an introduction to operations management











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OPERATIONS provides a basic introduction to operations management. This business simulation covers forecasting, planning & budgeting, scheduling and control. It lasts three or four hours depending on whether a formal budget is prepared (using the optional work sheets).

Participants run a simulated operating unit for twelve months. Each month they must decide on how much to produce, the amount of raw materials to purchase and whether to work more than one shift. But, before doing this they must forecast future sales (based on past sales trends) and decide a strategy to ensure they meet demand at the lowest possible cost.

While running the unit they will have decide whether sales are meeting forecast and costs are to budget despite the erraticness of the sales and actual production.

Operations is ideal for introduction to operations, financial appreciation, and management appreciation courses.


Key Learning




Ways of Using


KEY LEARNING: The simulation covers these issues:

AVAILABILITY: This business simulation is designed to be used by your trainers.

Learn more about running a business simulation yourself.

DURATION: Three hours. This short duration allow the simulation to fit into most course time-tables (even the "difficult" after dinner slot).

TARGET AUDIENCE: The simulations are designed to be used by trainees, junior management up to middle management, functional specialists and supervisors. Or, as an ice breaker, for all levels up to senior management.

METHOD: After a short briefing the training group is divided into several teams of three to five participants. Each consider the problem facing them and then make a series of decisions that are fed, by the team, into their own microcomputer that simulates their effect. The results are printed for the team to analyse before making their next decisions. This decision-making cycle should be repeated for at least eight periods. At the end of the simulation phase the teams reunite to discuss and compareresults.

HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS: Ideally a single PC and printer for each teams (of four or five participants). But, if necessary two or three teams can share a single computer with printer.

The simulation uses an advanced simulator that supports tutoring, provides for ease of use and will run on all Windows operating systems from Windows 98 thorough Windows 8.



Initially, participants analyse five year's sales history. Optionally, this allows the introduction of statistical sales forecasting approaches such as time-series analysis and, for advanced groups, band forecasts. Alternatively, to shorten this phase, participants can be provided with prepared forecasts.


Participants, must decide how much to produce, what materials to purchase and whether or when to increase the number of shifts worked. In doing this, they must evaluate and balance the costs of overtime, inventory holding, purchase volume discounts, the costs of changing shifts and lost sales.


If time allows and if required, a full set of budgeting work sheets is provided to allow participants to produce a detailed budget. Alternatively, participants can build a "spread-sheet" model based on the work sheets.


Having decided their budget, teams must actually run the unit on a month by month basis. They enter target production, purchasing and shift working decisions into the simulator that then produces the results for analysis and comparison against the budget.


Besides introducing participants to standard manufacturing costs and cost of sales, the simulation allows exploration of trends in unit costs, measures of efficiency losses, inventory costs and the balance between sales, production and inventory.


With random variations in sales and production achieved, coupled with inaccuracies in the forecast, participants must measure how they are meeting their budget and decide whether they can meet year-end targets. To help with this activity, an, optional, worksheet is provided.


The uncertainties, ambiguities and dynamics of the simulation mean that it can be used to acquaint new graduates, engineers and scientists with the nature of business and decision-making.


With participants working in small teams, they have the opportunity to share experience and knowledge, present and promote different viewpoints, develop time management and their "people" skills.


This simulation is available for company training on a per course rental basis (rather than on a per participant basis) and for academic (university) and school use on a per course and an annual unlimited use basis. For you convenience you can pay in pounds sterling (), US Dollars () or Euros.

Learn more about the rental process

Training Type


Company Training




Academic (annual use)




School (annual license)





  1. Single company training course is up to 30 participants Beyond that for each group of 30 a copy of the business simulation must be rented.

  2. Rentals in the UK and the European Union will incur VAT (Value Added Tax) at 20%. For the rest of the world VAT is not charged.

  3. Company Training use is invoiced after successful use.

  4. Academic use up to first degree level and school use is free - see School and University Use.


This business simulation can be used:


Documentation is provided separately for the UK and US Versions MS Word format and comprises:

A  Participants' Manual that provides, for the participants. a description of the simulation, a description of their task and how to use the software.

The Background Notes describe the simulation for the trainer and may be used as a handout to the participants at the end of the simulation. (Please contact us for these)

The Record Sheets are optional and are provided to allow teams to share key results as the simulation progresses. (Please contact us for a copy.)

Using the Simulator provides, for the trainer (and computer support staff), information about installing the simulation and the use of the software.

Running the Simulation provides, for the trainer, information about running the simulation.

Briefing is a MS Power Point briefing explaining the simulation to the participants. (You may find it useful if you review this before reading the briefs.)

  UK Versions US Versions
Participants' Manual Document Size 37k bytes Document Size 40k bytes
Record Sheet Download size 31k bytes Download size 31k bytes
Using the Simulator Document Size 46k bytes Document Size 46k bytes
Running the Simulation 64k Bytes 64k Bytes
Briefing Download 33k Bytes Download 33k Bytes


This is provided to allow you to download an evaluation version of the simulation. 

The table below shows the files to download, their description and size. You should copy them to a folder, a USB Flash Drive or even to floppy discs! Run setup.exe. The program will then install.

If, instead of installing from the Web, you are installing from the CD-ROM version of this resource you can install directly by clicking setup.exe and opening the file.

Note: When downloading the setup.lst file you must right click and then select Save As. (If you left click the file will open - this is a feature of Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.)

File Description Size
setup.exe Installation Program 137 Kbytes
Setup.lst Installation Data 5 Kbytes
Operate.cab Simulator Files 2,414 Kbytes

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2001 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 10/04/15
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail