Robot™ | Business Simulation

**FOR USE IN VIRTUAL & FACE-TO-FACE TRAINING SESSIONS** Set in the manufacturing sector this business simulation is about growth - by investing in new markets across the globe. Get the business model right and the world is your oyster, but the competition in the field of robotics is tough!

Learning Objectives

  • to understand basic business acumen skills
  • to experience stock control, ordering and forecasting
  • to analyse P&L, Balance Sheets and Operational Statements
  • to make decisions in a financial context
  • to practise being part of a business management team.

Five Year Repeat Use Licence

This Northgate training activity comes with a five-year licence for repeat use with up to 24 participants per training session within the licence-holding organisation. Please ask for a discount on multiple licences to use with larger groups. Also includes access to the Northgate Trainerhub (see below for details).

  • Participants

    6-24 (two to four teams of 3-6 per team)

  • Timing

    4 - 6 hours + debrief

  • Uses a computer?

    Yes - 1 PC required (printer optional)

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The Activity

Teams take over the management of a robotics company. There are potential, new markets in Europe, USA, Gulf States and Asia Pacific. At each quarter of the simulation teams have the option to enter new regions, so what will they do? It’s important to establish a sound business model at home but timing is critical in this highly competitive industry sector. How much risk are teams prepared to take in order to gain an early foothold in vital new markets?

Margins are tight so staffing and stock levels are key issues. The company needs to meet customer demand - but not at any cost!

Success is about good forecasting, choosing the right suppliers and having the right sized production workforce. If there are insufficient finished robots the company will be unable to meet demand - how badly will that reflect on their market share?

At the start teams need to analyse business data and make informed decisions. Sometimes they need to make educated guesses - just like real business - but it’s important not to make assumptions when there is data and history available to make informed choices.

There are also optional business situations to discuss (they are thought provoking and good for discussion at the end but don’t actually influence the results). Other issues do have an effect. For example, cultural differences mean that the raw materials vary according to the region for which robots are being built. So robots are ‘region specific’. Teams also have the opportunity to extend the business by supplying apps for customers to enhance their existing robots.

The winning team is the one with the most profit at the end - or you can use other criteria.

Trainer's Role

  • Give a brief introduction, in terms of how the simulation works: a number of rounds in which teams make business decisions that are analysed by the program. Explain what determines the winning team.
  • Issue each team with a Team Folder and allow 60-90 minutes for teams to analyse the contents.
  • Issue each team with a Decision Form on which teams record their decisions for the first quarter: prices, staff numbers, markets, salaries, advertising spend etc.
  • Collect the Forms and enter the details into the program. When all teams data is entered, issue P&Ls, Balance Sheets and Operational Statements for each team. Teams analyse their results. In the next decision period they can amend any of their first decisions as they strive to get control of the business and maximise profit.
  • There is the option each round to issue a ‘Situation’ to teams. These are business issues to consider. They do not influence the result but are useful for discussion at the debrief.
  • This process repeats for a number of rounds - six usually but you can go up to 12.
  • At the end, ask each team to review their performance and to give a presentation in terms of their teamwork, decision making and business management.
  • Lead a debrief on the financial aspects of the activity and compare the final profits of all teams. Announce the winning team.
  • Summarise the key points and lesson learned and relate to the workplace.

Full guidance for running and debriefing sessions is supplied in the Trainer’s Notes.

Pack Contents

  • Trainer’s Notes
  • Trainer's PowerPoint
  • Team Folders (with 13 inserts)
  • Computer Program (internet access required)
  • Handouts: Sets of Six Business Situations
  • Also included in the virtual version: Trainer's Checklist, Period 1 Decision Form, Starting Financial Data

This activity is supplied as a hard copy pack for face-to-face classroom use and as a set of digital files for virtual classroom use (the digital files are supplied via the Northgate Trainerhub).

Northgate Trainerhub

Benefits of the online Northgate Trainerhub include:

  • Easy-to-access resource library which stores all the digital files for the activity in one place
  • Immediate access to upgrades made to the activity over the five-year licence term
  • Access to an online Trainer Forum where you can post questions, share experiences & network with other Trainers
  • Access to free activities and icebreakers
  • Option to send briefing information to team leaders digitally via the hub using Team Access Codes
  • Unlimited Trainer logins for all Trainers based at the licence-holding site

We used 'Robot' on a strategic management and leadership course with 24 participants. The exercise brought out very clearly the need for a managing body or Board to set objectives and control the work of an organization. The greatest learning points were that any team needs to spend time planning, selecting which strategy to apply and building a structured approach to a task, ensuring that everyone is totally clear on what has to be achieved.

Mohannad Al Assal, Managing Partner, Better Consulting, Egypt

We have just finished a two day management program where we play the 'Robot' game. We really like running this game, it gets the delegates to think of actions they take in a business environment, it creates good conversations within their groups and a bit of competition within the whole group which is healthy. It drives them to drill down and look at the whole picture of a business, which is critical. We will continue to use this game with our training.

Laura Manze-Coakley, Competence Development Specialist, Volvo Group

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