For the second year in a row, a team of Binghamton University students won the American Production and Inventory Control Society Supply Chain Competition, held in Albany. The team will be traveling to San Antonio, Texas in October to compete against teams from schools around the world.

The competition requires groups of students to analyze companies’ operations decisions that abide by smart supply chain strategies. Teams are judged based on a combined score of their performance on The Fresh Connection, a simulation software in which they make operations decisions such as amount of inventory on hand, machinery setup and packaging products.

BU brought two teams this year, which placed first and third. The first-place team consisted of students Jonathan Aranov, Barbara Perez, Liyang Tao and Sam Clarke, who also won last year. The third-place team included Amanda Martinez, David Wong and Lisa Appelbaum. The teams were formed from students in Supply Chain Management 480A: Problem Solving in Supply Chain, offered as a one-credit course at BU.

Aranov said that his team worked well together and that he enjoyed representing BU.

“This competition revealed to me the beauty of teamwork when everyone on a team is willing to put all their effort toward a common goal,” said Aranov, a junior majoring in accounting. “As someone who is a firm believer in the value provided by state schools like [Binghamton University], it is a thrill to be able to contribute to [Binghamton University’s] growing reputation through wins like this one.”

This is the second year in a row that a BU undergraduate team beat a graduate team for the grand competition in Albany, and BU teams have placed in the top three for the past four years.

Donald Sheldon, a lecturer in the School of Management, mentored the students. He teaches the course, which is offered only in the fall and designed to prepare students for this American Production and Inventory Control Society competition. The local professional Southern Tier chapter of the society sponsors student expenses for the two-day competition in Albany and the class continues to practice after the fall semester is over.

Sheldon said he teaches the course to generate more student interest in operations management and recruits from his Management Operations 311 course.

“I only accept students that are willing to work hard, no other criteria,” Sheldon said. “Our work has paid off with wins three out of the four years we have been involved.”

Clarke, a teaching assistant for Sheldon and a senior majoring in business administration, said he benefited from the competition because as a business student, it’s important to understand the supply chain and operations side of a business to be a better leader in a company.

“I enjoyed it because you learn something in class, and once you actually get to implement it and see its effect on business, the learning you get from that is 10 times the amount you would get out of a textbook,” Clarke said. “Last year our team made it to D.C. for the finals and we came in eighth place, but I couldn’t end it that way, so I told organizers I would be back next year and now we ended up winning.”