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The Business Strategy Game

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Dania Nava

on 30 October 2014

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Transcript of The Business Strategy Game

The Business Strategy Game
Overview and Orientation

Edgar Ramírez Solís, Ph.D.
The Decisions You Will Be Making
You and your co-managers will make decisions each period relating to:
Corporate social responsibility and citizenship (up to 6 decisions)
Production of branded and private-label athletic footwear (up to 10 decisions each plant, with a maximum of 4 plants)
Plant capacity additions/sales/upgrades (up to 6 decisions per plant)
Worker compensation and training (3 decisions per plant)
Shipping (up to 8 decisions each plant)
Pricing and marketing (up to 10 decisions in 4 geographic regions)
Bids to sign celebrities to endorse your company’s footwear (2 decision entries per bid)
Financing of company operations (up to 8 decisions)
Plus there is a screen for making annual sales forecasts and deciding whether to have inventory clearance sales

Competition Is Head-to-Head: Company Against Company
The head-to-head competition among companies to persuade consumers to buy their brand of athletic footwear is based on 10 factors:
1. Price
2. Number of models/styles
3. Styling/quality (S/Q) rating
4. Advertising
5. Size of retailer network
6. Celebrity endorsements
7. Delivery time
8. Retailer support
9. Mail-in rebates
10. Shipping charges (Internet sales only)

You Have Many Strategic Options
Company managers have wide strategic latitude in staking out a market position and striving for good performance. There’s no built-in bias that favors any one strategy.
Companies can pursue a competitive advantage keyed to low-cost/low-price or top-notch footwear features and styling or more value for the money.
Companies can have a strategy aimed at being the clear market leader in (a) selling branded footwear to retailers or (b) selling directly to online buyers or (c) both.
Companies can put as little or as much emphasis on producing private-label footwear as management prefers.
Companies can focus on one or two geographic regions or strive for geographic balance.
Companies can pursue essentially the same strategy worldwide or craft slightly or very different strategies for each geographic region.

No One Strategy is “Best”
Most any well-conceived, well-executed competitive approach is capable of succeeding,
provided it is not overpowered by the strategies of competitors or defeated by the presence of too many copycat strategies that dilute its effectiveness.

In other words,
which strategies deliver the best performance hinges on the strength and interplay of each company’s strategy and decisions against the strategies and decisions employed by rival companies
—there positively is no mystery “silver bullet” strategy or decision combination that players are challenged to discover.

It’s an online, PC-based exercise where you run an athletic footwear company in head-to-head competition against companies run by other class members.
The marketplace is worldwide—production and sales activities can be pursued in North America, Latin America, Europe-Africa, and Asia Pacific.
There are 12 market segments—4 geographic segments each for branded footwear sales to retailers, for online footwear sales direct to consumers, and for private-label sales.

What is the Business Strategy Game all about?
Your Company’s Situation
All companies start out on the same footing—with equal sales volume, global market share, revenues, profits, costs, footwear quality, and so on.
Each decision period in The Business Strategy Game represents a year.
The company you will be running began operations 10 years ago, and the first set of decisions you and your co-managers will make is for Year 11.
The company had Year 10 revenues of $238 million, net profits of $25 million (equal to $2.50 per share), an ROE of ~17%, and a solid B+ credit rating.
Your company is in sound financial condition, is performing well, and its products are well-regarded by the buyers of athletic footwear.

A Company’s Competitive Effort vis-à-vis Rivals Is Crucial
All the sales and market share differences among companies are attributable to differing competitive efforts on price, S/Q rating, advertising, models offered, delivery times, retailer support, and so forth.

Hence, every company’s strategic challenge is to craft a competitive strategy (consisting of its prices, S/Q ratings, advertising, models, delivery times, retailer support, and so on) that it believes will produce the desired sales and market share outcomes when pitted against the competitive strategies of rival companies, region by region.
Following each year’s decisions, you’ll be provided with Competitive Intelligence reports containing information of the actions rivals took to capture the sales and market shares they got.
Armed with this information, you will be in pretty good position to figure out some of the strategic moves that rival companies are likely to make in the upcoming decision period.
Just as in sports where it is customary for every team to scout its next opponent thoroughly and develop a game plan to defeat them, you will need to scout the strategies of rivals, try to judge what they will do next, and come up with a competitive strategy of your own aimed at “defeating” their strategies and boosting your company’s performance.

