Following the opening of this blog to guest contributions from distinguished members of the Apollo Team (see International Study Trip), please welcome Bart van der Heijden as guest reported from The Fresh Connection game …
During the MBA, students have the time to fill their already tight schedule with all sorts of extra curriculum activities. One of these activities started in January with an email from Nina explaining a business simulation game called the fresh connection. Based on the information in the email we could read that we needed to form teams of about 4 students, who each fill in a different role: the role of the VP Sales, VP SCM, VP Operations and the VP Purchasing. Each team is responsible for the supply chain management of the fictitious fruit juices producer The Fresh Connection. The challenge is to optimize the supply chain of The Fresh Connection. In 6 weekly rounds, each team takes decisions.
During a first Friday drink, four students decided to team up and subscribe … The roles were divided as follows, with the help of a few straws:
- VP SCM – Peter
- VP Operations – Sam
- VP Purchasing – Tom
- VP Sales – Bart
Full of enthusiasm and good ideas, we started the first round. Our strategy was to change only a few parameters to see the effect, but, given the number of buttons we could use, off course in the end we changed everything. The result of the first round clearly hit us hard, an ROI of -30.92 %. We were convinced that we had to improve this result and started developing some models and calculations to optimize the supply chain. Luckily, this worked out well, the result of the second round was -2.14 %. For some reason, we became greedy and convinced that we could do much better. Again a lot of parameters were changed with the side note that 75% of the team was in China and 25% in Africa (so you can imagine the level of coordination between the different functions). The result, an ROI of -58,64 %. Finally, in round four, we were back with our feet on the ground and decided that from now on, our ROI should be positive. Even the payment of the subscription fee to Bart was depending on the result: the team would only repay their share once a positive ROI was reached. As have been taught in HR courses, great incentives will lead to great results. We removed a few products from our assortment, focused on fressiepressie, squeezed some suppliers and customers into better contracts and based our whole supply chain on the forecasted demand: the result was an astonishing ROI of 8.73 %. For round five we decided not to change too much, but continue on the basis we have set this far. This turned out to be a great success, round 5 ROI 16.18 %!
With this magnificent score, Team Apollo is today ranked first out of 15 amongst all international business schools with only one round left. The expectations are sky-high, our VP operations is convinced we can reach an ROI of 28% as a result of the sixth round. This Friday we will make the final decisions for our fruit company and on Monday (28/5/2012) around noon, we update you with the result.