Business Simulation Archives

economic value created

What is Economic Value Created (EVA)?

financial results for all firms

An increasingly popular way of measuring the financial performance of a firm is by looking at the Economic Value Created (often called EVA*) over a specified time span. See the Financial Reports section of the All Reports Menu for the firm’s current Economic Value Created report.

In essence, this measure views the business as an investment which must produce a certain return on the capital invested in it. If it produces more than the required return, then the difference is the economic value created or added (EVA).

The “actual return” is calculated by adjusting the net operating profit after tax to exclude the effects of interest.

The “required return” (or cost of capital) is calculated by adding together the interest charges on debt with the return required by the shareholders. The return required by the shareholders will vary according your firm’s level of risk and will be composed of required dividends and/or increases in share price.

If the actual return is higher than the cost of capital, then the difference is the economic value created. From an economic viewpoint this extra return must be due to some competitive advantage. The question is: How long can this competitive advantage be maintained before competitors come along and copy it?

An example of a simple EVA report is below:

EVA Report in MikesBikes

Notes:

*EVA is a registered Trademark of Stern, Stewart & Co.

Factory to demonstrate Wastage in MikesBikes

Question of the Week: How do we decrease our factory’s Wastage?

Factory Capacity table and chart in MikesBikes

In MikesBikes Introduction, effective capacity will prove to be less than your plan capacity because of various Wastage factors such as:

  • Rework
  • Setup Time
  • Raw Materials Stockout
  • Machine Downtime

Wastage reduces your factory’s efficiency by using up time that could have been utilized to produce bikes. To improve or decrease Wastage, you will need to spend or economically increase your expenditure on Efficiency.

However, there are trade-offs on this. At a certain point, it can get more expensive to maintain a high factory Efficiency. So you will need to decide if it would be more economical to invest in expanding your factory (which can also be quite expensive and its value also depreciates over time) or you can choose to increase spending in Efficiency, which again gets costly at some point. The key is to find balance in between and see what works best with regards to what your firm is trying to achieve and what you believe to be a worthwhile investment.

As such, there is no “acceptable” percentage of wastage that you should be aiming for, as this is dependent on what your firm believes to be a more economical approach on balancing your factory’s efficiency.

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Distribution in MikesBikes

Question of the Week: How do we get more stores to stock our products?

MikesBikes Distribution Decision

Distributors look at the total dollar amount of margin earned from stocking each firm’s products last year. Based on that, each Distribution Channel will decide how many stores will stock products from each firm.

The total amount of margin a Distributor receives is affected by your:

  • Retail Price
  • Retail Margin and;
  • Volume of Sales

So all other things being equal, if you sell more products, or increase your Retailer margin then more Distributors will be willing to stock your products and your distribution indexes will increase.

The number of each type of distributor willing to stock your products is then combined with the shopping habits of each segment to give a segment level distribution index. This is why you see different distribution indexes in the Market Summary / All Product Details report.

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Student Looking at Advertising and PR Reach Curve, MikesBikes

Question of the Week: How does the Advertising and PR Reach by Media Curve Work?

Advertising and PR Reach by Media Curve

The reach curves and media viewing habits reflect what proportion of the population you can reach with a given Advertising or Public Relations (PR) mix.  These are the same for both Advertising and PR partly because it is reasonable that the advertising reach and viewing habits should be similar for both product advertising and PR.

The sensitivity to Advertising and PR reflects how much each market segment is influenced by any Advertising or PR they are exposed to.  If a segment has low sensitivity to PR, then even if they are exposed to a lot of it, there will be a much smaller influence than if they are highly sensitive to PR.

If a segment is highly sensitive to Advertising, then there is probably going to be a reasonable market share difference, but if there was low sensitivity to PR then you would probably only see a small market share difference (ie. you are probably wasting a lot of your PR spend and you should look at more effective ways of using that money).

The market segments have different sensitivities, so you need to find balance between Advertising Awareness and PR in each market.

2017 MikesBikes World Champs Winning Team

Interview with the 2017 MikesBikes World Champs Winner: Exodus

The 2017 MikesBikes World Championship winners Siyi Tang , William Setiawan , Jiedong Chen, Jayca Y. Siddayao, Mingchang Liang and Robbi A. Harnass of Exodus from the University of Auckland have joined the MikesBikes Wall of Champions with their impressive performance in the competition!

Team Exodus competed against the best teams from around the globe and have achieved a Shareholder Value of $327.81.

To wrap up the 2017 MikesBikes World Champs, we have interviewed the team and ask them about their experience in the competition and what they thought about the simulation.

What is your decision making process within the simulation?

