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)

Amazon Business meets healthcare – digital encroachment of hospital network supply chains
Posted on November 14, 2017 at 10:43 pm
Supply chain offerings to hospital networks by medical distributors have been helped and hurt by digitization. For distributors like Owens and Minor, Amazon Business is here to hurt.
Shooting Oneself in the Foot(ball)
Posted on November 14, 2017 at 12:18 am
Can a small island produce the world's best football (soccer) by itself? Will English professional football survive Brexit intact?
How Supply Chain Improvements are Enabling Growth At Adidas
Juan Doe
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 12:38 pm
How Adidas is reorienting their supply chain around speed and digitalization to grow.
Nike: Leading the Path to Fighting Climate Change
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm
Let’s take a look at the supply chain of a typical garment and footwear brand. 1) It starts with the farmers who harvest raw materials like cotton. 2) These farmers then then sell raw materials to factories that produce yarn [...]
Isolationism: How to kill American solar
Alona Bozhchenko
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 7:56 pm
How NextEra Energy, America’s largest renewable energy developer, can continue to decarbonize the U.S. grid despite looming trade tariffs
Grocery: the next online frontier
Shreya Kadaba
Posted on November 13, 2017 at 7:23 pm
Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods in June 2017 shook the supermarket industry on fears that the newly merged company would quickly take share from traditional supermarkets and has forced grocers to boost their online delivery options. How incumbents, such as [...]
Another Grocery Delivery App?
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm
A local food delivery startup uses software to move towards profitability.
That’s all Folks: Warner Bros in China
Acton Bell
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:57 pm
Is the Curtain Falling on Hollywood's Chinese Dream?
AXA “Redefining Standards” Strategy: Leading Insurance Industry to Face Climate Change
Posted on November 14, 2017 at 10:16 pm
How is climate change impacting AXA, leader of the insurance industry?
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: How BlackRock is Winning the War on Technology
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 9:21 pm
How do you stay ahead of your competitors when you manage more money than the GDP of China, Japan or the United Kingdom?
Target under attack
Last modified on November 12, 2017 at 11:21 am
How supply chain digitalization helped hackers to exploit an air-conditioning firm and compromise operations of one of the US biggest retail companies.
Sustainability at Unilever: Nebulous or Critical?
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 3:17 pm
Who watches the watchmen as it concerns food sustainability.
Beware the Trump Trade: Why Trump’s Attack on NAFTA is a Call to Arms for General Motors.
Shooter McGavin
Posted on November 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm
Donald Trump has publicly called for significant changes to NAFTA and for the auto industry to shift operations away from Mexico and into the United States. This would greatly disrupt General Motors, its employees, and its shareholders.
Climate change – Will the Contrarian or the Conformist strategy survive?
Purple Unicorn
Last modified on November 14, 2017 at 9:30 pm
The essay explores steps taken by the Canadian oil sands company Suncor Energy to address climate change concerns in an environment of churn in terms of politics, oil prices and pipeline approvals. It also questions whether there are other industries [...]
The Internet of Things and Maersk’s Gains from Digitization
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 1:06 pm
Maersk is a behemoth in the shipping world and provides supply chain services through delivery of fresh produce and other products to 343 ports in 121 different countries. Maersk has embraced IoT in its shipping and logistic business in order [...]
Can Colombia’s one-stop App become profitable?
Daniela Izquierdo
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:20 pm
Is becoming profitable achivablein a sector with thin margins, high labor costs, and tricky economics.
Can a digital life translate to digitizing Life (Insurance)?
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 4:26 pm
Embracing digitalization is imperative for Life insurance companies to capture much needed supply chain innovations
A love affair in peril: Starbucks’ impending battle with climate change
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 12:02 am
Climate change is poised to halve the arable land available to grow coffee by 2050; meanwhile, demand for coffee in the United States continues to grow rapidly. In 30 years, will Starbucks have enough coffee beans to meet demand? What [...]
Tokyo’s surprise for the 2020 Olympics – Hydrogen, the energy for next generation
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 8:34 pm
Tokyo is warming up for the 2020 Olympics. It will be the second time for the capital city of Japan to host the event. During the Olympics in 1964, Tokyo surprised the world by introducing the fastest, safest, and most [...]
RE/MAX: How to Stay Relevant in the Age of Digitization
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 8:49 pm
Real Estate Agents believe they deserve a percentage of your home's value, but why? Is their value really tied to the value of your home?
GE: Adapting to Isolationist America and its Workforce
Kylie Lucas
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 2:27 am
As the US becomes increasingly isolationist, manufacturing companies like GE are forced to determine where to locate their factories and to reckon with the STEM skills gap in the US.
The Climate Change Concern for PepsiCo
Nick Simmons
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:11 pm
The Climate Change Concern for PepsiCo  Climate change will have a negative impact on PepsiCo’s value chain in two large ways: the impact of higher temperatures and flooding on agricultural yield and a dwindling fresh water supply. First, climate change [...]
Acciona Energy: Saving the world, a risky affair?
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:57 pm
At the forefront of global efforts against climate change, Acciona Energy must not turn a blind eye to its own resilience to the intensifying effects of global warming.
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 5:36 pm
Southwest's tunnel vision approach to climate change leaves its business exposed to today's climate conditions