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Want to improve alignment in your supply chain? Consider serious gaming

23 Feb 2018
Compared to traditional training forms, serious gaming has proven better at motivating participants, enhancing their knowledge, and changing their behavior. Did you know that only 10% of what we know comes from the classroom setting we were once in? A rough 20% consists of lessons we’ve learned from co-workers and approximately 70% of our knowledge stems from trial-and-error learning on the job. The latter can be as expensive as it can be harmful – especially in a business setting as encountered in supply chain collaboration.

Therefore, it is wise to consider a safer alternative. Serious gaming enables users to learn actively by experiencing the consequences of their decisions in a secure environment. Employees can draw conclusions regarding their own choices in an effective yet playful manner. Curious about this smart approach? We’ll tell you more about it in this blog.

Serious gaming: ins and outs

Briefly put, a serious game is a digital game whose primary intention is to change or reinforce players’ attitudes towards a concept or object that is separate from the game. In other words, it is not the game’s characteristics that matter, but the way in which it is used to teach users something that they can apply in daily life.

As their strength is to provide insight into abstract, complex topics in a realistic yet accessible way, serious games are often deployed to motivate users, enhance their knowledge, or change their behavior. Offering a certain tension, they significantly increase learning efficiency.

Research has shown that compared to more traditional forms of training, serious gaming is better at enhancing knowledge retention as well as the ability to apply knowledge independently. Participants are better able to connect theory and practice, which results in improved performances on the work floor.

Serious gaming in supply chain and operations

Currently, serious games are widely deployed in healthcare, education, and the army. There are, however, serious games focusing on supply chain and operations as well, although these are lesser known. Recurring themes in such games are warehousing, service logistics, terminal logistics, and supply chain finance, among others. A common thread in all these games is the logistics chain’s interdependence. Usually, their objective is to help users discover how a department’s decision affects the entire chain, thus showing the importance of aligning decisions to achieve the best possible result.

How about The Cool Connection?

For projects that require an emphasis on a chain’s interdependence and/or an improvement of cross-functional collaboration, M3 Consultancy uses a serious game called ‘The Cool Connection’ (developed by Inchainge B.V.). This highly advanced, realistic web-based business simulation game provides insights into to complexities and interdependences of supply chain management and supply chain finance. Players will recognize typical supply chain topics such as service levels, delivery methods, production intervals, and warehousing, which are linked to financial topics including payment instruments, financing, and cash management.

Teams adopt four different functional roles, aiming to achieve the highest possible business performance. This allows players to experience the power of true alignment and a well-articulated strategy, supported by tactical skills and knowledge.

Upon completion of the game, discussions and feedback sessions ensure that players can share insights and identify lessons learned. Subsequently, additional case studies and workshops encourage participants to apply their newly acquired knowledge to their own business processes.

In addition to business settings, The Cool Connection is also very suitable for getting students acquainted with the complexity of supply chain and operations. Back in January, we played The Cool Connection at a national event organized by De Kleine Consultant, a non-profit strategy consultancy agency fully run by students. The participating student consultants indicated that they preferred playing this serious game over attending a presentation or studying a ‘case on paper,’ as it provided a much more fun and effective way of learning.

Would you like to learn more?

Are you interested in enhancing alignment within your company or supply chain, and do you want to know what The Cool Connection can do for you? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to discuss your opportunities.

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