Closing the loop: Supply chain in practice

Innovation project spring 2019 in supply chain management:  Closed Loop Supply Chain

Students who chose the Innovation project in Logistics and Supply Chain Management in spring 2019 took part in the project “Closed Loop Supply Chain” in cooperation with HTW Saar in Saarbrücken, Germany. As Saarbrücken is located near the French border, their student group consisted of both German and French students.

Project aims

  • to analyze supply chains and product life cycles in different industries, in Germany, Finland and France
  • to gain better understanding of material usage and opportunities for circular economy.

Project Stage 1
Finnish, German and French teams worked in groups in their respective universities researching how recycling of different materials such as glass, paper, cardboard, metal, plastic and wood is organized in both countries. They shared information with the others in webinars and via a common drive.

Project Stage 2
4 international groups were created: beverage, medical, fashion and automotive.  Each group had at least one member of the country team. The task was to describe the life-cycle of a product in this industry. Where do we have waste in the supply chain? What happens to the waste? Are there differences between these two countries? How could the waste be reduced, reused or recycled better? What business opportunities could be built around these measures?

Main project phase in Saarbrücken 12 – 17 May 2019
The actual project week in Germany consisted of interesting lectures, workshops and study visits. Our days were spent mostly on working on the project in small project teams, but we also had time to visit Völklingen Ironworks, an old iron-making complex that is nowadays a museum and a Unesco World Heritage site.

On Tuesday we took part in the HTW Saar “Study Abroad” fair, where we had the honor to represent Metropolia Business School on the Metropolia UAS stand for all HTW Saar students interested in Finland and considering spending a semester or a year as an exchange student here.  Our evenings were filled with social events, such as a barbecue at HTW Saar where we tasted Flammkuchen, “pie baked in the flames”, a specialty of the Alsace region.

Presentation time
On Thursday 16 May, after a full week of intensive studying, it was finally the time to present our findings to other groups. Each team had prepared a great presentation, with an award going to the best team. We all had dinner together afterwards to end our perfect project week.

Our feelings after the project week in Saarbrücken …

Samin Taebnia and Saara Taha in Völklingen Ironworks.

“In my opinion this was a great opportunity to work in an international team and meet new people. I gained new friends and learned much about the industries and the issues regarding them. We not only studied during the daytimes but also went to sightseeing, shopping and to many different restaurants during the week. Overall, I gained much knowledge about the city, German culture and tasted local food. “          Samin Taebnia

“One very notable highlight of the trip, was the “Europe week”, which we had the honor to be part of. We even had the privilege to represent Metropolia UAS and Finland to HTW Saar students. I believe we did it very well! You can learn valuable lessons certainly on every single course Metropolia UAS offers, but a glimpse into other cultures, lifelong friendships and beautiful memories – that’s what you get from experiences like this!”     Andi Sojakka

“Even though we had little time and a lot of work, we still had time to have fun and get to know the city. The German students took us to see Völklingen Ironworks which was super cool. We also saw some urban art and climbed on top of the ironwork and see the beautiful Saarland region, which in our opinion was greener than Finland. Overall, this whole project was a great experience and fun to be part of. We learnt a lot and made some great memories.” Saara Taha

“Working in such an international environment was a very interesting experience. While doing the research we all had different ideas and different views on how to approach the topic. That is why we finished with such broad information. At the end we all agreed on the final look of the presentation and how we wanted to present it. We did not only work on our presentation parts but we also had time to make new friends and do some networking. It was nice to learn all about the differences between the working ethics we all have. We also got to know different cultures. In my opinion it was a great project not only when it comes to the project itself but additional benefits such as the friendships we made during that week.” Iga Nalazek