Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Hu-Friedy awards scholarships to four supply chain students

Hu-Friedy awards scholarships to four supply chain students

For the class project, students visited Hu-Friedy's manufacturing plant. The winning team included Tom Scanlan (third from left) and Jie Wei Lo (fourth from right).

This spring, a class project for a Chicago-based manufacturer resulted in $1,000 scholarships for four Quinlan graduate students.

Hu-Friedy, a dental equipment manufacturer, tasked students in a Supply Chain Analytics course to evaluate alternative shipping strategies to move materials from their suppliers to their manufacturing facilities. The manufacturer was so impressed with the students’ work, it awarded scholarships to the winning team of Mike Larocco, Jihong Liu, Jie Wei Lo, and Tom Scanlan. 

“The partnership was a great experience,” said Luke Durand, ‚Ä®global procurement manager for Hu-Friedy. “Once the students had the data and information in their hands, we were essentially ‘hands off’ and at the mercy of their experience, knowledge, and education during the class to come up with solutions to our problem statement.”

Hu-Friedy is a member of Quinlan’s Supply and Value Chain Center, and first approached Quinlan about partnering during the Center’s annual Supply Chain and Sustainability Summit last year.

Thinking outside the box

Students spent the entire quarter focused on the project, studying different aspects of the problem. All five groups in the class presented a unique solution, said Professor Maciek Nowak

“I think Hu-Friedy chose the winning team because they went outside the box,” he said. “They addressed all the concerns of the company, but came up with an alternative that allowed for easier implementation with significant cost savings.”

MBA student Tom Scanlan said his group approached the project from two angles. First, they looked into how much it would cost for Hu-Friedy to purchase a truck to handle their transportation needs, accounting for insurance, maintenance, and the like. But he also credits his group’s win with their second angle.

“We did something that no other group did,” he said. “We went out and we got real quotes from 3PL [third party logistics] companies. Basically, with a 3PL, you just outsource it completely. So we put together a cost analysis of how much it would cost Hu-Friedy to buy a truck versus how much it would cost to outsource it to a 3PL. Ultimately, we recommended for them to outsource their shipping.”

A real-world case study

At the end of the quarter, the student groups presented for six Hu-Friedy representatives in the Schreiber Center’s Wintrust Hall. Further, the presentations were webcasted so additional staff could watch from the Hu-Friedy offices.

“It was a great experience,” Scanlan said. “It was great to work with a real company. We weren’t just working on a generic case study from a book. This was a real life Chicago-based company case study that we got to interact with. We visited their manufacturing plant and met with their senior leadership. It was cool to present an actual solution to them.”

Nowak said the company is likely to implement aspects from every group’s suggestions.

“When the students completed their proposals and presented them to us, we were blown away by the thorough analysis and due diligence they put into considering all of the variables that made this project challenging,” Durand said. “The whole Hu-Friedy team was pleased by the results of the partnership with the class and Professor Nowak.”

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