The business simulation is a training program where participants experience running a fictitious (but realistic) manufacturing business. It can be conducted virtually or face-to-face. Working in competing companies, the participants draw upon their collective knowledge and experience to operate profitably. The simulation helps delegates sharpen their business acumen and technical knowledge while developing crucial interpersonal skills – leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork and decision-making skills. Giving them a strong sense of some of the daily challenges and decisions their clients and own companies face, the simulation enables the players to “walk in the shoes of their customers”.
The simulation requires 5 teams of 2–5 participants per team, all manufacturing the same product. They compete with each other over 4–6 rounds. Issued with a manual, detailed company financial statements and a budget, the companies brainstorm their strategy and decide how to allocate their funds. Decisions are made, input to the simulator and processed.
After each round, P&L and Balance Sheet statements are issued for each company, producing a competitive league table. The teams analyse their financial data and set about refining their financial decisions to improve their profitability over the ensuing rounds. Unforeseen conditions – economic, political, social – are injected into the game at various stages to simulate the “real world”. These circumstances can drastically affect the financial viability of some (if not all) of the companies.
While each simulation competition is unique and produces its own challenges, team dynamics, decisions and results, the life cycle of a fully-blown simulation will generally flow as follows:
Financial and market analysis; focus on domestic markets; development of business strategy; team strengths and gaps
Export markets opportunities open; global economic crises unfold; strategy revision and production adjustments; banking relationships and credit facilities under pressure
Economic disarray amidst collapsing demand; strategy pivot; realigning financial targets; regrouping team
Business slowly recovers, with companies beginning to realise revenues while competing vigorously for reduced demand. The competition winner is announced and the strategies revealed and compared.
By participating in the business simulation, delegates can expect to hone their skills and knowledge in the following areas:
- Business acumen, by following a logical progression that helps them make the right decisions to drive the best results for their company, stakeholders and clients
- Financial literacy, by analysing, discussing and interpreting complex financial data that drives their decision-making in key areas such as pricing, production, cashflow and liquidity management, marketing and PR, transportation and storage
As the simulation can be incorporated and integrated into a variety of behavioural and technical courses (e.g. Negotiation Skills, Leadership Skills, Pitching, Client Relationship Management, Credit Programs), we are able to customise elements of the activity to bring the requirement for these skills to life. This enables the trainers to link course objectives, and debriefing and new content to experiences generated during the simulation activity. Hence delegates can, expect to develop skills in the specific subject matter of the course, such as:
- Enhanced self-awareness of leadership style and team management skills.
- Greater appreciation of Emotional Intelligence and improved ability to manage conflict situations.
- Greater awareness and control over negotiating situations, and ability to prepare for and optimise outcomes of such encounters.
- Enhanced ability to recognise and capitalise on the unique strengths of team members, thereby increasing individual and team motivation and productivity
- Greater appreciation of the challenges faced by clients, thereby enhancing the quality and value of client conversations.