Business Simulation Hints Tips Cheats Archives

Music2Go Inventory Costs

Question of the Week: What are the Inventory Costs in Music2Go Marketing Simulation?

There are two types of inventory costs in Music2Go.

Inventory Holding Cost

Each year all firms are charged 3.5% of the value of their average closing inventory for inventory holding costs to cover the cost of warehousing etc.

For instance, if you have 1 million units of unsold stock at the end of the year at a cost of $40 per unit, then you have $40 million of inventory which will cost:

3.5% *$40 million = $1.4m in holding cost

Inventory Disposal Loss

If a firm updates a product with a new design or abandons it altogether then all existing inventory is dumped at 93.5% of what the firm paid for it.

Example:

$1 million of inventory would be dumped for $935K giving a loss of $65K.

You can gather some valuable market research from looking at the figures for your competitors. Firms that have no inventory holding costs have stocked out, because they are under forecasting demand for their products. Firms with large inventories are over forecasting demand. If you see any inventory disposal costs, then you know that your competitor has either updated an existing product’s design or abandoned one.

Related Articles:

How to Set Retailer Price and Retailer Margin in Music2Go

Improving Total Marketing Contribution

Need extra help?
  • You can receive an immediate answer to a number of commonly asked questions through our Support Center.
  • Contact us here.

Reference: 

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY

AdSim Marketing Plan Budget Report

ADSIM ADVERTISING SIMULATION REPORT GUIDE: Marketing Plan Budget Report

What is the Marketing Plan Budget Report?

The forecast marketing expenditure budget shows you how much money you have available to spend this year as shown in the figure below.

Note: This report can be found in the Marketing Plan menu.

Forecast Project Budget Expenditure AdSim

There are three key parts of this report that you must understand.

Budget Limit

Your budget limit is set as part of your product’s marketing plan. It is up to you to decide whether you spend your entire budget or not.

How much you spend of this year’s budget has no effect on your budget for next year.

Budget Expenditure

The first column shows much money you currently have allocated to evaluation research, Agency fees and product advertising. Changing any of your decisions in these areas will automatically update this report.

Available to Spend

This is how much unallocated budget you have left, i.e. how much money you still have available to spend if you want to. Any money you spend will be deducted from your net marketing contribution, so you should only spend on activities where you think the return will more than cover the cost.

If this number is negative that means that you have exceeded your budget and you need to choose which advertising activities to cut back. If you do not do so yourself, then AdSim will automatically reduce your media advertising expenditure during the rollover to bring you back within budget.

Check out the latest AdSim Report Guide here:

Industry Benchmark Report

Need extra help?
  • You can receive an immediate answer to a number of commonly asked questions through our Support Center.
  • Contact us here.
AdSim Advertising Simulation by Smartsims Industry Benchmark Report

AdSim Advertising Simulation Report Guide: Industry Benchmark Report

What is the Industry Benchmark Report?

The Industry Benchmark Report is a summary of all firms’ Net Marketing Contribution reports so that you can benchmark yourself against your competitors as shown in the figure below.

In real life, this information would be difficult to obtain, but this report has been made available to you so that you can learn from your competitor(s).

There are several key parts of this report that you need to understand.

Sales & Gross Margin

Sales and Gross Margin in AdSim Advertising simulation

The Sales Revenue listed for each is the total wholesale sales revenue of all the firm’s products. The Cost of Goods Sold is the total cost of goods sold of all of the firm’s products that were sold, which is the number of units of a particular product sold multiplied by its manufacturing cost.

Gross Margin is the amount of profit that each firm made after the manufacturing costs were deducted.

You have no control over either the wholesale price or the manufacturing cost of your product, so your aim to maximize sales revenue by running the most cost effective advertising campaign that you can.

Product Marketing

Product Marketing in AdSim Advertising simulation

This section shows the combined Market Research, Agency Fees, Media Advertising, Customer Relationship and Marketing Communications expenditure for each firm.

The Evaluation Research expenditure lets you know how much market research your competitors are purchasing.

The Agency Fees let you know whether your competitors are using an Agency or not and how much it is costing them.

The Media Advertising expenditure allows you to see how much money your competitors are spending on Advertising, but now how they are allocating it to each media type.

Customer Relationship and Marketing Communications expenditure lets you know how much your competitors spent on implementing their selected options.