First, we analysed the market scenario then we looked at trends in pricing, marketing, financial performance and so on. We then compared these trends with our previous decisions and results.

Finally, we were able to determine whether we would have an offensive or defensive strategy. The most important thing for us is that the final decisions entered have been approved by all team members.

What was your strategy going into the simulation?

Our strategy was focused on developing low prime cost bikes. This strategy did not require a high investment in plant or workforce.

We then focused on our marketing campaign. We developed a marketing mix suitable for our strategy.

Knowing how to calculate the optimum marketing mix, we were able to reach more customers than if we just allocated a high expenditure on every media channel.

Finally, with regards to our financial decisions, we made sure to repurchase shares as soon as we had the additional funds and no profitable use for our extra cash. We were also able to pay out dividends to shareholders.

What challenges did you face? How did you overcome these?

Our competitors undoubtedly did their best to compete. They presented us with fearsome competition during the Championship. Our team also felt that some of the firms just gave up along the way and purposefully destroyed the market by dumping their prices. Pity moves indeed. But then again, it was one of the “unexpected” things that you would not expect to happen, especially during a fierce competition such as this.

Was there anything, in particular, you did that you think helped to prepare yourself?

One of the things that helped us win the world championship was the opportunity to compete with our fellow classmates. In a way, we were used to playing in such a competitive environment, with fearless competitors. However, even with such experience, there were moments during the world championships that we felt very overwhelmed by our competitors’ moves. Thus, once again, kudos to all who fought until the end.

What do you think of the business simulation?

We think MikesBikes simulation is a great way to teach people who want to learn Business Management. It has both practical and theoretical application that gives us real world experience that we would never get from attending traditional lectures and doing written tests.

For example, when we were looking to enter a more competitive market, we were intrigued to find more detailed information. Reports such as the Income Statement, Cash-Flow Statement, Balance Sheet, and Equity Movements Statements were extremely helpful. We made sure to analyze these reports every rollover.

Comments on your experience with the simulation itself

We had a great experience with the simulation. We are glad that we have used this simulation, especially for those of us who have never worked in the industry. By competing in the course competition at the University of Auckland and entering the MikesBikes 2017 World Championship, we learned so many new things, such as:

  • How to allocated our Marketing Expenditure in more attractive media channels
  • How to turn a significant investment in project development into something more profitable in the long run
  • How to calculate the cause and effect of the decision of repurchasing shares and dividends.

Nevertheless, we are honored to be called the winners of MikesBikes 2017 World Championship. There are many decisions that we made, which definitely could be further improved. We hope that newcomers will join the next world competition of MikesBikes, to stand beside us, and the rest of the MikesBikes World Champ Winners.

 

Check out the 2017 Competition Results here and the previous winners here.

MikesBikes World Champs Smartsims

2017 MikesBikes World Championship Competition Results

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

The 2017 MikesBikes World Championship has finished with a bang! Team Exodus from The University of Auckland has secured the top position as 2017’s MikesBikes Champs and have joined the MikesBikes Wall of Champions. Team GOFAST, also from The University of Auckland, came in close second with an impressive performance! These top two teams certainly had the will to succeed and win the competition.

These two teams were neck-and-neck in the last few rounds of the competition battling for first place. Both teams constantly putting pressure on each other to adapt to their market and make growth-orientated decisions.

Our MikesBikes World Champs winning team, Exodus had the following to say:

2017 MikesBikes World Champs Winners
Siyi Tang , William Setiawan , Jiedong Chen, Jayca Y. Siddayao, Mingchang Liang. Robbi A. Harnass of Exodus from The University of Auckland

Our experience with the simulation has been unimaginable. We are glad that we have done the simulation, most especially since none of us have worked in the business industry. By doing the course competition at the University of Auckland, and entering the 2017 MikesBikes World Championship, we learnt so many new things. Such as, how to wisely allocate our marketing budget, how to turn a significant investment in project development into something more profitable in the long run, how to calculate the cause and effect between the decision of repurchasing shares and dividend, and many more. Nevertheless, as much as we are honoured to be called the winner of the 2017 MikesBikes World Championship, let us restate the fact that we are far from perfect. There are many things that we’ve done, which can be further improved. We hope that newcomers will aim to enter the next MikesBikes World Champs and to stand beside us, and the rest of the winners.

A huge congratulations to all the teams who have participated in the 2017 MikesBikes World Champs!

