Phoenix rises from ashes in training game
By LOK WONG
INVESTING in expensive product quality control and environmentally sound waste management paid off for the Australian winners of the Regional Management Game - a computer-based management training competition.
The winners, Australia's independent Phoenix team, took a strong lead in the third and fourth rounds, despite lagging earlier in the competition.
The Hong Kong team came a close second with $44.53 million in accumulated profits and the Macau team was third with $42.81 million, but the Australian side took the regional trophy for a second time with a grand total of $46.37 million.
Other competitors included India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Champion teams from Europe also competed in the annual competition in an unofficial capacity.
The winning Phoenix team invested in expensive quality control after one of its products, chocolate milk, went sour on the shelf and retailers blamed the company.
The team's quality control manager, Erik Loigom, who works for BASF, said: 'We know companies [which] didn't [invest in quality control] had a bit of a problem.' The team's hefty investment of $400,000 on improving waste from its plant was profitable in the long-run after complaints that excess nitrogen was being emitted.
Team member Len Woodman who works in Australia's automotive industry said the environmental issues incorporated in the game reflected the fact that efficiency depended on good waste management.
'It shows companies can make money by better waste management . . . less waste, more efficiency,' he said.
Team leader Linda Wilson, a self-employed management consultant, said that the Phoenix team had been able to 'relate to people'.
'Management is more than just a formula,' she said.
In the Australian rounds of the competition Phoenix beat last year's Asian champion, which developed a reputation as 'computer modellers'.
The previous computer game, SIMBA 5, emphasised quantitative skills while this year's SINEW 3 contained more realistic 'unpredictable factors' and 'human elements'.