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)

Opportunities for digital enhancements to Google’s Pixel supply chain
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 11:23 pm
Can mobile OS giant Google manage its supply chain to become a smartphone hardware leader, too?
Adidas “Speedfactory”: Delivering what customers want, when and where they want it
Cenk Citiroglu
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 5:06 pm
Adidas, the giant sportswear manufacturer with more than $ 19.0 Billion in revenues, sold 360 million pair footwear in 2016 and produced 97% of total footwear volume in Asia. [1] However, “Speedfactory” project that Adidas initiated under the umbrella of [...]
The Digitization of Ice Cream
Ice Cream
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:57 pm
Nestle is leveraging digitization to modernize its cold chain. Melting ice cream and stockouts are only some of the issues that it hopes to tackle through this initiative.
Factory-assembled skyscrapers: an episode of The Jetsons, or the future of Real Estate?
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 5:39 pm
Rising land prices, rapid urbanization, and the housing affordability crisis have spurred some real estate developers to digitize construction. Forest City Realty's bet on high-rise modular construction showcases the evolution of their supply chain—and what can go wrong for early [...]
H&M adapting to the digitalization of retail
Jennifer Wu
Posted on November 13, 2017 at 12:24 am
How the global retailer H&M is changing its supply chain in order to adapt to rapidly changing customer preferences due to digitalization
Enjoy your morning espresso (while you still can).
Yohann Velasco
Last modified on November 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm
Is coffee under threat? Could you imagine a year without coffee? While this idea may seem far-fetched to the millions of individuals who rely on their morning espresso to fuel their day, it is certainly an area of concern for [...]
Natural Gas: The bridge fuel to nowhere?
Last modified on November 16, 2017 at 3:01 am
With the push towards renewable energy globally, are companies investing in natural gas infrastructure ending up with the short straw?
Climate Change Demands More from Tesla’s Energy Storage Technology
Carol Jenkins
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:16 pm
Will Tesla develop cost-effective energy storage solutions to support renewable energy in the fight against climate change?
Starbucks: the future isn’t brew-tiful
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 9:56 pm
Coffee is under attack. Can Starbucks save the day?
Kraft Heinz’s Planters: can Mr. Peanut take the heat?
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 3:17 pm
Planters’ Mr. Peanut has been around for over 100 years, but climate change may prove to be a formidable match for the iconic brand
6% of the world’s GDP under a survival of the fittest environment
Last modified on November 16, 2017 at 8:01 am
The insurance industry is changing more drastically that perhaps ever before; insurance companies need to embrace digitalization in order to survive in this new brave world.
Delhi, my grandmother cannot breathe!
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Breathing Delhi air is equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day.
Isolationism – Where should Samsung Go?
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 4:13 pm
“Thank you, @Samsung! We would love to have you!” – President Trump on his Twitter
Climate Change and Chocolate – Not so Sweet
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 4:54 pm
Climate change is presenting a terrifying threat to global cocoa production - what are the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world doing about it?
Automated warehousing systems at Amazon
Angel Lee
Posted on November 12, 2017 at 9:33 pm
Amazon is increasingly automating its warehouses. What are the impacts and what else should Amazon consider?
Building a Better Way to Build at Katerra
John Smith
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 9:12 pm
By borrowing best practices from the manufacturing sector, Katerra -- a unicorn start-up in the construction industry - is hoping to build a better way to build.
Did you just buy snake oil made by slaves?
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 6:41 pm
End-to-end supply chain control, achieved through digitization, has benefits beyond compliance with regulators: increasing patient safety by making it harder for counterfeiters to operate, decreasing use of forced labor by verifying the origin story of raw materials, and 9 percent [...]
The Grape Depression
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 6:09 pm
Why you may have to trade in your California Cab for an Oregon Pinot Noir -- or be forced to pay the price
A trillion-dollar industry is reinventing itself; Damco is leading the way
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 12:09 am
The trillion-dollar freight forwarding industry is undergoing the most drastic operational changes it’s ever seen as a result of digitalization.
CARNIVAL CORPORATION: Cruising To A Cleaner Planet
Posted on November 13, 2017 at 10:36 pm
Carnival Corporation, a major player in the cruise industry, has responded to critics in a meaningful way by redesigning operations to minimize impact on the environment.
Nespresso: Protecting the World’s Best Coffee
Brooke Callahan
Posted on November 14, 2017 at 2:44 pm
Given Nespresso’s insistence on the best quality, are its sustainability programs enough to protect its supply chain in the long-term?
A Federal Agency is Winning the Race on Supply Chain Sustainability
Posted on November 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm
The USPS is paving the way for sustainable practices in its supply chain to ensure continuous operations to its customers despite risks of climate change.
Digitalization in K-12 education: Will Boston pass the test?
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 9:51 pm
How can supply chain digitalization help the public sector? One city is looking to find out. Boston is currently exploring Unified Enrollment, a system that would use digital supply chain solutions to transform the school enrollment system.
Kisses Good-bye….Chocolate shortage by 2030?
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:07 pm
With annual sales of $7.4 BN and a product portfolio consisting of renowned brands such as Hershey’s, Reese’s and Kisses, The Hershey Company (Hershey) is one of the largest chocolate producers globally.[1] Given that West Africa currently accounts for 70% [...]