Diageo is relying on drought-resistant crops to improve their water efficiency and increase sales in emerging markets
Can Singapore port survive the digitization storm ?
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:27 pm
Singapore has the second largest container terminal and had maintained a competitive edge so far compared to regional peers. Can it continue compete effectively as the industry is disrupted by digitization?