A Final Look at Supply Chain

Today was the day we started saying our goodbyes to Cyprus. With our final business meeting and a farewell dinner, it finally hit that this trip is coming to an end.

In our final business meeting of the trip we met with Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC). PWC is a professional services network known for things like accounting. It was interesting how our meeting today was set up compared to our ones leading up to it. Previously, presenters explained to us what their company does and how it relates to supply chain. Then there would be a discussion period.

Today, our meeting began with a holographic introduction. Afterwards, we had a live virtual presentation by Michael Muller-Bungart who is part of PWC Germany. He explained to us the importance of AI in revolutionizing supply chain. Large use of this technology has been adopted by some industries more than others. For example, the automotive industry uses AI and similar technologies more in their supply chain than the pharmaceutical industry. Interestingly, tech and engineering companies do not often use AI in their supply chains. I think a trend towards AI in supply chain, especially by non-technology related industries, could affect my career as a computer engineer. It could further expand the industries I have an opportunity to work for and the ways my work could influence others.

Following the virtual presentation, we had an in-person presentation with Superhome Center, a DIY store similar to Home Depot or Lowes. This presentation once again emphasized how technology will become more and more important in all types of industries. During the first COVID-19 lockdown, the company launched a website to allow for online shopping. Since then, they have gained more online users and expect increasing use of the website in the future.

As our final portion of the meeting, there were informal discussions with three presenters who explained a little bit about blockchain, the circular economy, and customer experience. I spent the most time listening to the circular economy presentation, and I’m glad I did. The circular economy refers to rethinking parts of the supply chain to allow for a more efficient and sustainable process. One example we were given was a wine company switching from glass to plastic bottles. Although they sacrifice a level of luxury, this switch saves them money on bottles as well as packaging because more plastic bottles can fit into a box than glass. The material could then be reused instead of completely thrown away. Similar thinking has been used for all sorts of products. It is an interesting combination of economic and environmental sustainability which I think we will start to hear more about soon in the U.S.

To end the day, we had a big farewell dinner as a group. We once again had a large Cypriot meal with many courses. It was delicious, and I was definitely full by the end. It was a fitting farewell dinner, chatting with the friends I’ve made over the past two weeks while eating the amazing local food.

It’s upsetting to see this trip come to a close, but I’m so thankful for all that I have learned and experienced here in Cyprus. I hope that I will get to have another international experience soon to continue the learning I’ve started here.

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