The Contest in the Marketplace Is a “Battle of Strategies”
Following each year’s decisions, you’ll be provided with Competitive Intelligence reports containing information of the actions rivals took to capture the sales and market shares they got.
Armed with this information, you will be in pretty good position to figure out some of the strategic moves that rival companies are likely to make in the upcoming decision period.
Just as in sports where it is customary for every team to scout its next opponent thoroughly and develop a game plan to defeat them, you will need to scout the strategies of rivals, try to judge what they will do next, and come up with a competitive strategy of your own aimed at “defeating” their strategies and boosting your company’s performance.

Outcompeting Rivals Is the Key to Market Success
The Business Strategy Game is all about practicing and experiencing what it takes to develop winning strategies in a globally competitive marketplace.
When the exercise is over, the only things separating the best-performing company from those with weaker performances will be the caliber of the decisions and strategies of the management teams of the respective companies.
It’s an exercise calculated to spur competition and to get your competitive juices flowing.

It’s all about developing winning Strategies
The industry setting in The Business Strategy Game is modeled to closely approximate the real-world character of the globally competitive athletic footwear industry.
The functioning of the marketplace in The Business Strategy Game mirrors the competitive functioning of the real-world athletic footwear market, thus allowing you and your co-managers to proceed rationally and logically in deciding what to do
Company operations are designed to be as realistic as possible
Operations are patterned after those of an athletic footwear company that makes its footwear at company-operated plants.
All cause-effect relationships and revenue-cost-profit relationships are based on sound business and economic principles.

Some features of the Market and Company Environment
The whole concept underlying The Business Strategy Game is to put you and your co-managers in as realistic a company and competitive market setting as possible and have you manage all aspects of the company’s operations
This allows you to test your ideas about how to run a company in a competitive marketplace
And you will be provided prompt and detailed feedback on the outcomes of your decisions.
Some features of the Market and Company Environment (cont.)
Virtually all BSG activities take place online, on a PC that must be installed with (1) any Web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox) and (2) the Flash plug-in, Version 10.0 or later.
You can either use the same PC for all BSG sessions or you can use different PCs; all that is required is an Internet connection and any Web browser with the Flash plug-in, Version 10.0 or later.
BSG-Online automatically transfers the needed software from the BSG server to the PC you are working on very quickly (within a couple of minutes even on a slow connection); when you exit a session, your work is saved and transferred back to the server.
The last decisions saved to the BSG server at the time of the decision deadline are the ones used to generate the results
PC Requirements and Mechanics
How Company Performance Is Judged
Board members and shareholders/investors have set five performance objectives for the company:
1. Grow earnings per share at least 7% annually through Year 15 and at least 5% annually thereafter.
2. Maintain a return on equity investment (ROE) of 15% or more annually.
3. Maintain a B+ or higher credit rating.
4. Achieve stock price gains averaging about 7% annually through Year 15 and about 5% annually thereafter.
5. Achieve an “image rating” of 70 or higher (a company’s image rating is tied to the styling/quality of a company’s branded footwear, market share penetration, and its actions to display corporate citizenship and social responsibility).

Scoring Weights
The weights that will be placed on your company’s achievement of each of the five annual performance targets are as follows:

EPS 20%
ROE 20%
Credit Rating 20%
Stock Price 20%
Image Rating 20%

Two scoring standards are used in calculating “performance scores” for each company:
The investors expectations standard (Did you meet or beat the annual performance targets for each of the 5 performance measures?)
The best-in-industry standard (How well does your company’s performance stack up against the company with the best EPS, ROE, stock price, and image rating and against an industry-best A+ credit rating?)

The scoring standards are explained in the Player’s Guide and even more fully on the “Help” screens for pp. 1, 2, and 3 of the Footwear Industry Report where the company scores are reported.

