Product Updates Archives

Product Update in December from Smartsims

SMARTSIMS PRODUCT UPDATES: December 2018

New Animations when Saving Decisions

Previously, clicking the “Apply” button just reloads the screen, but with the new update it is now more evident that the decisions are being saved.

On-Screen Warning on Unsaved Decisions

Some students miss out on saving their decisions when they move onto a different screen or click away. So we have now added a new on-screen warning to notify students if a decision they have entered has been left unsaved.

On-screen warning on unsaved decisions

On-Screen Warnings on Decision Screens (MikesBikes Introduction)

Forecast Sales and Planned Production Warning

Students will now receive a warning when they have entered a high Sales Forecast, but their Production Quantity is lower.

MikesBikes Warning Message 1

MikesBikes Warning message 4

They will also receive a warning when their Planned Production Units is higher than their Sales Forecast.

MikesBikes Warning Message 2

MikesBikes Warning Message 3

Launching a Second Product in the Same Market Segment

This warning message should not discourage students from launching a second product if they wish, but it just informs them of what this decision entails.

Launching a second product warning message

Missed our previous Product Update articles? You can check these out here:

September 2018 Product Update header

Smartsims Product Updates: September 2018

Updated Product Development/Launch Screens (MikesBikes Introduction & Music2Go Marketing)

The decision screens which enable students to modify an existing product and launching new products now feature additional information to help students make more informed decisions.

Launching a new product

Previously students would need to navigate to the Market Information and Market Summary Report for this key information, but we have now placed it directly within the screen.

MikesBikes Intro New Development Screen (New Product)

Modifying an existing product

Students will now see a short description of each option with the corresponding cost and benefit.

Modifying an existing product in Mikesbikes Introduction new screen

Missed our previous Product Update articles? You can check these out here:

 

August Product Updates

Smartsims Product Updates: August 2018

The following are Smartsims product updates available from August 2018. Where product names are noted in the heading, that update only applies to these products.

Smartsims Support Center Goes Live! 

The Smartsims Support Center is our online knowledge-base for all simulations.

Smartsims Support Center

This live resource enables users to find instant answers to their questions, as well as browse a wide range of help topics. The current articles available range from getting started, help with logging in and registration, through to guiding students on how to make decisions.

Full information on this new online resource: https://www.smartsims.com/news/support-center-simulation-knowledge-base/

Tutorial on how to use the Smartsims Support Center: https://www.smartsims.com/support/business-simulation-help/

 

New Live Forecast Feature (MikesBikes  Introduction & Music2Go)

Our new Live Forecast is located at the top-right of all decision screens and displays the two main metrics from the current Forecast Results Reports.

MikesBikes Intro: Forecast Profit & Forecast Cash Available

Music2Go Marketing:  Forecast Marketing Contribution & Budget Remaining.

Smartsims Simulations Live Forecast

These figures on the Live Forecast update in real-time as students click “Apply” on any decision screen. This enables students 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 students make more informed decisions and provide an immediate warning if they have made poor decisions.

 

Performance Star Ratings (MikesBikes Introduction & MikesBikes Advanced)

The bottom-left of the simulation interface now features a new gold star rating system:

Smartsims Simulations Performance Rating

The star rating students receive is based on their results from the previous year. A jump in Shareholder Value will result in an additional gold star achieved and vice-versa.

We hope this will further motivate students to improve their performance each year of the simulation.

 

Editing Product Names (All MikesBikes & Music2Go)

Previously, the name for the initial product has been computer generated (Adv1, Adv2, etc). Now through the Product screen students can edit their product’s name in the first year of the simulation:

Editing Product Name in MikesBikes

Additionally, when students launch a new product, they can now edit the new product’s name at any time prior to the next rollover.

 

Missed our last Product Updates article? You can check it out herehttps://www.smartsims.com/product-updates/june-2018/

If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact us.

Smartsims Support Center header

Press Release: Smartsims Support Center Goes Live!

The Smartsims Support Center is our new simulation knowledge-base.

This live resource enables our simulation users to receive instant answers to their questions, as well as browse a wide range of help topics to guide them through their learning journey.

Video Overview

The Smartsims Support Center works on any device:

Support Center Screenshot on all devices

 

Browse decision areas such as Marketing, Operations, Finance; or specific decision periods:

Business Simulation Marketing Simulation Advertising Simulation  Business Simulation Marketing Simulation Advertising Simulation

 

And users can share their feedback on the help articles, enabling us to continue to improve content available through the knowledge-base:

Was this support article helpful?

 

Where?

You can find the Smartsims Support Center here: https://www.smartsims.com/support

Alternatively, click on new Support button at the top of any of our webpages:  Smartsims Support Center

 

Spread The Word!

We recommend placing a link to the Smartsims Support Center in your Course Syllabus and/or on your Course’s Webpage.