Net Marketing Contribution

Net Marketing Contribution in AdSim Advertising simulation

Net Marketing Contribution is the amount of profit remaining after manufacturing (cost of goods sold) and marketing expenditures have been deducted. The only costs still to be deducted are other functional overhead costs for your firm, e.g. finance, administration, etc.

Net Marketing Contribution is a measure of how profitable your firm is as a result of its strategic marketing plan. There is only one way that you can improve it, increase your Sales Revenue per dollar of Marketing Expenditure.

Need extra help?
  • You can receive an immediate answer to a number of commonly asked questions through our Support Center.
  • Contact us here.

MikesBikes Introduction Report Guide: Market Summary

What is the Market Summary Report?

The Market Summary Report is a market research report giving a side-by-side comparison of all the products currently being sold in the market.

MikesBikes Introduction Market Summary Report

8 Key Pieces of Information

Sales

Sales is simply how many units the particular product sold last year.

Retail Price

Retail Price is the recommended retail price that each firm set for their product(s). You need to remember that the wholesale price is retail price minus the retailer margin, so it’s possible that a cheaper product than yours might have a higher wholesale price if that firm has lower retail margins.

Awareness

Awareness is a measure of how many consumers in that segment are aware of your product due to your corporate brand advertising and product advertising.

An awareness rating of 0.50 means that 50% of the consumers in that segment are aware of your product. When trying to raise the awareness level of your product(s), you need to pay attention to making sure that you are targeting your budgets to the media types that the particular segment watches the most.

Public Relations (PR)

PR is a measure of how many consumers in that segment have a “good” public relations image of your product due to your PR expenditure. When consumers read bike magazines you want them to see your product being reviewed and talked about and that is what your PR budgets are for. A PR rating of 0.40 means that 40% of the consumers in that segment have heard some good PR about your product.

Distribution

The distribution rating is a measure of how much distribution coverage your product has. A distribution rating of 0.65 means that 65% of consumers in that segment will find your product in a store they regularly shop at.

The only way to improve your distribution rating is to convince more stores to stock
your bikes

Quality

The quality rating is a measure of how many units of your product are returned under warranty. If approximately 2% of your sales are returned under warranty then your rating will be approximately 0.50, but if you can reduce it to approximately 0.3% of your sales being returned under warranty then your quality rating will rise to 0.90. In MikesBikes the only control you have over quality is how much money you allocate to your quality improvement budget each year.

Delivery

Delivery is a measure of how often your retailers run out of stock of your bikes. A delivery performance rating of 1.0 means that your factory never stocks out of bikes, however if your factory stocks out of bikes this year, then next year your delivery performance rating will fall. The lower your delivery performance rating, the less likely that retailers will want to stock your bikes. However be careful, as some segments are more sensitive than others to stocking out.

Product Specs

The “product specs” rating is a measure of how close your product is to the segment’s ideal dimensions for “tech” and “style”. A rating of 1.0 means that your product is 100% what the segments wants, a rating of less than 1.0 means that it is not. As MikesBikes progresses you will be offered numerous product development projects that will improve the product spec ratings of your products, if your product spec ratings are lower than your competitors it means that they are spending more money on product development than you are.

Check out the last MikesBikes Intro Report Guide here:

Industry Benchmark Report

MikesBikes Intro Report Guide - Industry Benchmark Report

MikesBikes Introduction Report Guide: Industry Benchmark Report

What is the Industry Benchmark Report?

This report is a summary of all firms’ Key Financial results, which you can use to benchmark yourself against your competitors.

In MikesBikes Introduction, this report is divided into four sections: Financial Results, Customer Satisfaction, Internal Results and Innovation Learning.

Financial Results

MikesBikes Intro Financial Results

There are two key variables that you need to understand in this section, Share Price and Shareholder Value.

Your Share Price is the current market price of one share in your firm; the main drivers of share price are your average earnings per share (EPS) and your D/E ratio. If you want to improve your Share Price then you need to keep improving your EPS and to keep your D/E ratio below 1.0.

Shareholder Value is a measure of how much value a shareholder has received from owning one share of your company from the moment you took over running your firm. So Shareholder value is the current Share Price, plus the accumulated dividends that you have paid with 10% compound interest.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction in MikesBikes Intro Most of the fields here should be self-explanatory. However, you need to be aware that the Distribution Channel support figures include both your Extra Support (sales promotion support) spending and the annual support cost of supporting all the retailers that currently stock your products. Distribution Information (Distribution and Branding > Reports tab) report details what those annual costs are.

