College of Business students at Anderson University recently completed a package race, a humanitarian logistics project that challenged them to find the quickest and most cost-effective way to send supplies to a missionary family in Zambia.
The project is part of a senior-level logistics class, which serves as the capstone course for the Supply Chain Management program. Through approximating costs, facing customs restrictions and budgeting, students gained valuable professional experience while serving missionaries.
“We can do business with a Christian worldview and still be great business people,” said Dr. Kimberly Whitehead, a professor of management who created and led the package race.
Dr. Whitehead tasked students with organizing the package race from start to finish. Her fall semester project management class developed the package race, and her spring semester logistics class carried out the plans. In March, the logistics students mailed three boxes of goods including snacks and school supplies to the missionary family, the McDaniels. The packages were shipped through different carriers and had vastly different routes; the McDaniels family received two packages on March 26 and one on April 2.
Each package cost more than $500 to ship to Zambia. Dr. Whitehead secured the resources required for the package race through fundraising. Regional businesses graciously funded the package race: Kip and Kim Miller of Eastern Industrial Supplies donated $1000; ScanSource in Greenville donated $500; Southeastern Freight Lines promised $500: and various individuals donated the balance. With these donations, students completed the package race, which provided a hands-on lesson in logistics.
“It is an opportunity for our students to find out that the world is not always this nice, neat package and how to deal with ambiguity or deal with situations where things don’t work out quite as you thought,” Dr. Whitehead said. “If they’re able to do that here in this low-stakes environment in college and learn some of those coping skills, they will be really good at that when they go out into the real world.”