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South African team takes on supply chain global challenge

South African Aerosud team in action at The Fresh Connection Global Final

A team of South African supply chain professionals will be in Lisbon to participate in an innovative business simulation game that is delivering big benefits for companies around the world.

The event, named ‘The Fresh Connection’ was launched in South Africa in 2010 by leading Southern African supply chain and operations management association (SAPICS.

“To date, The Fresh Connection has been experienced by more than 12 000 professionals in 600 companies and 12 000 students in 100 universities across the world,” revealed SAPICS president, Mungo Park. “Businesses benefiting from The Fresh Connection include Fortune 500 multinational manufacturing businesses,” he added.

A supplier of manufacturing solutions for the aviation industry, qualified to compete against teams from around the world.

“On arriving at the global final, our team from South Africa felt like they were the underdogs, but they soon overcame their reservations when they emerged as the top team in the first two rounds of the challenge, with the highest return on investment achieved for their virtual company,” Park said.

The South Africans finished the global challenge in 5th place.

According to SAPICS, a supply chain needs the collaboration of team members from across the organisation for optimal performance. Breaking down silos and creating the right cross-functional mindset, however, can be a major challenge.

“The Fresh Connection is a unique supply chain management training tool designed to equip participants with the skills to rise to certain challenges,”

“In the ‘game’, company and individual teams, each comprising four members, participate in web-based challenges and compete against other international teams. They must make the best strategic and tactical choices to save a virtual company, The Fresh Connection, from financial ruin.

“Each function – including supply chain management, sales, purchasing and operations – can make a limited number of decisions and they must work together closely to positively impact return on investment.

“What makes the game even more interesting is that supply chain risks are randomly activated and can seriously harm the company if not mitigated against,” Park explained.


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