A team of six senior Department of Forest and Wood Science students once again represented Stellenbosch University at the 2018 International Wood Supply Game. Despite tough competition from very experienced teams across the world, the Maties managed a very credible third place out of seven teams. In fact, they only missed the second spot by two points out of roughly 500.
The Game was created in 2000 to simulate the operations in the forest product supply chain. In the forest industry, the value creation cycle from forest to end customer is long and complex. Each enterprise in the value creation network is an independent decision making unit and this can result in a lack of synchronization of operations. Information is an important tool when managing the value creation network. Incomplete and incorrect information causes delivery problems and customer dissatisfaction. The Game simulates operations in the forest product supply chain in order to demonstrate the dynamics at work in the value creation network and shows the importance of information sharing.
Each game is played with a maximum of seven people, each responsible for the management of one enterprise in the network. Each round in the game represents one week and each game is between 25 and 50 weeks long. The supply chain is represented by different downstream business units of the end customer and the divergent nature of the forest products industry supply chain is simulated in the game with players trying to minimize inventory and backorder costs.
Universities represented at this year's game were Sweden Agricultural University, University of Laval (x2), Stellenbosch University, the University of Helsinki and the University of Zayed, UAE. Thanks to Prof. Ackerman and the organizing committee for the opportunity, as well as Jacques Malan for being instrumental in developing the team strategy.
Image: All Eyes on the Screen - The Maties Team: (FLTR) Zimbili Sibiya, Ashlee Prins, Jacques Malan (captain), Marius Terblanche, Hugo Lambrecht, Prof. Pierre Ackerman and Mr Simon Ackerman. Missing: Trevor van Groeningen and Ben van Heerden