So every firm that has at least one store stocking its products will be spending at least a couple of hundred dollars. To see what their sales promotion budgets are, view the Multi-Firm Retailer Margins and Extra Support report under “Firm Marketing”.

Internal Results

Internal Results in Mikesbikes intro

The main purpose of this section of the report is so that you can compare your production efficiency strategy with your competitors. Make sure to compare your wastage results and number of products. The lower the production efficiency budget and the higher the number of products (more setup time), then the worse a firm’s wastage value will be.

Innovation and Learning

Innovation and Learning in Mikesbikes intro

Monitor how much your competitor(s) are spending on product development, it means that they are either making their products cheaper to produce, more attractive to the market or both. If you let a competitor get a significant production cost advantage over you then they will easily win any price wars involving that product.

Need extra help?

Check out the Smartsims Support Center or contact us here.

Testing Decisions in MikesBikes

How do I Test My Decisions in MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation?

There are three ways on how you can test your decisions in MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation.

1. Live Forecast

Smartsims Simulations Live Forecast

These figures on the Live Forecast update in real-time as you click “Apply” on any decision screen. This enables you to easily see the impact of individual decision changes on overall performance.

The figures can then be clicked to bring up the relevant forecast report in full. Previous figures remain in small font below.

The new Live Forecast feature will help you make more informed decisions and provide an immediate warning if you have made poor decisions.

2. Forecast Results Reports

MikesBikes Forecast Results Reports

This menu features reports which give you an indication of your performance – assuming you meet your forecasts.

There are a range of Pro Forma reports available for you to view:

  • Forecast Results Report Overview
  • Pro Forma Income Statement
  • Pro Forma Product Gross Margin Report
  • Pro Forma Cost of Goods Manufactured Report
  • Pro Forma Cashflow Report

3. Offline Mode

This feature in the Multi-Player allows you to try out different decision options and strategies before you commit yourself.

In Offline Mode, your competitors use only their default decisions. So don’t read too
much into the results.

To start Offline Mode, click the “Offline” button next to the Multi-Player launch button.

In Offline Mode, your competitors use only their default decisions. So don’t read too much into the results. For instance, in Offline Mode you might launch new products into empty markets and do very well due to lack of competition. But if you use those same decisions in the Multi-Player, you could do poorly if the other firms choose to launch new products at the same time. So always think about what might happen if your competitors were to do something differently.

Important: After using Offline Mode, your team’s agreed decisions need to be re-entered in the Multi-Player.

Watch our tutorial video here:

 

Note that this feature might be disabled in your course.

Need extra help?
  • You can receive an immediate answer to a number of commonly asked questions through our Support Center.
  • Contact us here.
salary-in-mikesbikes-advanced

Question of the Week: How much should we pay our staff?

This question relates to our MikesBikes Advanced Strategic Management Simulation.

Human Resources: Average Salary

This is the average annual earnings of an employee working on the factory floor. The average salary level you set will affect not only your bottom line but also attract better skills and will improve motivation.

Factory workers are paid (on average) the rate you select. Administration staff are paid (on average) twice this rate. For comparison purposes, the average industry salary is $25,000 per year.

How does Salary impact your staff’s motivation level?

Salary level is compared to an industry average of $25,000 and smoothed over several years.

Job security is reduced during downsizing, but is also smoothed over several years.

Including the training/skill level reflects the fact that employees are looking for more than salary and job security. They are looking for a job where they are learning and working with other highly-skilled people.

The graph below shows the motivation index achieved by changing the firm’s average salary from $25,000. The effect would be increased by sustaining the salary change across succeeding years.

Staff Motivation and Turnover Rate in MikesBikes Advanced

The graph below shows the effect of job cuts on morale and staff turnover.

Staff Motivation and Turnover Rate when Downsizing in MikesBikes Advanced

Check out the latest Question of the Week articles here:
preventative-maintenance-mikesbikes

Question of the Week: What is Preventative Maintenance? | MikesBikes Advanced Business Simulation

Preventative Maintenance

You should decide on the total amount to spend on Preventative Maintenance. This is an aggregate amount and so should be varied when a firm changes its plant capacity.

