Big win for Canadian students

by Emily Atkins

Two teams of students in the Master of Science program (Global Supply Chain Management and International Logistics) at HEC Montréal took first and second place in a global APICS student case study competition, The Fresh Connection Global Challenge.

The Canadian teams, both from Montreal, beat more than 400 teams from around the world in two different qualifying streams to reach the final.

The first place team, “Juice in time”, was Léonard Vincent, Stewart Soh, Vanessa Dalpé, Francis Lapointe, and Sami Birem. The second place team was “Go JIT”; its members were Jingshu Liu, Jing Jin, and Kaiqi Shu.

For the preliminary rounds, APICS regions hosted student case study contests, and there was also a global online challenge. Both routes could lead teams to the global final.

In January 2015 HEC’s team “Juice in Time” took the Canadian regional championship, securing a place in the final in Las Vegas this October. In May, the second team from HEC, “Go JIT”, took the North American online challenge title, also ensuring their place in the final.

In Las Vegas the competition consisted of two rounds, a virtual company simulation that was worth 67 percent of the total score, and a second round in which the top teams after round one presented a strategy to a panel of judges in front of 300 APICS conference participants.

For the third year in a row, APICS is using the simulation “The Fresh Connection” (TFC) for the Global Final instead of classical case study. According to the TFC website, it’s the “world’s best professional SCM training tool”.

Team members have to cover four functions: Purchasing, Operations, Sales, and Supply Chain. They must work together in order to align all activities and decisions across the functions, with the focus on bottom-line profitability. More information on the challenge is available at:

Teams had to run a virtual company. At the beginning the company is in a very difficult situation with a ROI of negative eight percent. The mission is to save the company and get the ROI as high as possible.

In two days, all 13 finalists completed four rounds of simulation. After this, the top teams had to present their strategy, findings, and lessons learned in front of judges and conference participants.

The two HEC teams came out on top, in first and second place.

“Such an incredible achievement is the result of two years hard work and close collaboration between APICS Montreal Chapter, HEC Montreal and APICS District Canada,” said Nicolai Rassolov, vice-president, communications/membership/marketing for the APICS Montreal Chapter and material manager at Galderma Production, who was one of the students’ advisors.

“Each decision for the next step was taken thanks to lessons learned from past experience. Each little improvement in preparation contributed to this success.”

Other coaches for the two HEC teams were Yossiri Adulyasak, and Julie Paquette, both assistant professors in the Department of Logistics and Operations Management, HEC Montreal.

The teams also want to thank Helene Giroux, director of the Department of Logistics and Operations Management at HEC Montreal, the APICS Montreal Chapter board and the APICS Canada board.