It was a battle of wits and speed at SIM University (UniSIM) on 30 September 2016, when students from institutes of higher learning in the South East Asia region gathered on UniSIM's campus for the semi-final and grand final of the Enterprise Resource Management Challenge (ERMC) 2016. Among the semi-finalists were three teams from UniSIM, viz., JEKSS, Spirits and Spiky.
ERMC, an annual business competition co-organised by UniSIM's School of Science and Technology (SST), SAP and Monsoon Academy, aims to encourage students to learn about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) via gamification and to incubate future ERP talents. Through the fun and interactive cloud-based Monsoon Simulation (MonsoonSIM) platform, the students experience managing virtual companies in real time, and learn how 12 different business modules – production, material requirements planning, warehousing and logistics, forecasting, procurement, asset maintenance, retail, wholesaling, marketing, customer service, human resources and finance – are interlinked.
More than 1,500 students from over 45 universities in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – a three-fold increase in the number of participants from last year's inaugural edition of the competition – have been competing in teams of five since the beginning of 2016. The teams worked towards the objective of running a successful virtual enterprise as they applied the business concepts they had picked up, and reacted quickly to situations based on practical constraints, similar to real-life situations. The judging criteria included the execution of the strategy, the productivity and profitability of the business, and teamwork. Following multiple campus playoff and country playoff rounds, 18 teams – two each from Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, and six each from Malaysia and Singapore – qualified for the semi-final.
Delivering the opening address before the semi-finals kicked off, Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President of UniSIM, spoke of the challenges and uncertainties that many world economies would face. He emphasised to the participants that the competition was more than just a game, and that they would gain useful real-world horizontal skills which they could apply in various aspects of their lives. Professor Cheong also shared that, as an applied university, UniSIM hoped that this challenge would help raise the awareness of ERP, and that the University would continue to adopt different methods, including certifications and simulation games, to bring its students closer to the marketplace.
After a highly intense morning which saw the semi-finalist teams compete over 160 virtual days, eight teams, including UniSIM's JEKSS, moved on to vie for the top prizes in the final held that afternoon. The panel of judges, comprising Ms Liz Dwyer, Head of SAP User Adoption Services, SAP SuccessFactors, Asia Pacific Japan; Mr Leslie Loh, Managing Director of Red Dot Ventures and Chief Executive Officer of Lithan; and Mr Ebenezer Thomas, Business Development Specialist at Surbana Jurong Pte Ltd, had a difficult time ranking the teams which were all very strong. They finally decided on Brainy from Kasetsart University, Thailand; Panda from Prasetiya Mulya University; Indonesia; and Dream Team from Thai-Nichi Institute of Technology, Thailand, as the winning, 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up, respectively.
The top eight teams were presented with a total of S$9,000 worth of prize money, sponsored by SAP South East Asia – a long-term partner of UniSIM supporting its Information and Communication Technology programmes through the offering of SAP certification courses.
Other UniSIM representatives who attended the event included Professor Tsui Kai Chong, Provost of UniSIM, who presented the tokens of appreciation and the closing address; Associate Professor Attallah Samir, Dean of SST, who presented the trophies and prizes; and other faculty members who gave out the certificates.
The day concluded with a networking dinner hosted by UniSIM, which gave all participants more time to interact after the competition.
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat speaking with the participants prior to the semi-finals. Dr Paul Wu, Head of the Information and Communication Technology programme at UniSIM, briefing the participants.
The participants in full concentration and racing against the clock.
(From left) Ms Liz Dwyer, Mr Leslie Loh and Mr Ebenezer Thomas listening intently to the student presentations.
Well done to the girls of Team JEKSS – the only team from UniSIM to make it to the final,
who received their prize from Mr Alex Ong (3rd from left), Director of MonsoonSIM Singapore.
Professor Tsui Kai Chong (left) presenting a token of appreciation to Mr Abdy Taminsyah, President of Monsoon Academy.