On March 9 the second edition of the Supply Chain Battle took place, which immediately makes this my second time that I attended this event. Last year it was the first time this concept was introduced as a formal event for Asset | Strategy & Logistics. The event was quite different to what I was used to with formal events. With the subscription it was already asked if you had formed a team of students to compete with, or if you wanted to be put in a team. A team? When solving a case? Yes, I know with events like these you were put into groups for the cases, but you never had a choice. Intrigued, I subscribed for last years editions with some friends from my Master program Supply Chain Management. I was chosen, with my team, to participate in the case of HelloFresh. We eventually did not win (but it was a very close second place!) so we missed out on the dinner (yes, the battle aspect of the name comes into place when winning the case: you get an informal dinner with all participating companies and their recruiters on the same day). With such a close call last year it was time to see if I could match my performance, or even better it this year.
This year’s edition was even grander than last year’s. There were four participating companies, instead of three, and the introduction of the companies was at the beginning of the event, so even though you did not get selected for a company, you did get to see what they did in their day-to-day business. Davanti, DHL, HelloFresh, and ProCureOn were all present on the campus of Tilburg University to see which students were the best and thus choosing which students would be so lucky to get a free dinner.
Out of the four companies I had chosen Davanti to spend my afternoon solving their case. As you might have read in October, I already had an Asset Inhouse day at Davanti which was interesting, though not without hiccups. I was wondering how they would use this time in the Battle, and like I always say: only one way to find out. So subscription done, preparations finished: it was time to ‘unchain my talents’ and battle it out!
The case was an extension from the case given in October, and it truly represented what the company does. This was an excellent introduction to their day-to-day practices, how you would be spending your days (if you are hired of course), and what all comes into play when running such a large warehouse management system that Corax is. Davanti developed, especially for the Battle, an online environment for all competing teams to start from scratch with the implementation of data into Corax. When it was starting time the Corax professionals gave a short introduction to the online platform, how to use it, and how to implement the data. They made the use of the online environment look easy enough, so with a fresh approach it was time to start the game ourselves. We had gotten a case that was about 60 pages long, which seems as too much in the 3/3,5 hours we were given, however my team and I, luckily, found out that the case itself was only a few pages long and the rest were barcodes that were needed further along in the battle. So we divided the tasks at hand and got onto it. Unfortunately, they made the online environment seem easier than it was. Or at least when seeing and trying the environment for the first time, so a decent amount of time was already lost in finding the right buttons to click. Once we were on our way, we came to a halt again, however with the help of all the Davanti employees we were quickly on our way again.
This stop-and-go became the rhythm of the afternoon, and with the case being more extensive than we, as a team, and Davanti itself thought on forehand, we even skipped the break to get the right answer to the case (or well, answer is a big word, it was more focused on being better than others). After battling it out during the afternoon, it became time to present what we had been doing along with the other competing Davanti teams. It became pretty clear early on that we did not perform as well as the other teams (I want to mention we only had three team members, where others had four. I don’t know if this had made any difference though). So with some deflated attitudes, it was time to re-discuss the case over drinks and bites at the informal drink with all participants of the Supply Chain Battle and the participating companies.
After a small wait on the other companies, it was time to announce the winners of all the cases. As expected, my team, unfortunately, once again, did not win an amazing four-course dinner with all the recruiters from the participating companies. However, the winner from Davanti truly deserved it, they made suggestions we did not think of, and it showed in their results. I hope they have enjoyed their time and their dinner, it sure looked delicious (I treated myself to the photos of the food, and that was all I could do).
All in all, the second edition of the Supply Chain Battle 2017 was a great success. Although Davanti had some of the same problems as with the Asset In-House Days, mainly the length and the difficulty of the case, the case was a true reflection on what the company does and it gave you the opportunity to orientate yourself on the company, their culture, and their products.