Hi there! It’s me, Nok. It’s my turn to share my experience here at Cranfield with you guys once again. Hope you enjoy my blog! 🙂

It’s been 5 weeks like my friend, Chang, mentioned. Well, actually we’re starting our 6th week now. If you want to know, the exams are coming up in a month or so. Scary! (At Cranfield, each term has around 11 – 12 weeks. Classes are in the first 10 weeks and exams are in either week 11 or 12). Alright enough with silly chit-chat, let’s move on to real stuffs.

The path to our School of Management (SoM) building. It’s an autumn here :)

The path to our School of Management (SoM) building. It’s an autumn here 🙂

It was a harsh week for Logistics and Supply Chain Management students last week. We had quite a few activities and workshops to attend. First one was the Global Supply Chain Game. Each of us was given a case pack consisting of information about a company with 4 products, suppliers for the products, raw material costs, transportation costs, warehouse costs, lead time, capacity of a container to fit our products in, and locations of distribution centers and warehouses, for instance. The objective was to source materials from around the world (China, India, Morocco, Romania, and Italy) and supply to our customers. It should be done in a way that minimized costs and optimized profits.

To achieve that we had to punch down numbers to calculate costs, to find out which suppliers offered the lowest price quotations and which methods of transportation and storage were the cheapest to distribute our products through. We also had to calculate when and how much to order products. Here, we had to consider the lead time it took and compare with the demand forecasts given to us.

Before the game. Everyone was still laid back and didn’t know what to come yet ;)

Before the game. Everyone was still laid back and didn’t know what to come yet 😉

The game was run in rounds; each round had 8 weeks and we played up to 64 weeks. In each round, we had to input the amount we wanted to order into a computer platform. Once rounds were closed, we could no longer make changes to the closed weeks. In addition, actual sales and demands would be projected and results of how we did would be shown. This meant we had to ensure that we ordered enough quantities and in time for the demands.

The game took up to 10 hours. We got around 8 hours to complete all these analyses and play the game. Another 2 hours was for presenting our strategies used and lessons learnt to the class. It was a stressful 10-hours session; however, we’ve learnt so much from it. It gave us the chance to apply all the concepts we studied in class, and learn through hands-on experience. We came to realize that sometimes lean strategy (zero-inventory) might not be a ‘one-size fits all’ for all 4 products we’ve got. And it might not be the cheapest way to manage a supply chain.

Group presentation of what they achieved and earned from this game

Group presentation of what they achieved and earned from this game

Another group. Each group had learnt and accomplished different things. It was a brilliant sharing.

Another group. Each group had learnt and accomplished different things. It was a brilliant sharing.

Personally, even though I made so many mistakes throughout the game, but I still find it to be very educative. It was a great and valuable experience to me. I enjoyed it a lot!

Another interesting activity was the reverse E-auction. Each learning team was assigned as a supplier (seller) who participated in an E-auction, aiming to win the buyer’s bid. It was a reverse auction, as there was only a sole buyer but various suppliers. Each company would have different cost structures. Some might have low production costs. It meant they had a higher chance to win the bid by offering low price. Well, my group got a company with quite a high cost, so we couldn’t really compete with them. Otherwise, we’d make a loss. Still, it was an awesome workshop, because the company who was in the E-auction industry came to Cranfield to actually set this auction up for us. Therefore, it felt very realistic and we got to a good opportunity to use the real E-auction plat form.

After the auction, results of biddings were summarized and explained to us by the professional E-auction host.

After the auction, results of bidding were summarized and explained to us by the professional E-auction host.

Oh yeah, we also had a Bowling Night on Tuesday! I believe Chang had already shared that with you guys. So I’m just gonna leave you with some more photos here.

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Look at that, it’s a strike!

Look at that, it’s a strike!

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It was a packed week, right? But we had so much fun! I gotta go now. So, till next time 🙂

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