The Business Turnaround Simulation Exercise
This simulation exercise involves participants running a manufacturing company making
an assembled product using stickle bricks. The participants assume roles including that
of operator, planner, line feeder, managing director, sales director etc. The facilitator
takes on the role of customer. Over a series of rounds the participants have to work
together to turn the business around. This is an operational turnaround, not financial
reconstruction, although the participants clearly have to achieve financial targets for the
business to become viable. Ideally a minimum of 10 people is required to run the game.
There are 4 stages in the operation. The participants are briefed on the rules of the
game and allocated their roles on a random basis. Each round is 10 minutes comprising
10 one minute periods. The participants are then thrown straight into the game. There
is work in progress, stock and some finished goods. Assemblies have to be completed
and shipped on demand. The first round is chaotic but exposes the delegates to the
problems of maintaining operational efficiency whilst supplying the customer. At the end
of the round the group have 10 minutes to identify the top 5 problems. Through
facilitation they use Root Cause Analysis to determine the real problems and avoid quick
fix solutions. A further 10 minutes are allowed to identify solutions to the problems.
They are then given a further 5 minutes to implement one solution.
These rounds are repeated a further 2 or 3 times and the group goes through a process
of continuous improvement but this is usually insufficient to turn the business around.
Prior to the last round we set the vision as to what needs to be achieved in terms of
costs, resources, quality and delivery. A process of Step Change is introduced.
The game is all about communication, working together and understanding the
importance of getting it right first time under sever time pressures. It is also about
understanding what you are doing through training and achieving real results through
The game is facilitated. It is not a test and people are not made to look foolish or
assessed in any way. It is meant to be a learning process to enable teams to work
together more coherently and smarter, rather than simply work hard. The whole
exercise takes about 3 hours.
Contact Harry Moore, Moore Fleming on 07843 009887 or email firstname.lastname@example.org