 

This proactive approach takes our current service offering to the next level in user experience.

Of course, our Helpdesk Team continues to be available every day of the year: Contact Us

 

Smartsims Product Updates for June 2018

Smartsims Product Updates: June 2018

We’re now halfway through the year and exciting developments are coming your way!

Improved Tablet and Mobile Experience

We understand that students have busy lives and are not always near their computer. So we have made it easier for them to check their results and update their decisions from their tablets and mobiles.

They can access all the same decisions and reports as they can on their desktop browser. However, we have adjusted the tablet/mobile screens to show the most relevant content, the reports and scrolling are better suited to smaller devices, and a ‘Hamburger’ style menu makes it easy to navigate.

Mobile Friendly Business Simulations

Key Reports within Decision Screens

When students are making decisions, they often need to review one or more reports which means they often have to leave the decision screen. So we have added a commonly-used reports tab to each of the decision screens.

Selecting a report from the “Reports” tab will display the report as a pop-up over the top of the decision screen. This way students can quickly review key information and make an informed decision without having to leave the decision screen.

MikesBikes Intro Reports Screen

New Historical Reports Menu (MikesBikes Only)

We often receive emails from students requesting access to previous years’ reports. To make this accessible for students, we have now made  historical reports available for them to access. This is available to them under the All Reports menu.

MBI Historical Report

Accessibility and Improved Compatibility with Screen Readers

A key requirement for many institutions is accessibility for students with disabilities. Our simulations work with JAWS and NVDA, two of the most common screen readers, to help vision impaired students navigate their way around. We also provide additional context information for the screen readers in the input fields.

For instance, when you enter the Retail Price input field, the screen reader would announce: “Retail Price. Decision last year was $1600. Minimum Price is $1000. Maximum price is $3000.”

Similarly when you enter the Production input field you would hear: “Production Units. Decision last year was 15,000 units. Maximum production is 18,700 units”

This is of great benefit to vision impaired students as they do not have to hunt around for the information they need to make their decisions.

Updated Report Names

Updated report names for the following reports in MikesBikes Introduction, MikesBikes Advanced and Music2Go Marketing:

  • The Product Summary – Sales, Margin, Production has been shortened to Product Summary.
  • The Market Summary (All Product Details) has been shortened to Market Summary.
  • MikesBikes Advanced only: Financial Results for All Firms is now called the Industry Benchmark Report.

MikesBikes Advanced Updates

There have been three important updates to the MikesBikes Advanced scenario which will apply to all new courses starting from July 2018. These changes are detailed here: https://www.smartsims.com/news/2018-product-update-for-mikesbikes-advanced/

The MikesBikes Dog Retires

Our MikesBikes users will know the little dog which has featured in the simulation over the years. It is with sadness we have retired “Cliks” and “Einstein” the dog. This older style feature simply does not gel with our current updated simulation interface, nor the upcoming new interface under development.

To bid farewell we published an article looking back at the history of “Cliks” and “Einstein” the dogs: https://www.smartsims.com/news/the-mikesbikes-dog-has-retired/

The MikesBikes Dogs have been replaced with a new Performance Star Rating.

Simulation Starting Year Update

Just a reminder that earlier in the year all simulation were updated to have a starting year / year ahead 2019 (reporting year 2018).

 

Our August product updates are now available here: https://www.smartsims.com/product-updates/august-2018/

 

If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact us.

MikesBikes Advanced Splashscreen

MikesBikes Advanced Updates: June 2018

The following MikesBikes Advanced updates will apply to new courses starting from 1 July 2018.

1. Encouraging prudent product strategy

The current scenario enables students to develop as many new product development projects as they wish in a given year. Over time we have observed this can encourage some to undertake a very risky strategy where they rush to enter all new market segments in the first year of the simulation. Those who adopt this strategy often underestimate the significant expenditure required and put their company at a high risk of insolvency.

Our belief is that an “all or nothing” approach to start the simulation should be discouraged. Rather, our team feel it would best to encourage more prudent and realistic product strategies by limiting the number of product development projects to two per year. This means students can still have a product in every market if they wish, but by drawing this out over the first three/four years of the simulation it encourages a more strategic start to the simulation. However, if this update conflicts with how you would like to use the simulation we can disable this on request.

2. Limiting total number of products

Currently the scenario does not limit the total number of products in a company’s product range. We believe it is reasonable to limit the total number of products to five (in the Multi-Player). This encourages students to focus their efforts on fewer successful products, while at the same time creating greater opportunity for mid/low performing companies to improve. This number is still sufficient for students to have a product in every market if they wish. However, if you would like to increase the limit we can do this on request.

3. Final double rollover

Unless we have arranged with you otherwise, all MikesBikes Advanced courses we will now have a double final rollover (meaning the simulation will rollover twice simultaneously). This eliminates the possibility of “end game” decisions, aimed at a single year performance boost at the cost of long-term success. A final double rollover ensures student’s final decisions leave their company in a healthy position.

