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Penn State Smeal students employ supply chain skills to rise up against hunger

May 4, 2017

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More than 100 Smeal students, staff, and faculty assembled in the Business Building Atrium to help alleviate world hunger by using basic supply chain principles to package 20,000 meals.
More than 100 Penn State Smeal College of Business students banded together recently to use the skills they’ve acquired from the college’s top-ranked Supply Chain and Information Systems program to help fight world hunger. 

Smeal welcomed Rise Against Hunger, previously Stop Hunger Now, a non-profit organization with one million volunteers around the world. It is determined to end world hunger in our lifetime. Nearly 800 million people worldwide face hunger and acute malnutrition daily and 21,000 perish from malnutrition each day. 

The goal of the Smeal event, which was held in the Business Building Atrium, was to package 20,000 meals. More than 100 students from Smeal’s Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the Beta Gamma Sigma international business honor society, and the Sapphire Leadership Program participated. 

The process of packaging meals exposed students to different elements within a simplified supply chain. 

The assembly was a defined and efficient process. It began with a group of six people per table funneling raw materials (rice, dehydrated vegetable flakes, soy, and a nutrient packet) into pouches that feed six people.

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Students here take basic food staples and funnel them into sealable bags, part of an assembly line process that featured many supply chain characteristics.
 It then flowed to the next stage, which was quality control and sealing. The pouches were weighed, assessed for quality and consistency, and any excess material was removed before the pouch was sealed. 

The pouches then proceeded to the final stage that prepared them for shipment. Students counted, labeled, and packaged the pouches into boxes so they could be shipped to their final destination — Peru. 

While the assembly line was active, there were many moving parts to keep the process efficient and moving. Students had to have a macro view of the supply chain and realize when materials needed to be replenished, keep materials moving to the next stage, regulate the pace of the work, etc. Organization representatives also kept track of the progress, announcing advancement by hitting a gong. 

Rise Against Hunger distributes packaged meals in more than 74 countries worldwide. CSCMP and the Center for Supply Chain Research (CSCR) helped organize the event and are planning to partner with the organization to make this an annual event, with the goal of enlisting help from the entire Penn State community. 

The event was funded by CSCR Corporate Sponsors Armada, Dell, and HanesBrands, as well as Bostik.

Media Contact

Andy Elder
Public Relations Specialist