The business acumen simulation for distribution companies

Distribution Challenge
the business acumen simulation for distribution companies











Site Map

Contact Us

DISTRIBUTION CHALLENGE replicates a distribution business selling three ranges of product (domestic, fashion and contract) with decisions covering percent markup, gross purchases, transport, selling effort and supplier payment.

This simulation is one of a range of business acumen simulations exploring the issues facing manufacturing, service, retail, distribution, banking, training, professional services and not-for-profit industries.


Key Learning


Manner of Use


Walk through how this simulation might be used on your course.


KEY LEARNING: The simulation covers these issues:

However, the scenario and decisions reflect the issues facing the differing industries.

DURATION: Approximately one day (although they can be run, in an accelerated manner, in half a day).

TARGET AUDIENCE: The simulation is designed to be used by trainees, junior management to middle management, functional specialists and supervisors. Or, abbreviated or with additional tasks, with senior management.

METHOD: After a short briefing the training group is divided into several teams of four or five participants. 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: The simulation may be used with between two and eight teams that compete and interact directly with each other.

AVAILABILITY: This simulation is available off-the-shelf and a comprehensive Trainer's Pack is provided allowing trainers with little or no experience with simulations to run the simulations.



The simulation involves running a complete retail business with decisions covering percent markup, product range purchases, numbers of selling staff, advertising and the time taken to pay suppliers.


During the simulation, participants 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.

Participants 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.


The simulation introduces participants to financial fundamentals (Profit & Loss Account, the Balance Sheet, cash flow and key ratios).

Optionally, using the work sheets provided, participants can test their understanding by preparing the financial reports manually.

For more advanced use, advanced versions (Progressive and Compleat) provide information on break-even, profit analysis and economic value added.


The retail outlet sells three ranges of products (staples, fashion and big ticket) each with different sensitivities to price and needs in terms of variety and selling support. Besides passing trade, teams must decide how much to spend on advertising to promote their business. Finally, teams must consider competitors' actions and the financial and operational consequences of their pricing decisions.

Optionally, using the tutor's audit, the trainer running the simulation can provide market research.


Optionally, at the end of the simulation, teams can be asked for make a formal board presentation covering objectives, strategies, process, the future (of the simulated business) and learning.



This simulation is available for company training on a per course rental basis (rather than on a per participant basis) and for academic (university) and school use on a per course and an annual unlimited use basis. For you convenience you can pay in pounds sterling (), US Dollars () or Euros.

Learn more about the rental process

Training Type


Company Training




Academic (single course)




Academic (annual use)




School (single course)




School (annual license)





  1. Single company training course is up to 30 participants Beyond that for each group of 30 a copy of the business simulation must be rented.

  2. Rentals in the UK and the European Union will incur VAT (Value Added Tax) at 20%. For the rest of the world VAT is not charged.

  3. Company Training use is invoiced after successful use. Academic and School use is invoiced before use.


This business simulation can be used:


Documentation is provided separately for the UK and US Versions MS Word format and comprises:

A Participants' Manual that provides, for the participants. a description of the simulation, a description of their task and how to use the software.

The Background Notes describe the simulation for the trainer. (Please contact us to receive a copy of these).

The Decision Forms are the forms used to communicate a team's decisions to the trainer.

The Work Sheets are optional and are provided to allow participants to create manually the financial reports from the Preliminary Results and the Previous Period's Results.

The Reporting Pack documents the reports produced by all versions of the simulation. (Our design approach means that it is very easy to change these reports to reflect those your company/industry uses, training needs and business issues.)

Using the Simulator provides, for the trainer (and computer support staff), information about installing the simulation and the use of the software.

Running the Simulation provides, for the trainer, information about running the simulation.

Briefing is a MS Power Point briefing explaining the simulation to the participants. (You may find it useful if you review this before reading the briefs.)

UK Versions US Versions
Participants' Manual Download size 74k bytes Download size 74k bytes
Decision Forms Download size 23k bytes Download size 28k bytes
Using the Simulator
Running the Simulation Download 98k Bytes Download 98k Bytes
Briefing Download 38k Bytes Download 38k Bytes


This is provided to allow you to download an evaluation version of the simulation.

The table below shows the files to download, their description and size. You should copy them to a folder, a USB Flash Drive or even to floppy discs! Run setup.exe. The program will then install.

If, instead of installing from the Web, you are installing from the CD-ROM version of this resource you can install directly by clicking setup.exe and opening the file.

Note: When downloading the setup.lst file you must right click and then select Save As. (If you left click the file will open - this is a feature of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.)

File Description Size
setup.exe Installation Program 137 Kbytes
Setup.lst Installation Data 5 Kbytes Simulator Files (1) 2,330 Kbytes

Go to main site home page
Goto top of page Contact us
2001 & 2011 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 12/09/13
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail