Thursday, 5 February 2009

World Champions from DB Schenker Poland

(Please note: this piece will be published in the interior international DB Schenker Newsletter)

Success of a five-strong team from
DB Schenker in Poland: our colleagues have won the Global Open Tournament 2008 and will shortly leave for Cannes to attend a gala presentation of awards.

MEMBERS of the victorious team
The team’s leader: Dariusz Subda - Financial Controlling Manager, Schenker Sp. z o.o.
Piotr Bąbel - Sales Manager in Kielce Branch, Schenker Sp. z o.o.
Mariusz Kozłowski - Development Project Manager, Schenker Sp. z o.o.
Rafał Tarasewicz - Project Manager, Schenker Sp. z o.o.
Arkadiusz Wojtas - Key Account & Tender Manager, Schenker Sp. z o.o.

The team’s name: LOGICART.

(on photo above, from left to right: Rafał Tarasewicz, Arkadiusz Wojtas, Dariusz Subda, Mariusz Kozłowski and Piotr Bąbel)

Global Open Tournament
Global Open Tournament is an international strategic game in which teams representing numerous companies compete for supremacy in the virtual economy. The Tournament is organised by
Business Game Factory, the world leader of the internet business games market. This year, the Tournament had its successive, 10th edition. Each edition of the Tournament attracts several hundred teams from companies active in various sectors of the economy and teams representing academic centres.

The game, which is a simulation of market operations, allows the participating teams to test the adopted strategies without getting exposed to a real risk. Additionally, the game offers the players a chance to learn and understand the business language, and to become acquainted with useful business indicators and factors decisive for the growth and profitability of enterprises.

”Every team, which comprises from three to five persons, assumes the role of a management board which is expected to run an international firm in a way that not only permits that firm to earn profits, but also to ensure it an advantage over rival companies. Essential, therefore, is the correctness of the taken decisions and the choice of a suitable strategy. The participating teams have to conduct thorough analyses based on facts, to properly analyse micro- and macroeconomic factors and to draw correct conclusions which make it possible to take strategic decisions concerning investments in the next twelve months and in the consecutive years of the firm’s virtual operation,” said Arkadiusz Wojtas, Key Account & Tender Manager at Schenker Sp. z o.o. and one of the members of the LOGICART team.

Also important are determination and the ability to answer many questions relating to various spheres of the firm’s operation. ”In
Global Open Tournament organised by Business Game Factory we had to take a look at the firm as a whole and to consider many aspects of its management. We had to decide how much money we would like to invest and for what purposes, how many products we would like to sell and where we should get them – from our own factories or from other manufacturers? We had to define the capacity to be achieved by our factories and to decide how many and what workers would be needed, how much money ought to be invested in their training and how much in the promotion of the firm’s trademark and products, and in marketing in order to ensure the highest profit achievable with the proposed level of prices. We also had to make predictions concerning the activities of rival companies,” noted Mariusz Kozłowski, Development Project Manager at Schenker Sp. z o.o.

The road to victory
Some 400 teams from various parts of the world participated in the game. The initial situation of all teams, which were divided into groups, was identical: they were given the task of managing similar firms active in the same sectors of the economy. At this stage of the game our colleagues from Schenker Sp. z o.o. competed in the sector of telecommunications and had to manage a company manufacturing and selling telecommunications equipment, infrastructure and services. The teams from each group competed in four rounds. Every round represented a year of a firm’s activity. The winners from each group – 38 teams in all, met in the semi-final round. Next, the best six teams, including the Polish team from Schenker Sp. z o.o., qualified to the final round of the tournament. The team representing DB Schenker competed in the final round against teams which represented the following firms: SKF Austria, Ericsson from Sweden, Accenture from Spain, Nordea from Latvia and Nokia from Hungary.

The verdict proved favourable for the Polish team representing DB Schenker. It proved to be the best and won the 10th edition of the
Global Open Tournament programme!
”The final round was not easy for the players due chiefly to the time limit. The competing teams had to swiftly analyse the market situation and to take decisions relating to many aspects of the firms’ operation, including the price, manufacturing, employment, investment and financial policy. In the final round we were given an hour and a half to analyse the market situation and to take some 100 decisions concerning all spheres of the firm’s operation. Victory in this global tournament depended on the correctness of the formulated decisions,” said Rafał Tarasewicz, Project Manager at Schenker Sp. z o.o.

