Team SATA wins Young Professionals’ Challenge

Thursday, 20 November 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The SATA team from the University of Moratuwa won this year’s Young Professionals’ Challenge, a unique case study competition open to students and young professionals in the logistics and transport sector. The Young Professionals Challenge (YPC) is organised by the Young Professionals’ Forum (YPF) under the patronage of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Sri Lanka. This year’s case study was on a company proposing a pineapple processing and export operation with funds from an international partner based in the Middle East. The Challenge calls for each participating team to act as consultants to the company. The consultants this year were asked to evaluate various options, including location of the processing operations, and to address various transport and logistics issues for both local and export sales operations. They were also required to come up with ways to speed up the time from farm to market, considering the short shelf life of pineapples and to propose measures to reduce post-harvest wastage, which is as high as 30-40%. The international collaborator in the case study, a young Middle Eastern investor trying to invest his inheritance, is interested in doing good and not merely earning money from his investment in Sri Lanka. He insists on a thoroughly modern and ethical business, environmentally sound with sustainable business practices. This requirement adds an additional layer of complexity to the task faced by the young professionals. They have to get out of a typical ‘profits at all cost’ mentality and address environmental, social and sustainability concerns in their proposals. Overall, it was a realistic case study which could have been for a real company proposing actual agribusiness processing and export operations. YPC 2014 attracted 17 proposals from young professionals and students from various institutes including the University of Moratuwa (UOM), Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College (CINEC), Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) and organisations involved in transport and logistics in Sri Lanka. The five teams selected for the grand finale were Aster, SATA and Diligent Diamonds from the University of Moratuwa, the Dynamic Four from the Kotelawala Defence University and the Fabulous Four from CINEC Maritime Campus. Each team was required to carry out a business analysis, write a report and make a presentation of their proposals. They were also asked questions about their presentations by a panel of six judges comprising industry professionals and academics Prof. Saman Bandara from the University of Moratuwa was the chief judge for the Young Professionals’ Challenge this year. The other judges were Supply Chain Director of Hemas Manufacturing, Thusith Gunawarnasuriya, General Manager of South Asia Gateway Terminals Ltd. Laksiri Nonis, Group Director of Hayles Advantis, Dr. Asanka Rathnayake and Expolanka Freight Ltd. Director Saif Yusoof. Anjalika Perera, Sameera Prasani, Thilini Ranatunga and Aravinda Dissanayake were the members of Team SATA. This team from the University of Moratuwa were mentored by Anuja Fernando. Team SATA have competed in the Young Professionals’ Challenge before and noted that they could see for themselves how far they had come within a year. In their view the event is an amazing platform for young professionals in the transport and logistics field to discover their true potential. They said that it helped them develop their analytical and presentation skills while at the same time building their leadership and teamwork abilities. The first runners-up, Team Aster from the University of Moratuwa, felt that, “Getting through to the finals was a result of hard work and it was a team effort in a highly competitive environment.” Team Aster said that the experience was inspiring because it was all about working well as a team. Moreover, they felt that delivering their final presentation to a panel of distinguished judges and an intelligent audience while answering their questions gave them the confidence needed to become ambitious young professionals. The Fabulous Four, the team from the CINEC Maritime Campus, felt that the challenge was a great opportunity to widen their knowledge and skills. “The competition made us stronger and we realised the importance of a team effort,” they said. “The CILT Young Professionals’ Challenge is an inspirational event where young professionals are guided to come out with their innovative ideas. It was a tremendous pleasure for us to take part in such an event where we could witness a challenging grand finale.” All the teams went on to congratulate the CILT Young Professionals’ Forum for organising this event and motivating the youth in the field of transport and logistics to revolutionise the field.