The Beer Game – Supply Chain Simulation

In Supply Chain project environments it is not uncommon that the project goals can be considered rather conceptual for the business key-users. Even when the key-users (or end-users alike) have a good sense they’re contributing to something valuable, the true benefits are hard for them to explain. How do you explain someone how integrated planning and planning across Supply Chain parties contributes to lower stocks and a nicer looking bottom line? Answer: let them experience it!

A classic way of teaching Supply Chain inefficiencies and how to avoid them is the Beer Game. In the Beer Game participants play an actor in a four stage supply chain (from raw material provider to retailer). Each participant’s aim is to fulfill incoming orders by making sure sufficient stock is available for supply. This usually leads to creating the bullwhip effect (small demand variations downstream lead to amplified variations upstream). This is a great way of letting users (but also consultants with more technical background) experience motions in the supply chain.

For detailed instructions on how to play, a primary source is The Beer Game Portal.

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