Recipe for success
According to Dariusz Subda, Financial Controlling Manager at Schenker Sp. z o.o. and leader of the LOGICART team, several factors have contributed to its success:

”The fact that the team’s members represented different areas of business activity and could jointly draw on a wide range of experience and knowledge relating to various aspects of that activity – from financial matters, through sales and logistics to project management, was certainly an advantage. Apart from that we did our best to draw conclusions from any mistakes made in every round of the tournament and to continually make improvements in all these spheres that were crucial for the success of our virtual firm. We adopted a flexible approach and chose to swiftly react to the changing market situation, which proved fruitful.”

Rafał Tarasewicz, too, stressed the importance of the fact that the team’s members represented different areas of business activity “because this diversity and the abundance of concepts made it possible to form a group able to compete for the title of the tournament’s Winner!”

All members of the victorious team also stressed the importance of meticulous preparations for every round of the game. However, in their opinion the key to success was properly motivated team-work. “We proved able to act in concert. For although our opinions on many matters differed, we managed to draw conclusions from our earlier decisions and steps taken by rivals, and to give up individual ambitions and preferences. Thanks to this we have scored a success. It is evident that this was a correct strategy,” Mariusz Kozłowski noted.

“Our aim was to win. In order to win we had to play as a team. I think that our success can be described as the resultant of different (often divergent) opinions concerning the adoption of various decisions, for instance, financial ones,” added Piotr Bąbel, Sales Manager in Kielce Branch at Schenker Sp. z o.o.

(on photo above, from left to right: Arkadiusz Wojtas, Piotr Bąbel, Dariusz Subda, Rafał Tarasewicz and Mariusz Kozłowski)

Benefits of participation in the Tournament
In the opinion of the Tournament’s winners the most important benefit of participation in the
programme is the opportunity to enlarge one’s business knowledge, to look in a comprehensive way at an enterprise and processes, to grasp the relation between decisions pertaining to various aspects of a firm’s operation and its performance. Apart from that, participation in the game leads to the exchange of knowledge and experience between the players and increases the analytical and strategic abilities of individual team members and the team as a whole. Experience gained through the game will be used during the implementation of other projects in our firm.

The members of the LOGICART team also stress that the game was not only an opportunity to learn, but also an amusement and a challenge. It was an amusement because it provided an occasion for interesting discussions and closer contacts between persons forming the team. And it was a challenge because of strong competition and demanding tasks.

We wish the winners further successes and new interesting challenges and unforgettable moments in
Cannes! And above all we congratulate them on their victory!

Anna Majewska
Schenker Sp. z o.o.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

NOKIA TEAM: What Is Needed for Success in the BGF Business Tournament - the Story of Team Turing&Co

Success Factors for BGF Business Tournament:

- Motivation - Constant motivation is a must-have and the main key to success. In this case, while crunching numbers week after week it helped greatly to remember that we are on the road to Cannes.

- Crossfunctionality - The game demonstrates well the importance of not to sub-optimize but to think holistically, whereas the human nature tends to lure one to overemphasize the importance of his/her own functional area. Hence, a crossfunctional - or crossfunctionally minded - team is an asset.

- Time & Energy - For sure the game required significant amount of both, but at the same time it was even surprisingly enlightening, rewarding and fun. Especially understanding the starting position and the game overall in the beginning was crucial. The last rounds were already rather routine for us.

- Strategy, Analytics & Intuition - Managing a large multinational company is challenging and we kept wondering "What would Olli-Pekka (Nokia CEO) do". Having a clear direction (strategy), understanding the situation (hard core analytics) and coping with uncertainty (intuition) proved to be a winning recipe.

- Physical Fitness - Like in any professional sport, we believe that also in this game excellent physical fitness takes you far. Hence we combined finetuning our analytical skills with running and gym. We plan to continue our training program and to be very fit for the semi-finals and finals - and for the beach in Cannes!

Johanna Lampinen (Development Manager, DSN Design at NOKIA),

Maija Kaukonen (Manager, Lifecycle Management - Analysis at NOKIA),
& Pekka Kokko (Manager, Marketing Investment Management at NOKIA)

Friday, 19 December 2008

Warm Christmas Season Greetings and All The Best for a Wonderful New Year!

