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The Distribution Game

The Distribution Game

This game is a computer simulation of retailers and wholesaler inventory systems. We play the game before we introduce EOQ and safety stock theory. The students soon get a feel for tradeoffs between ordering and inventory costs. We follow this trial and error experiment by a presentation of the theory. Students are then asked to apply the theory to the game's parameters and rerun it. The game captures several issues of inventory management as they relate to cost minimization and service level. These include order quantities, lead time, reorder points and safety stocks. This game can be used effectively to reinforce these concepts. The real strength of the game, however, is that it captures other aspects of inventory management that are typically missing from operations management text books. These are mainly the multiple echelon ordering system and pipeline stock.

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