Categorized | Industry News, SindoPower

Beer Distribution Game - Supply Chain Simulation (Bier Spiel)

Posted on 03 February 2014

 

 

Free Board Game Version for Companies and Universities. Download all required components from this site.

If you are interested in having a one-day beer distribution game session hosted at your company, feel free to contact us.

 

Supply Chain Management is especially important in Power Electronics due to the irregular cycles of high demand vs. over production which are mainly caused by the supply of wafers and chips.

Many companies make use of consultancy companies to simulate these effects and draw conclusions with the famous Beer Distribution Game.

Under the auspices of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Jacques Ammon, Jan-Patrick Mainka, and Christian Popp, in collaboration with Dr. Walter Demmelhuber, developed the card board game below for free-of-charge usage by anybody.

Please keep in mind that you are allowed to use the files below but the copyright itself is not transferred.

 

History

 

Former Professors of MIT Sloan School of Management invented the Beer Distribution Game to elucidate the key principles of supply chain management in early 1960s. The game is a simulation of a simple supply chain that trades cases of beer.

Core lesson of the Beer Distribution Game is to understand the distribution side dynamics. A multi-echelon supply chain with prohibited communication among the players and with only one person who knows the exact customer demand will lead to the so-called bullwhip effect.

The bullwhip effect often occurs in forecast-based distribution channels where customer orders may create heavy fluctuations within the supply chain of a distribution channel. The classic version of the Beer Distribution Game was designed to translate this effect into a simple simulation with at least four players.

However, this Beer Distribution Game is more complex and offers various scenarios to play. The supply chain is a completely integrated value-added chain that begins with a factory and continues with a regional warehouse, a retail house and finishes with a wholesale house. The cost structure is more complex and, due to classic supply chain management problems, it illustrates value-added chain position problems as well.

Students playing the Beer Distribution Game

Equipment to play 'one chain version'

Beer Game Playing Board

 

Download 'one chain version'

  • Manual
  • Game Guide
  • 200 plastic tokens (purchasable e.g. at Amazon)
  • Score Cards
  • Overview Cards
  • Demand Cards (front and back sides of cards for demand creation of retail customers)
  • Action Cards
  • Game Board * (print it either in several pieces on A4 or A3 or go to a professional copy shop which prints it on plastic 3m x 0,5 m)
  • 9-sided dice (e.g. Amazon) or if not available 6-sided
  • envelopes

* If you are having trouble downloading the Game Board in Firefox, click here for a possible solution.

Equipment to play 'multiple chain version'

Multiple Chain Beer Game

Download multiple chain version in one Zip-File

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at any time

 

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Beer Distribution Game - Supply Chain Simulation (Bier Spiel), 5.0 out of 6 based on 6 ratings

This post was written by:

- who has written 8 posts on PowerGuru – Power Electronics Information Portal.


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17 Responses

  1. avatar Elif says:

    Hi Donald, 

    I  want to play beer game to my collegues. If it is possible, Can you give me extra information about playing one cycle from begin to end?

    best regards,

    elif

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    • avatar PowerDahl says:

      Hello Elif,

      Have a look at the download links in this post.

      It includes a manual, game guide, and the items needed for playing the Beer Distribution Game.

      Feel free to post back if you have any other questions.

      Regards,

      Donald

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  2. avatar Phil Gallagher says:

    This looks great! I'm just a little confused by the Demand Cards... What are the Round 2-5, Round 6-15, and Round 16-52 cards used for? How are the cards in Demand 1 and Demand 2 used? Are they all shuffled together, or do the demand decks change as the game progresses?

    Thanks

    Phil

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  3. avatar Walter says:

    Hello Phil,

    the demand cards change over the rounds so the game starts in a more stable way and becomes instable over time.

    Does this answer your question?

    Regards, Walter

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  4. avatar Abdel Latef Anouze says:

    Hi Donald, 

    I  am teaching operation management course to undergraduate student, and I would like them to better understand supply management so I want to play beer game to my students. If it is possible, can you please give me an access and extra information about playing one cycle from begin to end?

    Warm Regards,

    Abdel 

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    • avatar PowerDahl says:

      Hello Abdel,

      Sorry I couldn't respond sooner.

      Section V of the game Manual and the Game Guide linked to in the article gives the general information needed to play.

