Decision-making in supply chains is notoriously difficult. Lack of visibility can cause increasingly variable orders, even in industries with relatively stable demand. Teams of students experience these challenges for themselves, then explore strategies to help minimize costs and improve communication across the supply chain.
In this multiplayer simulation, each team of students is comprised of a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, and retailer. Teams compete against one another to manage their supply chains successfully, minimizing costs over 30 simulated weeks. Students are measured against their counterparts on other teams: the retailers from all teams are scored against each other, the wholesalers from all teams are scored against each other, etc.
Teams must cope with variable demand, lead times, modes of transport, inventory-carrying costs, stock-out costs, and incomplete information across the supply chain. Instructors determine whether or not members of each team are able to share information with each other — regarding inventory on hand, incoming shipments, and demand — so that students may choose to work together to streamline their supply chain. In addition, instructors determine whether information-sharing comes with a cost.
- Experience the bullwhip effect, where orders become increasingly volatile as they move upstream
- Understand the causes, consequences, and counterstrategies for the bullwhip effect
- Explore the challenges of inventory management in a dynamic environment with limited access to information
- Demonstrate that incorporating lead time flexibility into a supply chain can enhance a firm’s performance and flexibility
- Bullwhip Effect
- Inventory Control
- Supply Chain Visibility
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