The Supply Chain course at Geneva EMBA, taught by Professor Antonio Stagno in late September 2023, provided an opportunity for a fruitful interaction with a major player in the Geneva ecosystem, the FTI (Foundation for Industrial Lands).
As the Geneva EMBA aims to equip its students with the skills to become responsible leaders in the increasingly complex world of business, a supply chain course cannot be limited to purely logistical aspects. Customer demand is becoming more volatile, product/service life cycles are accelerating, customer response times are decreasing, and there is a wealth of information available to guide activities. In this context, students must understand the nature of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) environments, identify appropriate demand models, comprehend demand segmentation, modeling, and forecasting, align internal organization with demand modeling, and grasp the key variables affecting Supply Chain Management performance.
Professor Antonio Stagno’s course leads our participants to address the following questions:
- What are the underlying principles that explain supply chain performance?
- In a highly volatile, uncertain, and complex context (VUCA), how can one gain a better understanding of future customer demand and leverage available data?
- How can a more responsive, flexible, and agile organization of the Supply Chain help in responding to demand fluctuations?
The most effective way to connect a comprehensive analysis to practical actions is to confront the concepts taught in class with real-world business scenarios. The FTI, whose CEO, Guillaume Massard, is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Geneva EMBA, served as the perfect setting for this engagement.
Guillaume first visited the University of Geneva on Thursday, September 28, to introduce the FTI and its challenges to our first-year participants. The FTI in Geneva manages almost all industrial areas in the canton. As an autonomous public institution, it supports companies in search of land and premises, facilitating their establishment and growth by offering tailored solutions. In Geneva, the scarcity of land, coupled with high demand, necessitates the rationalization of spaces dedicated to industrial and artisanal activities, requiring effective dialogue with relevant stakeholders.
The following day, our students spent the day at the FTI, accompanied by Professor Antonio Stagno. After a brief tour of the facilities, they met with key executives of the Foundation in groups, each focusing on one of the five chosen key topics, such as the analysis of customer demand to manage and prioritize response to requests. Presentations by FTI executives, discussions, and questions allowed our students to immerse themselves in the reality of the challenges faced, including their volatile and complex context. The groups then worked independently to relate their own reflections to the course material. In the final two hours of the course, they presented their analyses and recommendations to the top executives of the FTI.
For CEO Guillaume Massard, the operation was a success: “FTI had the opportunity to host students from the University of Geneva’s EMBA program for this workshop on LEAN management of services in the field of demand and customer tracking. It was a real opportunity for FTI to rethink its organization to better meet the demands of the Geneva economy.”
Without a doubt, based on the experience of other corporate courses within the Geneva EMBA, FTI will derive useful action plans for its objectives.
As for our students, they were initially impressed by the chosen field of play. For many, supply chain management was previously viewed as exclusively industrial. They deeply appreciated the opportunity to apply the course concepts within a service-oriented company. They also learned how to approach concrete issues in diverse groups, encompassing various nationalities and sectors of work. This fostered robust, at times controversial, discussions, ultimately leading to the ability to formulate practical and innovative proposals.