Supply Chain Management Simulation: Root Beer Game

by Harvard Business School Publishing and Forio

Root Beer Game Simulation Details

Based on the classic Beer Game developed by Jay Forrester at MIT, this team-based simulation portrays a supply chain with four links: factory, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer. Each student manages one link in the chain. At each stage of the distribution process, students face order processing challenges and shipping lags as well as central stock management problems.

The Story

Working in teams of four, students manage a Root Beer supply chain for up to thirty-five simulated weeks. Each week, students examine inventory, anticipate demand, and send orders to the adjacent connection in the supply chain. Students work together to minimize inventory holding costs while avoiding inventory shortages.

See How the Simulation is Played
Learning Focus
  • Develop intuition for the bullwhip effect, and explore techniques for controlling it
  • Experiment with demand forecasting, lead times, and batch ordering
  • Understand the importance of visibility and communication in the supply chain
Topics Covered
  • Supply Chain
  • Order to Delivery Time
  • Inventory Management
  • Value Chain Management
Additional Information

1 to 3 hours including introduction and debrief