Here are the Final Round’s Rollover Results:

Position
Firm
SHV
Team Members
Institution
1
Exodus $327.81 Siyi Tang | William Setiawan | Jiedong Chen | Jayca Y. Siddayao | Mingchang Liang | Robbi A. Harnass University of Auckland
2
GOFAST $313.41 Harriet Zhang | Golf Tantulaphongse | Xu Wang University of Auckland
3
Infinity $152.80 Sunil Ravindran | Thi Thu Vu | Manfei Cheng | Zhaonan Liu University of Auckland
4
Pedal to the Medal $88.06 Peter Bojsza Drexel University
5
Scooty Puff Legends $86.79 Jamison stewart | Zachary Khan | Nathan Jarrad Linn Benton Community College
6
Square Tires $2.80 Chris Mitchell | Nick Dawson | Darrell Davis Indiana University Southeast
7
Apex Bikes Co. $0.01 Zachary Abel Des Moines Area Community College
8
K2K $0.01 Kimberly Dowe Linn Benton Community College
9
SB Corp. $0.01 Kaushik Shah Midwestern State University
10
Van der Zwan AJ Inc. $0.01 AJ van der Zwan Ithaca College

You can view the current and past winners here.

farming-industry-business-simulations

Business Simulations Help Texas Students Succeed in Farming

Business simulations are helping students all across America succeed in the real world, and this is just as true in “The Lone Star State” of Texas.

Farming is a major industry in Texas, and with technological advancements it has become increasingly important that ranchers and agricultural managers have degrees in business, with concentrations in agriculture, crop science, farm management, agronomy or animal science. Those working in the farming industry need to have a sound understanding of the market, and they need to be able to identify trends, analyze data and maintain their business’ brand.

The booming farming industries in Texas include cattle, cotton, milk and broilers. These are all businesses that produce perishable goods that need to adhere to regulations and laws. They are products that will fluctuate in price depending on the season, consumer demand and competitors, so being business-savvy reduces the risks and helps businesses produce products that are relevant and fit for the current market.

Business Education

One way to obtain a business education is the traditional way, i.e. through rote learning in a lecture hall. A better way to go about studying business is through business simulations, a more modern approach to education that has been proven to help students retain more knowledge and enter jobs with useful real-life experiences. For this reason, many university professors have chosen to incorporate Smartsims business simulations into their courses, such as at the University of Texas – Austin.

Business simulations are designed to make it easier for students to be confidently ready for the workforce as soon as they graduate. There exists a huge opportunity to better equip students with the necessary skills and experience, and business simulations have been tailored to do just that. Active learning through simulated business scenarios allows students to understand business strategy and management concepts at a deeper level.

Why Business Simulations?

The benefits of business simulations are endless. They provide an immersive experience, incorporating a wide variety of teaching methods such as experiential learning, reflective learning, action-oriented learning and the flipped classroom. Students are more likely to be engaged and alert, resulting in better outcomes. Business simulations provide a safe setting for students to bridge theories and concepts with real-life experiences, learning from their mistakes and its consequences as well as celebrating their successes.

Business simulations replicate the informal, reflective and interactive nature of workplace learning. Authors agree that workplace relevant learning is typically created in action as employees form solutions to problems (Gibbons et al., 1994; Marsick & Watkins, 1996; Sternberg & Horvath, 1999). To succeed in a large-scale, highly competitive industry such as farming, workers need to display independent problem-solving abilities. Business simulations help students become more capable.

Smartsims Helps the Farming Industry

We have two business courses designed to help students develop business knowledge and skills, and covert theory into real-world skills. Smartsims’ MikesBikes Introduction is a foundation-level course that allows students to build up their confidence, and MikesBikes Advanced is a highly instructive strategic management simulation that takes it to the next level. The skills learned in these simulations translate well to the farming industry or to any other type of business.

If you are considering entering the farming industry, or you are already in the workforce but want to further your knowledge and skills, contact us to find out more about simulation training. Our business simulation games are changing the shape of the education system, and the success of businesses in Texas and all over the world. Experiential education is the evolution of education.

people looking at computers

New Models Of Corporate Learning – Digital Learning In Business

Adapted from an article written by Karie Willyerd, Alwin Grünwald, Kerry Brown, Bernd Welz, and Polly Traylor and originally published in the Digitalist Magazine by SAP.

“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage” – Jack Welch

For companies, traditional training methods, such as classrooms, are still relevant, but they are no longer the prime delivery method for learning. Now digital experiential learning methods offer businesses a versatile platform that connects the dots between learning outcomes and business outcomes, such as attrition, employee engagement, and sales growth.

Brown and colleagues of business software solutions company SAP introduce a convincing argument for the effectiveness and efficiency of modern methods of experiential education. Businesses that leverage custom-made, carefully-integrated digital learning models generate effective employees and dynamic business strategies. The authors outline their findings in six exciting concepts.

