Littlefield Technologies

It started as the final assignment for our EWMBA 204 – Core Operations class. It ended up as a three-day addiction and obsession. It took over all discussions on the EWMBA 2014 Facebook page. Several throwdowns, challenges and a nail biting finish later, the winner was crowned at 11:05PM yesterday night. It was over… the Littlefield Technologies simulation was complete.

Littlefield Technologies is an online simulation of a high-tech factory that brings together all the concepts from EWMBA 204. It runs for continuously for 3.5 days simulating an entire production year at the factory. In teams of four, we became the operations managers of the factory, making decisions regarding inventory purchases, factory capacity and capital investments, order sizes and contract types; all with objective of ending the simulation with the highest possible cash balance.

The simulation really brought home everything that we learnt through the semester. It also challenged us to use our core analytical skills in accurately predicting demand, supply and factory utilizations. With the simulation running continuously, it became an obsession to refresh the internet browser every few minutes to check on the status of our factory. Some of us stayed up into the wee hours of the morning just to make sure out factory stayed on track. Many strategies, regressions, moving averages and trendline analyses later, we ended up in 10th place. Oh well!! We did not end up on top, but we learnt a lot. The Littlefield simulation turned out to be one of the most exhilarating experiences in the EWMBA so far.

And now, time to head back to the non-simulated world …

That’s all folks!!

–          Shamik

The Beer Game


Some of you may have read the recent Business Week article about simulations and case studies. Our Operations class has had its fair share of simulations during the last 8 weeks as Deanne mentioned earlier. Simulations provide a refreshing alternative to case studies since you have to make real decisions that will affect the outcome of your group’s performance.

This week’s class allowed Deanne and me to both share in the opportunity to try managing a supply chain for beer. Our combined class allowed the cohorts to get together and socialize a bit too. Although we had read about the bullwhip effect in our book, there’s nothing like a hands-on scenario to see how the theory really works out. I got to play the part of the retailer, seeing true demand, and how the fulfillment of demand gets all out of whack when your buddies up the supply chain start guestimating what they think you want. The chips represent individual cases of beer that need to be moved through the supply chain and we physically moved supply between each level of the chain. The aspect of having real beer during the game made it all the more entertaining.