What is the course of the game?
The first step in the game is to define the business you'd like to manage. You pick one from the available in the game (and for your account type) forms, specify the name, logo, and if you decide to play as a manufacturer - you pick up to 5 categories you decided to manufacture.
Then the game starts, and it follows the same, fixed schedule. The game is divided into rounds, fiscal periods, and every period lasts for one day. Every day you analyse the market situation, your business parameters, and make decisions. After each period, and prior to the next one the results of the last decisions of all players in the market are re-calculated, and new set of reports are generated. The next round starts with the reports analysis, and based on the analysis outcomes you make new decisions.
The first rounds are quite unique as you start the game with zero stock levels (retailers with empty shelves!). As a manufacturer, you should decide on the planned manufacturing level for each product in the next round. You can also let the automated algorithm manage your plans and stock levels. The levels defined are the upper limit for product sales. As a distributor or a retailer you can plan the volumes you'd like to purchase (again - this will set the upper sales limit). In this case, however, and instant purchase from the suppliers' stocks is possible (if you have enough cash!). If you do it, you basically buy products to secure shelf availability before the next round begins. Also in this case you can let the algorithm manage the plans for you.
Certainly, you do not have to make decisions every day. Mature market have businesses trading with significant number of products, and detailed analysis would be very time consuming. The frequency of your business parameters tuning is absolutely up to you or your team. The more detailed analysis, and better-informed decisions increase the chance to succeed, but as in real life, you need to prioritize and allocate your own resources as time you'd like to spend on operating your business.
It's critical here to understand the game model which constrain the decisions you are able to make. The model is based on the following assumptions:
- There is stock management included in the model. The upper limit for manufactured quantities is the production capacity, but for sales it's the initial stock + manufacturing plan. Unsold level remains as a stock for the next round.
- Similarly, distributors and retailers buy and sell at most what they have initially on stock + what they buy.
- The sales chain has one direction, i.e. manufacturers sell to distributors and retailers, distributors to retailers, and retailers to shoppers/consumers. No horizontal (within the same distribution level) or reversed (e.g. retailer selling to distributor) transactions are feasible.
- For every transaction the sales value and quantity equals purchase value an quantity.
- Because of the stock management functionality - there is time shift between transactions across the distribution chain. If a manufacturer introduced new product - it can be available in retail after a couple of rounds.
- The sales level of retailers depends on the consumes-driven demand depending on price, marketing communication, in-store visibility, and the upper limit is the sum of initial stock levels and purchased quantities in the given period.