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SCTL Student Awarded Amazon Sustainability Challenge Grand Prize

SCTL Student Awarded Amazon Sustainability Challenge Grand Prize
SCTL Student Awarded Amazon Sustainability Challenge Grand Prize
January 15, 2022   //   

January 15, 2022 — The Master of Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics program (MSCTL) is pleased to announce that first-year student Kate Hallstead (MSCTL ’23) has won the grand prize (a $10,000 cash award) in the campus-wide UW-Amazon Sustainable Transportation Innovation Idea Challenge.

The Challenge, sponsored by Amazon’s Sustainable Transportation Accelerator for Middle-Mile Program (STAMP) in collaboration with the Urban Freight Lab, invited pitch ideas to decarbonize the middle mile of the supply chain – beginning when goods enter the network, includes transportation by air, water, rail, or road, and ending when goods are assigned to a customer for delivery.

Hallstead pitched “Smart Pack”, a software and machine packing solution for box size optimization. Smart Pack would utilize a detailed inventory of product size and fragility ratings and box-making machines to pick from box inventory or create the optimum type and size of packaging for an item to order. Once packages are created, the software would then sort orders by package size and delivery location to create a blueprint for packing delivery vans to best utilize space. The Smart Pack product’s benefits are three-fold: the customer sees less empty space in their parcel, vans can deliver more packages per delivery, and the shipper sees a reduction in packing materials waste and an increase in material recyclability.

The Challenge “was a wonderful thought experiment to think about how the lessons I have learned could be scaled up to meet the demands of a massive operation such as Amazon,” said Hallstead. “Knowing that they have been at the forefront of major innovations in the supply chain and transportation space, it was validating to know that my solution has some utility in the future.”

Grand Prize scoring was based on applicability, ability to make changes across the industry, tech-economic readiness, probability of success, global applicability, timeliness, and potential to provide carbon reductions in the middle mile. Judges included Eleanor Bastian, Pascal Amar, Katy Newhouse, Josh Traube, Kanchana Nanduri, and Chris Atkins, all of Amazon.

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About the Master of Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics degree program: A work-compatible hybrid online program, the Master of Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics (MSCTL) degree is designed to enable early- and mid-career professionals to advance in their careers. Our innovative curriculum provides students with a 360-degree view of all aspects of supply chain and logistics — facility design, inventory management, data analysis, risk, IT systems, business strategy, freight transport, and performance management — so students graduate ready to make evidence-based decisions and navigate complex real-world problems.