PIPELINE™ is a 2-3 hour hands-on, interactive, engaging inventory management simulation for supply chain management novices. PIPELINE™ simulates the kinds of business challenges encountered by and the associated analyses routinely conducted by inventory and supply chain analysts and managers.
The PIPELINE™ learning objective is to sensitize users to the full range of inventory management costs that must be balanced to have an efficient and effective inventory management system within a well-functioning, profitable supply chain. Successful inventory management policies are context-dependent (depending on fixed and variable costs, inherent inventory system randomness, and customer stockout costs). PIPELINE™ includes various business challenges (scenarios) to highlight these context drivers.
Target Student Population:
Advanced undergraduates, MBA, or EMBA students. Could also be used in specialty training situations.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Introductory Business courses
Type of Material:
Downloadable simulation that runs from your computer.
Browser, password (available from the simulation owner at email@example.com.) The simulation utilizes Adobe Acrobat Reader and Microsoft Office applications (Excel, Powerpoint, and Word) executed from within the simulation.
Evaluation and Observation
This simulation provides a way of understanding how decisions affect inventory and costs. It illustrates via scenarios the impact of different decisions. The site provides teaching and user notes.After a maximum of nine runs, the user may access thorough debriefing notes that demonstrate an approach to determining appropriate decisions by applying accepted formulas for the stated conditions.
This is a self-contained simulation. The user would only need to ensure they have the proper technical requirements installed on their computer.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The hand out provides clear objectives for how the simulation can be used. Documentation for PIPELINE™ is provided within the software in the form of memos (*.pdf files). User debriefing notes are accessible after completing each scenario in PIPELINE™. Within the debriefing notes, comparative benchmarks are provided based on prior user performance in this simulation.
The instructor would have to ensure students had the ability to use the simulation on their computers or in a computer lab.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The software downloads quickly and easily. The instruction document is clear and very well written. The interactive nature of the simulation makes it appealing.
Instructors will have to try and use it a few times before they feel confident enough assigning it to their students.The only minor concern is that the decision entry form automatically defaults to units (versus percent of sales) and ground transportation (versus air transportation) rather than defaulting to a "blank" in all fields forcing the user to consciously enter a choice. A couple of times, I got unexpected results because I did not change the transportation method from ground to air, "wasting" one of my runs.