We at Business Game Factory are very glad to have shared another successful year with You. Everyone contributed a great deal to make this Tournament Year even more exciting. Once again, congratulations to the Finalists, who have done a tremendous job in their performance, excelling in their business acumen.

We have a thrilling surprise coming up next year, so watch this space!

As our Neighbour from The Arctic Circle - Santa - would say - Ho Ho Ho! MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! Hyvää Joulua!

And a prosperous New Year 2009. Let's make it a superb one!

See you soon!

Taavi Thiel, CEO at Business Game Factory Ltd.
Together with the BGF Team

AstraZeneca Japan – We made it through !!

This was the third opportunity for AstraZeneca Japan to participate in this Business Game and we became the first team to advance to semifinals!

What made the difference? Our strengths were –
· Variety of members from Finance, Marketing and Human Resources
· Weekly meetings for reviews and decisions throughout the competition.
· Guys who could enjoy the game!

Our team was from different divisions. Yoshihiko Terada is a Finance guy who works as a financial analyst, Hitoshi Ishigaki is a Marketeer who is in charge of Portfolio Strategic Planning in Oncology, Shinichiro Mori is also a Marketeer who is in charge of one of mega brands in Primary Care and Fumiyasu Sakogawa is an HR guy who coordinates trainings in our Manufacturing division. We have extremely different backgrounds and that diversity worked very well in allowing us to make decisions by influencing each other.

Also, we held weekly meetings, 3 hour meeting before submission and 1 hour meetings for result review. Feedback from the review meeting was well utilized for the next round submission. Every day we learn!

Finally, we have really enjoyed the game, as it was exciting and fun although it was tough. Business Game participation had been prioritised rather than anything else. This had to be the biggest reason why we could enjoy and concentrate through the game for two months! (sorry, bosses!)

We really enjoyed it and are looking forward to competing in the semifinals again in September 2009.

Our motto is – "On va gagner le Grand Prix! La fête à Cannes!!"

Sandvik SSD/SIT to the Semi-finals of BGF Business Tournament

The first international team in the BGF Business Tournament competition has been born and so far mother Fortuna has been on their side.

This team, GFG, consists of Sandvik employees (SSD/SIT) from both Germany and Sweden. Frank Siebenmorgen is from Germany, Maria Wesslegård and Per Hälsingdal are from Sweden.

The first round of the
Tournament which started in September 2008 is already over. Four business years have passed by and Maria, Frank and Per have made it to the semi-final next Autumn!

Something that might seem to be a difficulty is that they live and work in two different countries. They do not see each other in person so often. Instead of physical meetings, they communicate through telephone meetings and video conferences.
- It works very well to communicate by using this technology, Frank says.

Understanding strategy, economics and the drivers for a company are some of the challenges the teams have in the competition. According to the team, other challenges include taking the right deci­sions and trying to predict how the other teams will act in the different rounds. That is not easy, but they learn more and more as time passes by.

- We have learned how important it is to have a plan and to stick to it. Another thing that is essential is to listen to the Market Analysts, Per says.

They all have different roles in the competition, Per modestly says that his role is to make the other ones happy.

- Frank is the financial expert and he makes all the necessary analyses. Maria is the one questioning things and thinking in new directions.
- We all work perfectly well together, de­spite the geographic obstacle. And we all enjoy good discussions and we have a lot of fun as a team; and that is the most important thing, Maria says convincingly.

Per Hälsingdal
Current role: Global Transition Manager, SIT
Team role: We all share the roles, but I am the President.
Contribution to the team: To make everyone happy, to be active in discus­sions, book meetings, send in our result to the tournament arranger and ask silly questions. In other words, to do what is expected of a President!

Frank Siebenmorgen
Current role: Manager SSD & SIT Germany
Team role: We deal with the questions and decisions as a team, but I believe I am the Financial Manager.
Contribution to the team: To be an active part of discussions, do the techni­cal calculation of prices and sales volume estimates.

Maria Wesslegård
Current role: Special Service MES Manager, SSD
Team role: No specific role, a team player.
Contribution to the team: To take an active part of discussions, read all the material concerning the competition and come up with ideas for strategies and operations.

Abertis Championship winners!

