SmartSim - Strategy & Branding
In the SmartSim simulation, we can step into the shoes of the top management of a virtual tech company. The company producing and sells 3 different products (smartphone, tablet and laptop) for three different target groups (middle class, upper class, corporate sector). They make decisions based on different preferences for both the three target groups and the three products, so building the right strategy plays an important role.
The simulation focuses on strategy and brand building in addition to production and sales. R&D, i.e. research and development, also plays a prominent role. The products of the already well-functioning company can be specialized, further developed and repositioned based on market opportunities. The effectiveness of the strategy is measured by the Performance index, which includes not only the cumulative profit but also the fulfillment of the production plan, customer and employee satisfaction as well.
The SmartSim simulation requires complex thinking, because several areas must be managed efficiently in the same time.
How the SmartSim simulation software works:
The students, individually or in teams take over the management of the virtual Tech company modeled by the software.
The virtual company is managed by making strategic decisions for annual periods. The software provides a written report on the results of the decisions (Balance Sheet, Cash flow, Income Statement), and the simulation also has a large set of graphs, which provides additional analysis options.
The software can model up to 8 periods, i.e. 8 virtual years.
The goal of the game is to maximize the Performance Index defined on the interface. Cumulative profit, market share, average customer satisfaction and employee morale are also included in the final index, with different weights.
Sales: The company producing and sells 3 different products for three different target groups. Customers choose the products based on different preferences (price, quality, promotion, sales training).
Production: One of the most important areas of the game, because if there is no product produced in adequate quality and quantity, there is nothing to sell. The setting of production factors is crucial, such as raw material, workers, machines, as well as the setting of the plant, amount of shifts/overtime.
HR: In order to be able to sell the right amount and quality of products, an important task is the accurate planning and allocation of human resources. For this, we define five different jobs in the simulation.
Investment: In order to be able to produce the right amount and quality of products, we need the right technical background. We can ensure this by precisely planning production machines, IT and logistics. In this area, it is possible to invest as well as to rent, it is up to the players to decide which option to use and to what extent.
R&D: Research and development are essential in the life of a tech company. Quality factors: Average quality of raw material, research training, technological level and production quality.
Marketing: Well-planned marketing is necessary in order to preserve the reputation of the company and product brands that have been built so far. The distribution of the marketing budget can be done between 5 different channels. In addition, product sales can be encouraged with promotions. It is recommended that players make marketing decisions based on awareness and loyalty factors.
Financing: Adequate financing is essential for effective operation. It is possible to take out a loan, issue bonds and shares.
Advantages and learning points:
The game challenges and develops analytical skills, as students have to find the data that is important to them from the necessary commercial and financial reports (e.g. balance sheet, profit and loss statement, cash flow, market research) and read from them the information that underpins the strategy.
In addition to analytical skills, strategic thinking develops a lot during the game.
Through the customization of the company's products and the development of sales and marketing, they are also closer to strategic branding.
Because it models the operation of a larger economic unit, the game gives a sense of the competitive situation, which - just like in life - the actors of economic life can themselves influence.
Planning is essential for successful operation. It is not only financial matters and stocks that must be taken care of, but the availability of all components required for production and sales at the right time and in the right amount must be ensured (production management).
The program is complex enough to synthesize the students' knowledge and put it into practice.
And just like in real life, good teamwork is essential for successful operations.
Budapest Metropolitan University
Corvinus University of Budapest
Budapest Business University
Universidad del Istmo (Guatemala)
Gyöngyösi Vak Bottyán High School
Tamás Áron High School in Székelyudvarhely