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)

Digitalizing the art trade: Sotheby’s became friends with eBay, but can it warm up to blockchain?
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 11:00 pm
In recent years, Sotheby's successfully adopted to digitalization, shifting many of its auctions to online marketplaces. Nowadays, however, Blockchain technology is threatening to dramatically disrupt the $60 billion art market and to diminish Sotheby's role in the supply chain of [...]
A.P. Moller – Maersk and the Future of Shipping in the Digital Age
Walter H. Haydock
Last modified on November 26, 2017 at 6:04 pm
How will a global shipping company simultaneously capitalize on the efficiency gains afforded by digitization while navigating the relevant safety, cybersecurity, and regulatory hurdles?
Isolationism’s Effect on Labor for the Supply Chain of Large Food Producer
Sarah Kalmbach
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 8:59 pm
Changes in the policy of immigration law enforcement have had and will continue to have a negative impact on the ability of some companies to manufacture and distribute goods to customers due to loss of labor. Recently, a large U.S. [...]
Supplier Scorecards: Walmart’s Push for a Cleaner Supply Chain
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 4:17 pm
From Stores to Supply Chain: Broadening its Sustainability Efforts Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has successfully introduced innovative and scalable, low-cost sustainability initiatives across its 11,695 stores. It was among the first retailers to make sustainable products available at little [...]
From the tundra to the savannah: climate change risk for a global mining company
Bumper the Cat
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:02 pm
Rio Tinto, the second largest diversified mining company in the world, combats different types of climate change risks across its geographically diverse global footprint.
Trouble Brewing – Beer Imports from South of the Border
Toby Johnson
Last modified on November 5, 2017 at 6:18 pm
Can American alcoholic beverage giant Constellation Brands continue producing beers in Mexico amidst mounting momentum for protectionist trade policies in the new Trump era?
Coca-Cola: Sustainability Visionary or Villain?
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:55 pm
Coke's Water Stewardship Program has helped the company secure a sustainable and socially responsible water source. But is the program truly helping the people living in water-stressed areas or making the situation worse?
SunPower: Dark Clouds Over Sunny Future
Jason Bourne
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 4:28 pm
The growth of the solar industry is under threat because of Tariffs being proposed on imported solar cells, which had contributed greatly towards getting cost of solar energy down to a level conducive for mass adoption.
That’s Off the Chain – AWS Today vs. Decentralized Cloud Storage
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 6:37 pm
Can AWS optimize its supply chains and gain reliability by leveraging decentralized file storage technology?
AK Steel: Casualty of a Protectionist War with No Winner in Sight
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 4:19 pm
An industry that has historically relied on operating leverage to generate profits now finds itself struggling to plan production amidst the uncertainty caused by competing protectionist policies.
All Digital at ALDI: Fast Times in Supermarket Tech
Point A to Point B
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:28 pm
ALDI, a leader in the global grocery industry, finds itself in the crosshairs of the steady march of digital innovation. Can it transform its supply chain to succeed in a digital-first world?
Making Post Offices Relevant again: Aramex
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:42 pm
Aramex is using technology to enable post offices to compete with global courier giants, but is the approach feasible and sustainable?
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