If you are interested in learning more see: What is a Double Rollover in MikesBikes Advanced and How Does It Work?

Just let us know if you do not want a final double rollover for any reason.

If you have any comments or questions please contact us.

Historical MikesBikes Dogs

The MikesBikes Dog has now Retired

We are currently in the process of updating the simulation interface and as part of this process, the MikesBikes Dog will be replaced with a new way of giving students a quick indication of their firm’s health.  As they say, some good things need to end for better things to begin.

As we bid farewell to the MikesBikes Dog, let’s look back and see how it was brought to life.

“Cliks”

In 1997-98,  we were introduced to Cliks, the MikesBikes Advanced Dog.

The ‘smiley’ artwork in the original 1997 MikesBikes CD release was more of a simple Japanese cartoon style created by one of our programmers, James Saito.

Screenshot from the original 1997 release.

Around the same year, Dr. Pete Mazany, the founder of Smartsims hired Robert Chan as the graphic artist. 

Robert then created the MikesBikes dogs as Pete Mazany loved dogs and always had at least a couple around the office.

       

We wanted a quick feedback indicator so students would immediately know how they were doing after a rollover, and the dog image was very well received.  Students wanted to see what else the dog would do and it really helped with student engagement.  It actually helps that the original style of the dog is fairly generic, but still endearing.  Some people thought he was a bear, others though he was a goat.  The success of the image is really in his facial expressions and the simple situations he is posed in.

“Einstein”

“Einstein the Dog” arrived soon after launch of MikesBikes Intro.

Nara Paz created Einstein the Dog as a ‘fresher’ re-imagining of the dog concept in 2006, and we integrated these  into MikesBikes Intro soon after.

 

Although the MikesBikes Dog will be replaced, we will still retain its best elements: giving a quick indication of how the students are doing and providing them with something to look forward to seeing after every rollover.

Product Updates for MikesBikes Introduction and MikesBikes Advanced

Over this year, we have made several tweaks and improvements to our simulations:

1. Product Summary / Contribution

The Product Summary – Sales, Margin, Production report has been updated in order for students to identify the contribution of each product:

Product Summary Report Screenshot

2. Fines System

Instructors wanting to penalize firms can do so via the Firms menu of their Administrator features:

Fine Firm Screenshot

For students, this amount shows up after the rollover has been processed in the Income Statement:

Income Statement Screenshot

The fine directly impacts the firm’s profit, which feeds into Shareholder Value.

 

3. Minimum Share Issue Price is now $5 per Share

  • Struggling firms need access to equity.
  • Even bankrupt firms can issue 50% more shares at $5 / share to recapitalize.
  • E.g. A firm with share price of $0.76 and 1 million shares issued could issue 500,000
    shares at $5 / share = $2.5m (making it slightly easier for them to recover).

 4. Up to 20% Share Repurchase

In MikesBikes Introduction

The simulation now allows for students to repurchase shares up to 20% beyond original 1 million share allocation.

Eg. If you have 2 million shares issued, you could repurchase 20%, or 400,000 shares.
When below 1 million, the limit remains at 10%.
Eg. If you have 900,000 shares issued, you could repurchase 90,000 shares.

 

In MikesBikes Advanced

The simulation now allows for students to repurchase shares up to 20% beyond original 2 million share allocation.

Eg. If you have 3 million shares issued, you could repurchase 20%, or 600,000 shares.
Below 2 million the limit remains at 10%.
Eg. If you have 1.8 million shares issued, you could repurchase 180,000 shares.

5. Limit to Projects/ Products

In MikesBikes Introduction

Firms can sell multiple products in a single market segment. This can work if student plans well. But it is often unintended and market share drops due to product cannibalization.
Instructors can now limit students to having at most one product in each segment. At the beginning of your course please let your account manager know if you would like your course set up in this manner.

In MikesBikes Advanced

We can optionally LIMIT:

  • Max Projects per Period
  • Max Products
  • Max Products per Segment

6. Specific MikesBikes Introduction Scenario Improvements include:

  • Sports segment around 40% larger, meaning firms have more room to expand as well a higher chance of generating larger revenue.
  • Branding is cheaper to attain once Distribution and Branding decisions are available.
  • Efficiency is cheaper to attain once Capacity decisions are available.
  • Road segment more sensitive to Quality and Product Specs.
  • Bankrupt Firm Share Price improves faster.

 7. MikesBikes Advanced will contain IFRS Financial Statements:

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are common outside North America, therefore to ensure relevancy to all schools these have now been included. The reports have different names and layouts for Financial Statements.
The different names for financial statements can be:

  • Statement of Comprehensive Income
  • Statement of Financial Position
  • Statement of Cash Flows
  • Statement of Changes in Equity