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        Industry, Students, Systems and Technology

        Supply chain management class proposes ideas to help leading paper manufacturer

        January 29, 2018 By Joe McAdory

        All News


        gp winner

        To be successful, pulp and paper companies are dependent upon the reliable, round-the-clock operation of its paper mills. Equipment failures at a paper mill can cost thousands of dollars by shutting down the production line. That’s why it’s important for these facilities have the spare parts on site to quickly résumé production, but also to have good relationships with suppliers.

        Recently, students in Gary Page’s Sourcing and Supply Management class (winning team with Georgia-Pacific representatives pictured above) at Harbert College were given an assignment by Georgia-Pacific to evaluate supply strategies and recommend the selection of suppliers for spare parts at a Mississippi paper mill. The task, determine the optimal number of suppliers and propose targeted inventory levels for replacement conveyor belts – called machine clothing – to quickly résumé production at minimal cost and provide a safe working environment.

        In case competitions such as this, both parties benefit. Students are challenged to learn and perform in a manner that simulates an actual business situation. Additionally, the participating company has an opportunity to be exposed to some of Harbert College’s top talent. “It is through case competitions, Georgia-Pacific, or other firms, are able to see our students in action as they work through real-world challenges,” said Page, Senior Lecturer at Harbert College. “In Georgia-Pacific’s case, they may use this exposure to determine future staffing requirements whether it be for internships or full-time hires.”

        The process starts when students are divided into teams, and are given several weeks to prepare data-filled reports that propose solutions to a corporate issue. In this case, on Nov. 14, students in Page’s class offered solutions in presentations before a handful Georgia-Pacific management representatives.

        In this case competition, the student team of Taylor Hazen, Maryclare Mastriano, Nora O’Neill and Gavin Taylor were selected by Georgia-Pacific management representatives as the top team among the selected presenters. Second-place went to K.C. Brook, Carter Jones, Lauren McGlon, Camila Sabogal-Mateus and Quien Tuck. Third-place was David Burdett, Alexander Fresolone, Jordan Leitstein, Casey Petcher, and Nina Vazquez.

        “There is not a right or wrong answer,” said Page. “There is an optimal answer. What is best for the business in the situation? Did you consider all of the factors and what basis are you making your recommendation? That’s the hard thing for students to learn in supply chain -- there are always benefits and risks with every decision you make.”