The Lynx Team is a truly multinational team of 5 members. Our lynx spans from Bolivia (Eduardo) to France (Françoise) and Spain (Xavi, Jordi and Adria). We like the challenges and we managed to make lively and positive meetings/conference calls where all members added value from their unique angle.

Eduardo has a friendly way to say business is business and stick to the common sense. Spanish Xavi is always looking at the risks and tries to keep the four legs of the lynx on the ground. On the other hand, Jordi likes to think out of the box and stretch us towards bigger objectives, and Françoise always making us think again about the whole picture and the balanced scorecard! Finally, Adria likes Excel spreadsheets and likes to coordinate the meetings while crunching numbers. This melting pot has been capable of having a clear sight for victory! That is the Lynx.

Team Lynx proceeds to the BGF World Semi-final in September 2009!

From left to right: Jordi Bosom, Françoise Riou, Adria Canals, Eduardo Canelas and Xavi Serra.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Working instructions: How to go to Cannes-from SKF TEAM

Pat Benatar was singing "Love is a Battlefield" - which is of course true, by the way - but now we can sing "Business is a Battlefield" with no doubt. Alfred Hitchcock couldn't have made this World Final more thrilling. We can only describe what was going on here in Austria - but let us assume the very same scenarios were happening at the very same time in some specific places in Poland, Spain, Hungary, Latvia and Sweden.

After you successfully managed to beat a number of other teams out of the game in qualification round and semi-finals, you will be one out of six finalists - leftover from 300 teams which entered the BGF Global Tournament. In the world final, do as follows:

Tuesday afternoon...
Schedule a nice little meeting in the afternoon, starting at 3pm. Well, at 19:30 you will have to order some Pizza to keep the systems running. The meeting will be a heavy duty test for your coffee machine. At around 22:00 you will be already more clear about what to do. Finally you send in your decisions for the first round...

Wednesday afternoon...
Same as above. This is the time to realize - there is some serious competition. Refine your strategy and put up an action plan. The Pizza service will come in again at 19:00...

Thursday morning...
Starting at 07:00 you will need some fresh ideas to improve your business and somehow beat those ...aarrghh... competitors. Good sales and production alone won't win the game, pay enough dividends, motivate your employees.
From round to round you will come closer to the edges of your seats. The coffee machine will at this time be in continuous operation. Lunch is of course only sandwiches while you fight your battle...

Thursday afternoon...
Before you send in your decisions for the last round, you will already know that the final scores won't be far from each other - everything is still possible. Then at around 16:11 you will stare at your screen with eyes wide open - the relief... you will have to look at the results more than once to realize - your team has made it. Finishing in third place (optionally: first, second), you will be going to Cannes.

Friday morning...
Exchange nice mails with the other teams, have a look again at the pictures from previous award ceremonies, check if your dinner jacket still suits you, gear up your cigar depot and wait for BGF to book your flights...

Congratulations to the winners Schenker and second Accenture - be sure we will have a drink together in Cannes...
...and greetings to all from the third, team of SKF (Austria) - Erwin Übleis, Simon Blasl, Jörg Schlager and Klaus Zeppezauer

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

SEB's team Plastixxx in the BGF Semi Final: going the first step!

SEBs team Plastixxx contains of five enthusiastic members from Norway, who daily work in the credit card business.

- Although telecommunication is a rather different business from ours, I believe we have been able to use some of our experience and business understanding in the BGF-game, says Brian Malm, teamleader of Plastixxx. We found the game very realistic and exciting, and we had a lot of fun during the four decision making rounds.

- I believe we won our division mainly because we did a thorough job setting up the game strategy, and following it throughout the whole game.

- We had a lot of exiting discussions in the decision making, but it really took both time and effort to complete the decision sheets during each of the four rounds. But it paid of, and we are now headed for the semifinal in September 2009.

- Plastixx is a team with great ambitions, and we have strong faith in the forthcoming semifinal in September 2009. We are really looking forward to the next rounds of competition, and we expect nothing less than advancing to the final next year!

Picture: The Plastixxx team is (from the left) Øyvind Christie, Brian Malm, Hilde Fredheim Høgberg, Ole Kristian Duaas and Eivind Løvig.

Tomm-Fredrik Olsen, Head of Marketing, SEB Kort