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UNT 2017 Capstone Case Competition at NT Logistics

May 2017

The UNT Students exceeded the expectation for the Capstone Case Study Project once again this semester!  As NT Logistics has done for the past two years, we provided the senior class with a project that resembled a realistic Supply Chain problem, which allowed them to fuse together textbook knowledge with critical and creative thinking to provide various solutions.   One student from this past semester told us, “This project and all the research involved has really helped me understand what a future logistics problem could look like and how to work in a group in order to achieve a common goal.”  These projects, including this past one, do not have “right” or “wrong” answers per say, but they do require the students to do substantial spreadsheet analysis and to think through and identify the most efficient and cost-effective solutions.  In other words, these projects are challenging, but they are designed to better prepare students when they are faced with a real life Supply Chain problem once they land their dream job!      

This year, the students received a more unique project that positioned them as the Senior Logistics Specialist for a food manufacturer who needed to design a “what is possible” scenario geared toward cutting costs and improving service.  In the scenario, this manufacturer grew tremendously over the years and eventually outgrew their in-house storage space.  Due to the storage requirements of their product and the increasing demands of their growing customer network, this organization made the necessary decision to outsource their storage to off-site warehouse facilities.  The logistics team for this manufacturer is now responsible for designing the distribution network for their product to the warehouses and then from the warehouses to their customers.  This certainly adds a new level of complexity to this manufacturer’s existing distribution network.

The goal of this project was for the students to analyze this existing network and identify possible solutions that would ultimately lead to least landed cost and improved service to the customer.  They received several documents containing sample data and were instructed to monetize the current network as well as their proposed solutions.   Throughout our 18 years of operation, our NT Logistics team has worked through our fair share of network problems and the resolutions were all distinct to that specific customer.  Once again, a single correct answer may not exist.  Typically many options are suggested, each one being weighed against the risk of disruption to the entire supply chain.  Certainty the impact on the end customer is of paramount concern.  After listening to each team’s presentation and reading their detailed proposals, we are pleased to report that our industry will be in very capable hands.  Our team was very impressed with the results these students produced and their commitment to understanding and executing this project; they all provided a unique approach and solution.  We could tell all the students worked extremely hard and treated this project as a genuine business proposal, which is also one of the end goals of these capstone projects every semester.   

Although we were unable to capture a group picture of all the bright future logisticians, pictured below are just a few students of the exemplar capstone class this past semester.  We look forward to working with The UNT logistics department in the future and providing more bright students with real world distribution and transportation problems in the future.

Pictured from left to right:
Efrain Ruiz, Andrew Warner, Kevin Ngo, Stephen Wilkins, Lynn Gravley, Dr. Brian Sauser, Brian Goodrich, Keaton Malcom, Daniel Williams