      If you need more information, let me know. I can ask one of the authors of the game Manual to respond to you in more detail.

      Best regards,

      Donald

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  5. avatar Bobby says:

    Hi,

    I was trying to download the Game Board, but failed several times. Could yoiu please help me on this.

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  6. avatar Bobby says:

    Hi,

    Kindly help. I was trying to download the board game but I always get an error message. Please help.

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    • avatar PowerDahl says:

      Hi Bobby,

      As far as I can tell, this seems to be a Firefox issue. It might be because of the file size, but I have not yet found a definite answer.

      I was still able to save the image after clicking the link and receiving the error message in Firefox. Try the following if you are using Firefox:

      Click the download link, right click on the error message, select "View Image Info", and then "Save As...".

      Please post back to let us know if this solves the problem.

      Regards, Donald

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      • avatar Supermarible says:

        Hello!!

        Anybody can help me? I am going to introduce my students to Beergame to teach them the bullwhip effect and, it seems to be stupid, but I donot know what to do with the cards "round 2-15" and" round 16-52" in the template "Action Cards"

        Thanks and regards

        Maria

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  7. avatar Christian Popp says:

    Hi Bobby,

    which browser do you use? All downloads work fine for me with Chrome and Internet Explorer.

    To download the Game Board you have to click on the link to open the image in your browser. Then you can save the image on your computer (with right click on the picture --> save image as)

    Please let us now, then this do not work for you.

    Best Regards, Christian

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  8. avatar Clint says:

    Many people lose out on the fundamental lesson of the game.  It is about information flow.  Nearly every game results in chaos as the inventory piles up in the system (some Lean principles at play here, as well).  The inventory build up is a result of two things .... The relative score of back order (out of stock penalty) vs. excess inventory.  Since back orders are more punitive, they are avoided.  The second and more important driver is the (forced) lack of communication.  

    The key lesson is about the impact of starving your supply chain of key information (in this extremely simplified game! the end customer demand).  As a result, speculation abounds and significant waste occurs.  When you add the complexity of a real life supply chain with multiple parallel supplies, exponentially more information, competition for capacity and markets, it is a rude awakening about the value of information in the supply process.  Companies like Walmart and 3PL / 4PL providers like UPS understand this and that is why they tend to dominate their markets.

     

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  9. avatar PowerDahl says:

    The material needed to play a multiple chain version of the Beer Distribution Game was just added to this post.

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    • avatar Manuel says:

      Thanks for this last addition! Just what I needed. 

      Do you know of any good youtube video where I can see the process?

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      • avatar PowerDahl says:

        We're glad you found the additional material useful. There is no video demo for this particular version that I know of, but if you have any specific questions, feel free to post them here.

        BTW, we also posted a Beer Auction Game that you might also be interested in: http://www.powerguru.org/beer-game-auction/

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  10. avatar Matt says:

    Hi Guys,

    Firstly thanks very much for providing the beer game resources on your website, this is incredibly useful and I am hoping to run a session with some work colleagues.

    The only question I have is regarding the Incoming goods to the factory- please can you explain what the difference is between factory step 1 and factory step 2 and how these work in the running of the simulation?

    Thank you very much for your help,

    Regards,
    Matt

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    • avatar Walter says:

      Hello Matt,

      if you look at the game board and at Regional Warehouse (green) you see a green incoming goods field. At the same time to the right you see a blue outgoing goods field of the factory.

      Therefore between two Warehouses there are always two fields. Since the Factory is producing, this is not possible but two fields are necessary to keep the steps syncronized.

      Alternatively you could call:
      Factory Step 2: Incoming Goods
      Factory Step 1: In Production (according to the order placed before by the production).

      The manual also says:
      The game master has to put as many tokens in the box on the field Factory Step1 as the value of ordered goods. The factory always gets as many goods as ordered.
      ==> this means the coins which have to be put by the Game Master on the Field 'Incoming Goods' of the Factory. Since there is no player supplying the factory - it itself being a producer - the Game Master assigns to the Factory the coins according to the original planning. The coins come from an unlimited pot according to the factory order.

      He takes care that every player gets the goods from the fields Incoming Goods (alt.Factory Step2) in his own Warehouse.
      ==> the player moves the coins from the field incoming orders to the own warehouse

      Does this answer your question?

      Regards, Walter

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