The Challenge Series
These Total Enterprise business simulations are designed to develop business acumen, financial understanding, build the team and understanding of how the functions relate and interact.
Each replicates a different industry to ensure relevance and an exploration of your organisation's issues.
Most are available for you to run in about a day.
The issues and financial & commercial aspects of each industry differ. If you run a service business, a generic manufacturing simulation will not be appropriate, relevant or engaging. Likewise, if you run a charity running a simulated bank will not be sensible. After all in the words of Gambro, the simulation should provide “an Exploration of How our Business Might Function Under YOUR Leadership”
Except fo the Training Challenge and the Professionals Challenge, all these simulations are available for you to run using your own staff or tame training providers. Running business simulations is not really about cost (although my rental fees are really good value). It is about transfer and relevance as illustrated by these comments:
"Training by Schneider employees was more about having local market knowledge than cost" Schneider Electric
"It went exceedingly well. I had the assistance of one of our senior leaders with the expertise in all aspects of banking. I think that really made a difference as we could hear how our bank does things as we went along." Wells Fargo.
"An easy to use simulation can provide a foundation for a successful learning initiative. Especially as this means that the learning initiative can be provided by a very experienced businessperson who can ensure the link between the simulation, the participant’s company and the issues facing it, thus ensure learning transfer." Director, People & Organisational Development, Gambro
All these simulations are for and have been used by all levels of staff from individual contributors, through junior and middle management to leaders.
The Business Acumen Simulations
|Learning (jump to more details)
Finance - Reports & Measures
Marketing - Pricing & Promotion
Product Mix & Contribution
Operational Control & Forecasting
Walk through how a simulation might be used on your course.
METHOD: After a short briefing the training group is divided into several teams of four or five learners. These teams consider the problem facing them and then make a series of decisions that are fed, by the tutor, into a microcomputer that simulates their effect. The results are returned for the team to analyse before making their next decisions. This decision-making cycle is repeated for at least six periods. At the end of the simulation phase the teams reunite to discuss and compare results.
NUMBER OF TEAMS: These simulations may be used with between two and eight teams that compete and, depending on the simulation, interact directly with each other. Thus you can use these business simulations with training groups of between eight and forty learners.
CUSTOMISATION: Although the standard simulations are appropriate for most businesses, where this is not so we can customise them easily at low cost. Examples of this are the Service Challenge modified to replicate a Casino; the Executive Challenge customised to replicate a medical company (learn more) and Distribution Challenge customised to replicate a distributor of electrical equipment (learn more).
The simulations involve running a complete business with decisions covering marketing, finance, operations and, where appropriate, business and product development. So, it is especially suited to help your learners appreciate the management of a complete company, its main functions and how they interact. In other words, these simulations help your learners understand the big picture and how to drive commercial success.
During the simulation, your learners will be concerned with creating a profitable, growing business that survives. They will develop an understanding of business purpose, how this is influenced by their decisions and how the objectives and measures interact. Thus your learners will participate in a results oriented, competitive activity.
Learners without management experience may be especially challenged by the need to deal with ambiguity and make decisions without perfect information and, where, some information is provided as qualitative comments about the business.
FINANCIAL REPORTS & MEASURES
The simulation introduces your learners to financial fundamentals (costing, Profit & Loss Account, the Balance Sheet, cash flow and key ratios). Optionally, using the work sheets provided, your learners can test their understanding by preparing the financial reports manually. For more advanced use, the Progressive and Compleat versions provide information on break-even, profit analysis and economic value added.
MARKETING - PRICING & PROMOTION
Learners decide, for each product or market sector how to influence current and prospective customers. Besides considering how customers will respond, they must consider the effect of the competitors' actions and the financial and operational consequences of their decisions.
Optionally, using the tutor's audit, the trainer running the simulation can provide market research to help teams identify the responses of the markets to their decisions.
PRODUCT MIX & CONTRIBUTION
Although only selling a few products or serving a few markets, your learners need to decide how each of these contribute to the business's profitability, growth and cash flow. (For more advanced use, an optional report shows each product on a profit or investment centre basis and, where appropriate, the manufacturing/operational facility on a cost centre basis.)
OPERATIONAL CONTROL & FORECASTING
With decisions covering production levels and capacity, your learners must forecast sales and plan their capacity and resource levels. This must take into account the uncertainties of the impact of marketing decisions, competitive actions and the dynamics of the market-place. Also, teams must take a long term view.
With your learners working in small teams, they have the opportunity to share experience and knowledge, present and promote different viewpoints, and develop their people skills.
With your learners working in small teams, they have the opportunity to share experience and knowledge, present and promote different viewpoints, and develop their people skills. And. importantly. learn from each other.
Optionally, at the end of the simulation, your learners can be asked to make a formal board presentation covering objectives, strategies, process, the future (of the simulated business) and learning.