The Lean Learning Center, one of the most recognized and premier providers of lean consulting and transformation services in the world, announced August 20 the availability of their version of The Beer Game – a new educational product to move a company's lean transformation journey forward and produce sustainable results.

 

The Beer Game is a logistics game that was originally developed by MIT in the 1960s and has since been played all over the world by people at all levels, from students to presidents of large multinational corporations. It was developed to demonstrate a number of key principles of supply chain management.

 

"Participants put forth their best efforts within their supply chain to satisfy their customer's weekly beer demand while maintaining low operational costs," said Jamie Flinchbaugh, co-founder and partner. "They usually do not achieve the successful results that they have strategized within their operations and this moves to the central question of the game, which is why participants achieved undesirable results. They soon learn that bad systems will beat good people every time."

 

The game is played by two teams of at least four players, often in heated competition, and is designed to flow quickly. The Beer Game simulation and accompanying basic foundational systems debrief content can be completed in less than three hours. The package also includes a brief 30-minute optional supply chain management curriculum that should be presented immediately following the foundational systems debrief. The optional content is recommended for organizations that wish to develop a deeper understanding of supply chain concepts.

 

The simulation begins by immersing participants into a poorly-designed system for which they have limited information. A healthy "fun factor" encourages learning as participants fulfill the roles of factory, distributor, wholesaler or retailer within the beer supply chain. The purpose of the game is to satisfy weekly customer demand for cases of beer. Participants must manage their individual operations while working to minimize costs within a multi-stage supply chain that is complete with real-world constraints which will contribute to the strategies and operational decisions selected by participants.

 

"Every organization experiences undesirable results, but few truly understand what actions are required to implement change and obtain desirable and sustainable results," said Andy Carlino, co-founder and partner. "The Beer Game arms participants with the knowledge necessary to identify and attack inefficient operational systems."

 

Although the value of managing each component of the supply chain in order to maximize customer service and profits is clear, the value of taking an integrated approach to managing the entire supply chain is not always so obvious. Strategies for analyzing the intricacies of systems that cannot be easily seen at the surface level are revealed during an interactive and dynamic debriefing session at the completion of the game.

 

The Lean Learning Center's Beer Game is designed with two separate but complementary content focuses.

 

Foundational Systems Curriculum – Learners gain a foundational understanding of the interconnected elements that are compiled into a system; specifically, how activities, connections and flows contribute to results. The curriculum is designed to appeal to a variety of audiences including organizations exploring the lean journey, organizations new to the journey that are focused on establishing knowledge, and organizations that have been pursuing the journey for some time and are advanced in their lean efforts.

 

Enhanced Supply Chain Content – Not intended as stand-alone curriculum, this enhancement is ideal for learners with a focused interest in supply chain system dynamics. It builds upon the Foundational Systems Curriculum and uses the events experienced throughout the simulation to dive deeper into the intricacies of system dynamics and supply chains. Because the content builds upon the foundational curriculum, it should be delivered in conjunction with the systems content.

 

To allow for maximum flexibility, purchasers of the Lean Learning Center's Beer Game are given a license that permits an organization to facilitate the simulation as often as needed and for any number of participants. The training package accommodates up to 16 players. For organizations that will facilitate larger groups, additional game kits are offered at a reduced rate.

 

To order, visit www.leanlearningcenter.com/products/orderform.cfm.

 

About the Lean Learning Center

The Lean Learning Center is one of the most recognized and premier lean consultants in the world. With on-site assessment and consulting at client locations, an adult-learning-designed center in Michigan and custom curriculum developed through an Instructional Design Studio, the Center brings unique lean understanding in creative ways to executives, managers, supervisors, change agents and front-line employees at clients including Fortune 500 companies in a range of industries. The company combines a unique learning environment with teaching techniques that facilitate discovery to drive cultural and organizational transformation resulting in maximum sustained performance. For more information on the Beer Game and the Lean Learning Center, contact info@leanlearningcenter.com or visit www.leanlearningcenter.com.