This year Ewals Cargo Care has participated in The Fresh Connection Game 2013. The Fresh Connection is an international web-based business simulation game that challenges participants from a variety of business functions to work together as a team and to demonstrate and improve their knowledge of the Value Chain.

After a successful workshop in Etten-Leur, where the Ewals Cargo Care team qualified for the national competition, the real work started. The national competition consisted of three rounds and the team was placed in a group with six other companies (including companies such as Mars, AkzoNobel and Campina). In each round the teams needed to make aligned strategic and operational decisions in four different divisions of an orange juice-producing company, namely purchasing, operations, sales and supply chain.  

Before the team started with making tactical decisions in each division they determined their strategy. In weekly meetings, where every team member explained his intended operational decisions, they were able to keep each other informed and discuss various issues that occurred during the game. Full of confidence the team started with the 1st round of TFC, however the result was disappointing. Fact was that one of the suppliers of oranges in Brazil could not deliver for 12 weeks because of an earthquake. This incident taught the team that it’s better to hedge risks that can have a big influence on the operations. Luckily most of the other teams in the competition made the same mistake by underestimating risks in the supply chain and the Ewals Cargo Care team still made a chance to reach the national final.

In round two, where the team made the decision to have a back-up supplier for the oranges (this was not possible in round 1), the result was again not positive. This was mainly caused by a very long and late meeting where they made a small mistake in a spreadsheet for the calculation of manpower for the machines. This small mistake had a big impact on the overall result. It was a good learning experience that by looking with a fresh view at your work you can simply avoid unnecessary mistakes.

In the 3rd round the team was able to score a positive ROI of almost 2%, however this was not enough to qualify for the national final but it gave the team members the confirmation that they were able to make our company, TFC, profitable. Despite the fact that the Ewals Cargo Care team did not qualify for the national final, the participation was a nice challenge and gave them the possibility to learn of lot, including that it is essential for a company to work together and make decisions as one team without any boundaries between multiple divisions.