This module is a very simple routing problem that includes answers with an animated illustration.
The assignment shows one way this module can be used in a classroom setting.
Type of Material:
Sales routing problem with visual simulation
Netscape or Internet Explorer Browsers and printer
Identify Major Learning Goals:
? The learning goal is to have students apply territory routing techniques in a case study problem. ? Given its simplicity, I'd suggest that it be positioned more as an introductory "interest building" exercise to start a class about territory routing methods. It illustrates the problem of territory routing in an extremely simple context -- opening the door for discussion about its unrealistic simplicity and the many, more complicated problems that create a need for studying these methods.
Target Student Population:
Undergraduates or, possibly, professional sales new hires.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
? As it requires the application of previously learned routing techniques, these would need to have been learned or at least accessible for reference before the simulation problem is used. ? If it's used as an opening exercise to a course, we'd argue that no prerequisites are really necessary to find an optimum solution.
? This module is quick and simple, and it is well done from this perspective. The problems sound realistic and relevant. The animation illustrates the "ray sweep method" very well. ? There are two other problems linked to this exercise that are more challenging in their complexity: 1. Quik Wrap Systems - a more thoughtful problem, but no solution(s) are provided. 2. Alpine Products - a more complex problem, but the scenario is somewhat unrealistic. Solutions are provided, however.
? Allied Standard Brands is an extremely simple problem, and the animation, while certainly interesting to watch, seems like a lot of effort for a concept that is relatively easy to understand with just a simple, written explanation. It would be interesting to see the same instructional approach used for more complex (and probably more likely) problems. ? In all problems, the methods illustrated are not explained; it is assumed that students know what they are or have other resources to find out.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
? Easy to understand directions and visual map answer ? The assignment (by Cathy Owens Swift) adds context for the module, and positions it more as a simple demonstration of a larger issue -- a good way to start a lecture or more complex discussion." ? The learning objectives are not stated explicitly in the simulation module, but the problem is simple enough to figure them out rather quickly.
? Very narrow application - sales routing ? This could be an interesting problem and assignment for students (they'd probably like the animation), though assigning just this Allied Standard Brands module might be a bit too minor an assignment to warrant having students log on and find it. I think adding the other problems (Quik Wrap and Alpine Products) to the assignment would more clearly illustrate the potential complexities of this topic.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
? The simulation module is easy to read and clearly written. The visuals/graphics are particularly clear for this module -- multiple colors and shapes make it easy to see relevant information. The animation is fun to watch. ? The assignment is clear and straightforward.
? The first part of the Allied Standard Brands routing problem is simple enough that students probably do not need to go through the hassle of printing out the map to circle routes. ? The "answer" links students to see the "ray sweep" animation three times -- this is probably overkill given the inherent simplicity of the concept. ? The module could be enhanced by adding descriptions of the method(s) illustrated, making it more of a tutorial. ? There is a spelling error in the first Allied "answer." ? There is limited use; that is sales routing.
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