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Simulation game turns teams into supply chain professionals

Teams of university students, lecturers and industry mentors put their business skills to the test for an intensive electronic competition that had them making life-like decisions as bosses of a global company in a simulated environment.

The day-long event was held last week at Victoria University's Flinders Street Campus. It involved six teams of students from VU, RMIT, Swinburne and Monash Universities, as well as a cross-institution team of academics. Each team also included a LinFox industry expert to help coach the teams in their supply-chain decision-making.

Using the leading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software from SAP, the team members took on roles as executives of a muesli bar company to win the biggest market share. They needed to interact with suppliers and customers through the entire supply chain cycle, buying raw materials, managing budgets, developing production and distribution schedules, and selling their products. The teams also were required to respond to changing real-life variables such as an increase in grain prices or a decrease in the foreign exchange rate, with every 25 minutes in real life simulating 30 days.

The winners of the game were Victoria University students Asvinder Kaur, Quyen Nguyen and Mark Kerlin , who all study supply chain management.  The team of academics finished last, reacting less quickly and more cautiously than the student teams.

Asvinder said: "The game was a very realistic simulation of total supply chain processes in a real-life, high-pressure environment. It was fun, but very challenging."

Event organiser Paul Hawking, VU's SAP Academic Program Director, said the simulation game is conducted by universities around the world to give students the experience of managing the details of a real company, both emotionally and intellectually.  This is the first time industry mentors have been added to teams. 

"This game focuses on how things work together and allows participants to immediately see the effects of their decision-making," he said. "Just as in real life, they pay for poor decisions or those not made in time."

Winners of the game received Smartphones and iPods.

VU expects to make the supply chain simulation contest an annual event.   

Paul Hawking is available for interview.

Contact:
Paul Hawking, SAP Academic Program Director and Senior Lecturer
School of Management and Information Systems
Faculty of Business and Law, Victoria University
Ph: 0419301628  or
paul.hawking@vu.edu.au

Media Contact:
Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer,
Marketing & Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph:  (03) 991 5487;  mobile:  0403 556 001

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