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)

Chinese E-Commerce Giant Eyeing Digital Supply Chain to Create Competitive Advantage
Posted on November 5, 2017 at 11:13 pm
Battle of Titans Every competitive edge matters in the battle over the hearts and wallets of Chinese online consumers in the world’s largest e-commerce market, totaling $750 billion of sales in 2016.[i] JD.com, China’s second largest e-commerce company, is betting [...]
Just-In-Time…. Pothole Repair?!
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm
The rise of new digital tools is transforming how Philadelphia and other government entities across the country deliver products and services to constituents. But can the public sector keep up in the age of Amazon?
Amazon, Mexico and Trumponomics- Is the bet too high?
Oded Ben David
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 7:25 pm
Amazon has lately put heavy resources in Mexico, aiming to open a 1 million square-foot mega-warehouse near Mexico City to gain market share and reinforce its supply chain in North America. However, the political tension between the U.S and Mexico, [...]
Ahoy! Maersk Embraces the Internet of Things
E. S. Sayons
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:17 pm
Digitization and the industrial internet of things present lucrative opportunities in the maritime shipping industry. Maersk is leading the way with digital innovations that reduce costs and deliver on evolving customer needs.
Foxconn: Out-Foxing Protectionism
Sam Weil
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 8:37 am
The 800-lb gorilla of Chinese electronics contract manufacturing prepares for life under Donald Trump's trade policies
Will Brexit spring a leak in AstraZeneca’s talent pool?
Colton Fisher
Last modified on November 12, 2017 at 6:41 pm
As drug pricing policies dominate pharmaceutical headlines, the threat of economic nationalism looms even larger over AstraZeneca’s R&D pipeline.
Nissan after Brexit: Driving Manufacturing out of the UK?
Investor in Brad's Bags
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:55 pm
Could isolationist Brexit policy derail the automotive manufacturing industry in the UK? According to leadership at Nissan’s Sunderland plant in Northeast England, supply chain complications stemming from Brexit cast doubt on the future of Nissan’s UK manufacturing operations. Context: The [...]
GE Aviation: Soaring Apart From Competition with Data Analytics
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:48 am
GE Aviation's digital efforts enable strategic partnerships that generate value across the supply chain
Do You Know Where Your Papers Have Been? 3M Does.
N. Lang
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:25 pm
Companies of all shapes and sizes throughout every industry are beginning to adopt Supply Chain Digitization practices. How has 3M, a 100-year-old industrial goods company embraced supply chain digitization and more importantly, how will the company continue to innovate with [...]
The automotive industry – the usual suspect!
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 9:45 pm
From Model T to Autonomous Vehicle: How is Ford addressing climate change to drive towards a greener future?
RFIDs, bar codes and health care costs
Japees Kohli
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 9:06 pm
A nonprofit hospital system is digitalizing its supply chain to lower cost and improve operational efficiency.
Digitalization of Surgical Intervention
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 7:49 pm
How robotic surgical instruments improve operative supply chains and threaten medical device manufacturers.
Where in the world will our wine come from?
Worried Sommelier
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:14 pm
Climate change is threatening to disrupt the global wine industry supply map. How will wine producers evolve?
Saving Winter Wonderland?
Jenny F
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:48 pm
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening… Every holiday season, millions of avid skiers and snowboarders eagerly await the start of their favorite winter pastime.  As ski resorts prepare for opening weekend, the anticipation for the thrill of laying the first [...]
Gotham Greens: Transforming the Produce Supply Chain
Posted on November 12, 2017 at 11:30 pm
Founded in 2009, Gotham Greens is the largest urban agriculture company in the world. Can Gotham continue to refine and grow its hyper-local, hydroponic farming model and become the new agricultural mainstream in the US?
“Your Uber Robot Is On the Way”: The Transformation of Uber’s Supply Chain in a Driverless World
Jordan Martinez
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 10:22 pm
The arms race for autonomous vehicle technology has raised fundamental questions about how Uber will deliver ride hailing services in the future.
GameOver for GameStop?
Last modified on November 14, 2017 at 8:46 pm
Suppliers and customers agree that digital distribution is the way of the future for videogames. So what should GameStop, the industry's leading physical retailer, do?
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 12:50 pm
It's hard to tell whether the lack of innovation in the healthcare industry has been driven by heightened regulation or risk-adverse corporations, but one thing is certain: Industry leaders like Pfizer must start to embrace digitalization or risk losing some of [...]
Digitalization Drives “Dieselgate”
Last modified on November 14, 2017 at 1:01 pm
Volkswagen AG’s integrated supply chain stalls its push to become the world’s top automaker.
AM4U: Adidas Made For You
Ketty Lie
Last modified on November 15, 2017 at 11:02 pm
Analyzing Adidas Speedfactory and its implication as it redefines supply chain.
Making the capital-intensive oil & gas industry cost effective through 3-D printing.
Anum Chandani
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:40 pm
Can technologies such as 3-D printing save the capital intensive oil and gas industry. Finding synergies and reducing cost in a low oil price environment has become extremely important for many oil & gas companies to survive, hence employing new [...]
Will Inditex be alive in 10 years?
Javier Pasquín
Last modified on November 12, 2017 at 7:58 pm
"Like it or not, digitization is here". Zara is renowned for its ability to master the design and management of the supply chain. Is Zara going to be able to leverage the digital tools to increase its competitive advantage?
Sephora: Combining Beauty and Sustainability
Posted on November 15, 2017 at 10:59 pm
Beauty giant Sephora is responding to climate change by taking a hard look at where emissions and waste can be eliminated from their supply chain.
Maple, a restaurant without walls
Last modified on November 13, 2017 at 4:45 pm
Maple, a NYC-based food-delivery service founded in 2014, offered restaurant-quality food for delivery through an app and online. The industry was abuzz about this new food startup - but was its business model viable?