The Beer Distribution Game

Beer Game at Suppliers' Day

The Beer Distribution Game being played at a suppliers' day of a swiss industrial engineering company.

The Beer Distribution Game is a simulation of a supply chain with four co-makers (retailer, wholesaler, distributor and factory). Participants take the role of a co-maker and decide - based on their current stock situation and customer orders - how much to order from their suppliers. All co-makers have a common goal: Minimizing costs for capital employed in stocks while avoiding out-of-stock situations. The surprising results of the simulation explain inefficiencies of supply chains known as the bullwhip effect.
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Das Beer Distribution Game simuliert eine Lieferkette mit vier Teilnehmern (Einzelhändler, Grosshändler, Verteiler und Fabrik). Die Teilnehmer entscheiden - auf der Basis ihres aktuellen Lagerbestands und den vorliegenden Kundenaufträgen - wie viel sie bei ihren Lieferanten bestellen. Dabei hat die Lieferkette ein gemeinsames Ziel: Die Kosten für das im Lager gebundene Kapital zu minimieren, gleichzeitig aber lieferfähig zu bleiben. Die überraschenden Ergebnisse der Simulation erklären, wie eine Lieferkette durch den sogenannten Bullwhip-Effekt ineffizient reagiert.
Simulation auf Deutsch starten

You will meet other players here on:

  • Wednesday, at 09:00
  • Thursday, at 16:30
  • Tuesday, at 12:30

(Still you can start the simulation at any time you want. All times are GMT +1 [Berlin, Zurich].)

Technical note

  • In company networks with a restrictive firewall policy, the error message "The Beer Game Server is not running." might occur. This problem is caused by firewalls that do not allow communcation between your computer and the Game Server on ports 8890 to 8894. You have to open ports 8890 to 8894 on your firewall or you can dial in at an internet provider to avoid this problem.
  • Attention: Because the beergame application runs on an older java-version, it is not recommended to use it in lectures or trainings.

If you would like to physically play the Beer Distribution Game in your company, please turn to Manuel Rippel. It takes at least four participants and about two hours, including a detailed analysis and an explanation what the bullwhip effect is and how it can be overcome.

Wenn Sie die Brettspiel-Version des Beer Distribution Game in Ihrem Unternehmen durchführen möchten, wenden Sie sich bitte an Manuel Rippel. Mindestens vier Teilnehmer werden benötigt. Die Simulation dauert - mit einer Analyse der Ergebnisse und einer Erklärung des Bullwhip-Effekts sowie möglicher Gegenmassnahmen - etwa zwei Stunden.

Further Information

A study based on the Beer Distribution Game online (PDF, 277 KB) was presented at the Supply Chain World Europe 2002. It not only analyses causes of the bullwhip effect but also explains, which role human behaviour plays in the effect. For a more detailed article and further literature, please refer to "How human behaviour amplifies the bullwhip effect - a study based on the beer distribution game online" (PDF, 113 KB).