1. Continuous mobile learning is the future

The future of learning rests with learning methods that are rapid, mobile and on-going. Brown et al. believe the greatest challenge for traditional learning methods is their inability to keep up with the increased diversity and pace of the modern business climate. Systems like classrooms, slides, and textbooks cannot keep up with these pressing factors.

Digital learning allows businesses to mobilize their training systems to each employee in customised, consumable forms. This portable form of learning turns training into a continuous and ever-engaging experience. Bernd Knobel, a director at CGI Consulting called his company’s digital training, “a ‘moment of need’ reference tool” that assists his employees in their everyday duties. As a continuous system, it is a tool that lets employees access it where and when they require. Like CGI, digital learning methods are continuous training systems that give more employees the autonomy to learn as they work.

2. Digital’s Competitive Advantage

Digital learning helps businesses keep up to date with modern developments in technology and communications. Companies like Uber, Netflix, Airbnb and many others used modern technology and digital systems to outrun the developments of tomorrow. Any business can gain this competitive edge by using and understanding the potential of digital learning methods.

3. The Need for Multi-Skilled Employees

Jim Carroll, a renowned business consultant, uses the automotive industry to describe the modern need for multi-skilled employees. Carroll exemplifies how a regular car dealer requires a range of knowledge, “infinitely more complex than it was 5 or 10 years ago.” The integration of complex technology into normal, day-to-day activities necessitates a multi-skilled workforce in any business. Digital learning’s versatile and mobile systems make it the best tool in closing the skills gap of the modern workforce.

4. Motivation the Next Generation’s Workforce

The authors cite that in less than a decade 75% of the workforce will comprise of Millennials eager for expedient and diverse learning. Digital learning is a necessary addition to common business practice should the businesses of tomorrow want an engaged and prepared workforce. The Oxford Economic Workforce 2020 survey suggests that the top concern of employees surveyed is becoming obsolete. Digital learning benefits both businesses and their employees in addressing that reality of obsolescence.

5. The Defining Characteristics of Digital Learning

The article identifies six key characteristics that exemplify the transition from traditional to digital learning methods. The first is micro-learning, breaking large concepts into smaller consumable pieces. Businesses have the freedom to deconstruct their training into whatever sequence or series is appropriate. The main principle is taking large complex ideas and breaking them into smaller, simpler parts.

The second is self-serve learning. An overarching theme of the article is the importance of mobile, accessible learning systems. Digital learning can be cloud-based, updated in real-time and accessed where and when an employee needs. This is just one exciting foundation of its self-serve learning method.

The third is learning as a form of entertainment. Digital learning’s ability to take the form of business simulations, gamified goal-setting or virtual reality makes it an emotive and entertaining learning style. Joe Carella of the University of Arizona shared his praises of digital learning methods describing them as, “more immersive” than traditional online methods.

The fourth is the social learning of digital learning methods. Learning is an “emotional experience and most people don’t want to be alone when they learn”, says Brown et al. The potential for social collaboration produces new avenues for learning strategies and internal business growth.

The fifth, building off social learning, is user-generated content. Founder of The MASIE Centre, Elliott Masie described “raw, user-created content” as having a higher demand above “polished corporate-created content.” Digital learning leverages this social trend allowing employees to learn from each other in a collaborative environment.

Finally, the sixth characteristic is video. Video content can now be created, edited and consumed by anyone with access to a digital device and the internet. VP Cushing Anderson of the firm IDC says “[digital] learning is often about substituting convenience for perfect quality”.

6. The Human Equation of Shifting to Digital

The article concludes by emphasizing the importance of having a strong human connection throughout the digital learning experience. The point is succinctly summarised by the authors, “excellent learning depends on excellent instructors.” Blending digital into traditional, formal modes of learning leverages its human connection to produce knowledge that sticks.

The Main Takeaway

The key premise of the article is that business that leverage personalized, carefully-integrated digital learning models generate effective employees and dynamic business strategies. Digital learning methods are continuous learning platforms that give businesses a competitive edge while fostering a collaborative culture. Nevertheless, its benefits and advantages all rely on the human element and intending businesses should endeavor to integrate digital learning into existing formal training methods.

Get Students Tech-Savvy with Business Simulations

Get Tech-Ready to Take Over Silicon Valley with Business Simulations

Silicon Valley is ruled by millennials who rushed in to claim one of the many tech jobs available. This campus-inspired atmosphere is known for its culture of working hard and long hours, but it’s also the birthplace of innovative ideas that have transformed the way humans experience the world. So for many students it’s the dream place to work!

However, entering Silicon Valley requires more than good grades and the right attitude. Those who dream of landing a job in this market know that previous experience is essential to scoring big. Engaging in business simulations can help future movers and shakers experience the industry and get tech-ready for the road ahead.

