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The Best Cases on Supply Chain Management as Competitive Advantage

Posted by Martine Plompen in Award , Research , EFMD

Created on Sun 02 August 2015 22:00

And tagged with: EFMD , award , research , learning


kedge logoCase2014winner logoWith the aim of encouraging the writing of case materials, EFMD has been organising its annual Case Writing Competition.The category “Supply Chain Management” is sponsored by Kedge Business School and the 2014 winning case is:

Vanderlande Industries: Parcel And Postal Predicaments”, written by Rene de Koster and Philip Lazar, Rotterdam School of Management, NL.

VanderLande Industries (VI) was a strong global player in the distribution, parcel and postal (DPP) automation market, providing fully automated systems for parcel and posting sorting centers. VI’s product line had always remained strictly customer-centric, with every product built from scratch according to the customer’s wishes, but with increasing market pressure from new market entrants offering faster and lower-cost standardized solutions, the firm was seriously considering altering its market-responsive, service-focused and integrated product offerings towards a more efficient, modular and standardized output.

rsmThis case describes the frameworks and knowledge related to the first set of large-scale, modular and standardized repeated projects that VI had offered. VI hoped to leverage its knowledge and experience accumulated from these projects and replicate the new approach in many future projects. However, VI’s infrastructure was not suitable for such a transition: the firm was entirely organized around customer-specific projects and employees were used to work for individual customers. Jan Hulsmann, managing director of VI’s DPP division, was struggling to find a way to re-organize the division so that it could be both cost efficient and customer attentive.

This case develops and highlights the considerations involved in choosing an appropriate strategy for product offerings. The case describes the difficulties in overcoming the trade-offs between service and efficiency, integration and modularity, and efficient and market responsive supply chains, when designing or altering a product strategy. It delves into both the benefits as well as the downsides involved with different product strategy approaches, and attempts to make students think about what product strategy is most appropriate for what business and market context.

Also the finalist cases from last year may be of interest to you:

Cisco Systems: Supply Chain Risk Management”, IE Business School, Spain.
The case describes that when the tsunami on the Japanese coast occurred in March 2011, it affected the scope of Cisco’s extensive network of suppliers and facilities all over the world and activated a global complex mechanism with the main purpose of diminishing the tsunami’s effects on its supply chain. This case illustrates the peculiarities of Cisco’s supply chain and their internal and external vulnerabilities.

 “The Loewe Group: A New Industrial Model and Commitment to Lean Management?”, ISEM, Spain.
The cases deal with Loewe, a luxury leather goods manufacturer from Spain, that was acquired by the world´s leading luxury goods group, LVMH. The authors illustrate that operations management can be a very powerful source of competitive advantage and that manufacturing excellence can coexist with artisan traditions and values.

Recipes for Success - Innovating Production and Inventory Management of Pepper Oleoresin at Synthite”, Indian School of Business, India.
This case focuses on production and inventory management at Synthite, an oleoresin manufacturer in Kerala, India. The company faced several challenges in inventory management, production planning, and in meeting customer expectations on order lead times.

You are kindly invited to also consult the full list of winners for all 14 categories that is on the EFMD website, as well as details for the EFMD Case Writing Competition in general.