The Two Scoring Standards
What You Can Expect to Learn
Running the athletic footwear company in head-on competition with rivals will give you a chance to put into play the very kinds of things you are reading in the text about crafting and executing strategy in a globally competitive marketplace—there is a very tight connection between the text for the course and The Business Strategy Game.
You and your co-managers will have to chart a long-term direction for your company, set and achieve strategic and financial objectives, craft a strategy, and adapt it to changing industry and competitive conditions.
You’ll have to wrestle with a full array of industry statistics, company operating reports and financial statements, and an assortment of benchmarking data and competitive intelligence on what rivals are doing.
You’ll have to match strategic wits with the managers of rival companies, "think strategically" about your company's competitive market position, and figure out the kinds of actions it will take to outcompete rivals.

Learning to do all these things and gaining an appreciation
of why they matter are the heart and soul of courses
in business strategy.
What You Can Expect to Learn
In addition, The Business Strategy Game is designed expressly to provide you with an experience that will:
Draw together the information and lessons of prior courses, consolidate your knowledge about the different aspects of running a company, and provide a capstone experience for your business school education.
Deepen your understanding of revenue-cost-profit relationships and build your confidence in utilizing the information contained in company financial statements and operating reports. You’ll see why you cannot hope to understand a company’s business and make prudent decisions without full command of the numbers—it won’t take you long to appreciate why shooting from the hip is a sure ticket for managerial disaster.
Provide you with practice in sizing up a company’s situation, making sound, responsible business decisions, and being accountable for delivering good results.

The Corporate Lobby Page
Each time you log-on to www.bsg-online.com, you are automatically routed to your company’s “Corporate Lobby” web page.
The Corporate Lobby page is your gateway to all BSG activities. Near the top of this page is a series of menu selections that provide instant access to all the necessary information, materials, and tools you will need:
- The Player’s Guide
-Decision Schedule
-Company Name
Below these menu items are (1) a Decisions and Reports box for accessing the decision entry screens and viewing reports, (2) a message center box, and (3) information showing the latest exchange rate adjustments, current interest rates, and a company performance scoreboard.
You have anywhere, anytime access to your Corporate Lobby page from any PC that is connected to the Internet.

Some Procedures
Check the Decision Schedule link on your Corporate Lobby page for the dates and deadlines for the decisions. The decision deadlines are strictly enforced, since the results are processed automatically on the BSG servers minutes after the deadline.
The results of each decision will be available online about 15-20 minutes after the decision deadline.
You will be notified via e-mail as soon as the results are ready. At that point you can log-on, see what happened, and proceed with the next decision.
Tips for Success
Make use of the short Video Tutorials—these are particularly helpful early on when you are trying to become familiar with the software, the menus, the information on the screens, and how to proceed.
Whenever you want more in-depth explanations and details than contained in a Video Tutorial, click on the Help button at the top of a decision screen or report page.
The Help sections for decision screens provide information about each decision entry, full explanations of cause-effect relationships, and tips/suggestions about what to do and not do.
The Help sections for any page of the Company Reports, the Footwear Industry Report, and the Competitive Intelligence Reports explain what the numbers mean, how they are calculated, and how to use the information to good advantage.
Follow the Suggested Decision Procedures (see the Support menu on your Corporate Lobby page)
Learn as much as you can from the practice decision(s)—the chief purpose of the practice decisions is to help you become fully acquainted with:
-All the menus
-The decision entries
-The on-screen calculations that appear when you make a decision entry
-The information that appears on all the various reports that become available after each decision round is complete

The more you learn from the practice rounds, the better your chances for getting off to a good start!!!
Tips for Success
Run the company in a serious, professional manner. The overriding purpose of The Business Strategy Game is to give you practice in making business decisions, learning to craft winning strategies in a competitive market, and being held fully accountable for the results of your actions just as managers in the real-world are held accountable for the performance of the companies they run.
Be very wary of trying something that is imprudent or highly risky or un-businesslike (things that would get a manager fired in a real company).

-Students who resort to trying to “game the system” usually shoot themselves in the foot.
-This is not the time to be a daring adventurer out to win some variant of a videogame by making wild decisions or extreme decision entries.

Tips for Success
Full transcript