You should look at the Manufacturing Responsiveness Report (under the Key Reports menu) and if you are losing a significant amount of time to Breakdowns, then consider increasing your spend on Preventative Maintenance.

Effects of Spending in Preventative Maintenance

MikesBikes Advanced Breakdown Curve

Expenditure on preventative maintenance has a number of effects. Preventative maintenance reduces the likelihood of plant breakdown and losses in capacity caused by these delays. Adequate maintenance also serves to maintain the resale value of plant. Finally, ensuring the plant is producing within tolerances contributes towards the reduction of defects and improves your internal quality.

Example: Currently your firm has approximately 25,000 SCU of plant. If it were new it would be worth $4 million. However it is a few years old and its book value is only $1.6 million, so about 7% of its potential is lost due to breakdowns.

Maintenance Index vs Accumulated Maintenance in MikesBikes Advanced

Investment of about $24 per SCU or $600,000/year in preventative maintenance is sufficient to offset deterioration and will keep its operational level (and hence resale) value constant at its current level. Higher investment than this will increase the level accumulated maintenance and hence decrease machine breakdowns. Remember to adjust the amount you spend on maintenance as you increase or decrease your plant size.

 

Check out the latest Question of the Week articles here:

 

Investor Relations in MikesBikes Advanced

Question of the Week: What is Investor Relations?

Investor Relations Decision in MikesBikes Advanced decision screen

More than a mathematical analysis of risks and returns determines the value of a share. It is also affected by how much the investment community knows and understands about the company concerned, and their perceptions of the quality of the firm’s management.

Hence to ensure that their shares are fairly valued, firms need to make every effort to ensure that investors and their advisors have recent frequent clear information about the firm’s situation and plans. The larger and more complex the firm, the more effort is required.

Investor Relations (Investor PR) Index

The Investor Relations (also known as Investor PR) index essentially acts as a multiplier on your company’s share price. So for a very simple example, if your Investor PR index is 1.1, then your Share price will be 10% higher than if your Investor PR index is 1.0 (assuming no other changes). In practice, by spending on Investor PR you will reduce your profit, which will be a drag on your share price, so the effect isn’t quite as simple as that.

Investor Relations MikesBikes Advanced S Curve

In general, the larger your company, the more you need to spend to get a higher PR index. The maximum PR index possible is around 1.2, and you have to spend more and more to raise your index the closer you get to that limit.

How much should we invest in Investor PR?

Your best guide to how much to spend on Investor PR is to look at your current Investor PR index and spend, then decide how much more you are willing to spend on it to try to boost it. Keep in mind that if you spend too much on Investor Relations you may depress your Share Price by reducing your profit and earnings per share. Also decide whether or not there is another better use for the money spent on Investor Relations such as on Product Development.

View other Question of the Week articles here:

What Does Awareness Index Mean and How Do You Influence It? 

How Do We Decrease Our Factory’s Wastage? 

How Do We Increase Our Delivery Rate? 

 

Consumer Preferences and Shopping Habits of customers

What Do My Customers Want?

If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about.

– Nate Elliott, Marketing Technology Adviser

Consumer Preferences

It is crucial that your Product Strategy follow the preferences of your consumers. Valuable Market Research has been conducted to investigate what your customers are looking for in the products they buy. This information is available to you under the Market Information Report (under the Key Reports menu).

Market Information Report with information on Product Dimension Sensitivities and Preferences in MikesBikes Intro

The table above (taken from the Market Information Report) will tell you important areas that you should be focusing on.

For example, the Mountain Segment has High sensitivity to Advertising. What this means is you should be focusing your Marketing Budget on Advertising and not PR (as the Mountain segment has low sensitivity in this area). If a market segment is highly sensitive to one area this means: “if you increase this figure, then proportionately more people are going to buy your bike.” This would then result in a higher return on your investment than if you invest in areas where your target market segment has a low sensitivity in.

Each market segment is sensitive to different dimensions. View the Market Segment Scenario Information report.

Marketing Dimension Sensitivities

If we take the Racers segment we see it has a low sensitivity to Advertising and a high sensitivity to PR. This means that an increase to our Racers bikes’ PR index (see Market Summary report) is going to have a larger increase to our sales volume than a change to our Awareness rating.

Questions?

We strongly recommend all MikesBikes Advanced users view our Business Simulation Tutorial Videos.

If you have any questions just send us an email through our Contact Us page.