The Job Market in Silicon Valley

The technology job market is becoming more and more competitive, and it’s no different in Silicon Valley. There is a huge demand for tech-savvy workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in the computer science field is $81,430. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for project managers in Silicon Valley is $110,197, and the average Bay Area salaries for experienced data scientists and engineers are $162,000 and $189,000 respectively. Sounds good, right?

LinkedIn’s Workforce Report for June found that Americans agree. The report shows that of the 20 largest US metropolitan areas, Silicon Valley is the 12th most attractive place for jobs. Unsurprisingly, interviews are lengthy and difficult. A standard interview process will begin with an email, followed by a phone screening and then an on-site meeting. It’s important for applicants to be prepared, confident and present a fresh perspective in these interviews.

How Do Business Simulations Help?

Business simulation games allow students to manage their own virtual business, so they experience what it’s like to run a simulated company. Start-ups are popular in Silicon Valley, and many of them succeed. Having a simulated business provides a risk free learning opportunity. Bridging practice and theory in a low-risk environment (Gosen & Washbush, 2004). Simulated games teach real-life details in a flexible setting.

Students often find it hard to land a job after graduating, because they never learned how to bridge the concepts taught in class with real-life experiences. Simulated games are more engaging and memorable than traditional teaching methods, so students retain information better and have an advantage over others. Business simulations have also been proven to improve critical thinking skills (Lovelace, Eggers & Dyck, 2016).

Make an Impact with Business Simulations

If you’re looking to give your students a leg-up in the competitive job market, business simulations can help. Humans learn best by doing, reflecting and then doing it again, and that’s what business simulations are all about; action-oriented and reflective learning.

It’s not impossible to become a noticed member of the group, but it takes a special kind of education and a unique way of working to become a leader in this age of technology. At Smartsims, we offer a Foundations of Business Game, an advanced Business Strategy Game, a Marketing Simulation Game and an Advertising Simulation Game; all designed to give students real-world skills and experience, giving them the edge in the today’s competitive job market.

Experiential Learning using MikesBikes at The Business Centre

“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” – David Kolb

The Business Centre in Ontario Canada have became a part of the experiential learning movement using the MikesBikes Introduction to Business Simulation with great success. We interviewed Bob Walpole, Project Manager at The Business Centre, to learn about what they do, and why they chose MikesBikes to provide students with an experiential learning environment.

Who is The Business Centre and what do you do?

We provide support to start-up and small enterprises during their first through fifth years of operation in the districts of Nipissing and Parry Sound by offering easy access to business consulting services and information concerning market research, business planning, management, marketing, technology and financing.

We also create and deliver projects designed to give high school students experiential learning experiences in entrepreneurship which, in one of our projects, includes the use of MikesBikes.

What is the Entrepreneurship Outreach Program?

This program has been renamed ELS or Experiential Learning Stream. We have a series of projects designed to give high school students in our area some hands–on learning experiences involving some aspects of entrepreneurship. We run entrepreneurship leadership camps, hosts entrepreneurship and social innovation workshops in Toronto, Ontario, teach students how to make better business decisions using MikesBikes. We also run a special business project each year with our local “alternative” school, whose students do much better academically in a less structured educational environment.

What made you choose MikesBikes for the program?

We chose it for its ease of use, affordability, accessibility and especially because we were able to adapt/simplify its excellent complexity to fit the needs and academic background/level of high school. We also like the almost immediate financial and non-financial feedback the students get when they submit their inputs for processing.

How do you use MikesBikes in the program?

We initially spend around five hours in total teaching the students and going through the first two periods of the simulation. Students complete hundreds of “what if” scenarios to achieve the highest profits possible.

How does MikesBikes allow you to engage with the participants of the program?

We are in the classroom with the students, teaching, answering questions and providing learning exercises based on using the game.

Describe both your experience and the student’s experience with MikesBikes?

Students love the game and the competition among their peers. There are many Aha! moments. For us, it is a wonderful learning and teaching tool.

What do students take away from the simulation?

Students learn about the inter-connectedness of input variables, how to isolate variables and how to interpret financial statements. We run in class competitions and an inter-school competition near the end of the semester.

What successes have you seen with the program and MikesBikes?

The students learn very quickly that business involves many inter-connected variables required for success and how to structure decision-making to maximize results. They tell us they love playing with the software. Teachers keep asking us to return to their classes year after year.

Smartsims would like to thank Bob Walpole and The Business Centre for sharing their experiences with MikesBikes.

 

Want to learn more? Drexel University also use MikesBikes in their Foundations of Business course: