The Business Strategy Game Online 8th Edition

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The Business Strategy Game Online 8th Edition

  • Orientation and Overview

What Is The Business Strategy Game All About?

  • 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 worldwideproduction 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?

  • You and your co-managers have responsibility for managing all aspects of the company’s operations. As a senior executive, you get to test your ideas about how to run a company (in as realistic a competitive market setting as can be created), and the “live case” nature of the simulation provides prompt feedback on the outcomes of your decisions.

  • Your challenge is to craft and execute a strategy for your athletic footwear company that, when pitted against the strategies of rival companies, delivers good bottom-line results and builds shareholder value.

How Does The Business Strategy Game Work?

  • Virtually all BSG activities take place online, on a PC that must be installed with both Internet Explorer and Microsoft Excel (either the 2000, XP, or 2003 versions).

  • 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, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Excel.

  • 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.

How Does The Business Strategy Game Work?

  • 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), had an ROE of ~17%, and a solid B+ credit rating.

The Types and Numbers of Decisions

  • You and your co-managers will make decisions each period relating to

  • 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

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 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 the Europe-Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and North America markets.

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 the strategies employed by rival companies—not on some mystery “silver bullet” decision combination that players are challenged to discover.

Competitive Variables That Determine Company Sales and Market Shares

  • Price

  • Number of models/styles

  • Styling/quality (S/Q) rating

  • Advertising

  • Size of retailer network

  • Celebrity endorsements

  • Delivery time

  • Retailer support

  • Mail-in rebates

  • Shipping charges (Internet sales only)

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 they 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.

How Company Performance Is Judged

  • Board members and shareholders/investors have set five performance objectives for the company:

    • Grow earnings per share at least 7% annually through Year 15 and at least 5% annually thereafter.
    • Maintain a return on equity investment (ROE) of 15% or more annually.
    • Maintain a B+ or higher credit rating.
    • Achieve stock price gains averaging about 7% annually through Year 15 and about 5% annually thereafter.
    • Achieve an “image rating” of 70 or higher (the image rating is tied to the styling/quality of a company’s branded footwear and to its market share penetration).

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 25%
    • ROE 20%
    • Credit Rating 20%
    • Stock Price 20%
    • Image Rating 15%

The Two Scoring Standards

  • 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 pages 1, 2, and 3 of the Footwear Industry Report.

The Two Quizzes

  • There are 2 “open book” 20 multiple-choice question quizzes built into the exercise. The quizzes are taken online and scored immediately upon completion:

    • Quiz 1: Covers the Player’s Guide—its purpose is to spur you to read and absorb how things work in preparation for managing your company. Time Limit = 45 minutes.
    • Quiz 2: Covers the Company Reports and certain information in the Footwear Industry Report—this quiz serves as a check to see if you understand the numbers and how they are calculated. Time Limit = 75 minutes.
    • Click on the links for the quizzes on your “Corporate Lobby” web page for more information—the three sample questions for each quiz give you an idea of what to expect.

The Peer Evaluations

  • At the end of the exercise, you will be asked to complete a 12-question evaluation of each of your co-managers and a self evaluation of your own performance.

  • These are completed online and can be reviewed by clicking on the Peer Evaluation Link on your Corporate Lobby web page.

  • The peer evaluations are for your instructor only and are completely confidential.

How Do You Register?

  • The registration process consists of five steps:

  • Step 1: Have your assigned company registration code handy (this code is used to put you into the database for this specific course and to certify you as a co-manager of your assigned industry and company).

  • Step 2: Go to

  • Step 3: Click on the “Student Registration” button and enter your company registration code in the box.

  • Step 4: Click that you are registering with a credit card.

How Do You Register?

  • Step 5: Complete the personal registration information (user name, password, and so on) and the credit card payment process (if not using a prepaid access code that came with your textbook). Rest assured that the Web site for credit card payment is fully secured; you will receive a receipt via e-mail and/or regular mail indicating payment has been made. If you have no credit card, the easiest way to complete this step is to arrange to use a friend’s or co-manager’s credit card and reimburse them directly with cash or a check. Once you are registered, you have full use of the student portion of the BSG Online Web site.

The Corporate Lobby Page

  • Each time you log-on to, you are automatically routed to your company’s “Corporate Lobby” web page.

  • The Corporate Lobby page is your gateway to all BSG-Online activities. It has links to

    • The Main Menu for making decisions and viewing/printing the results
    • The Player’s Guide
    • The decision schedule
    • The two quizzes that are taken online
    • The peer evaluations that are completed online
    • The recommended decision procedures
  • Plus it shows the latest exchange rate adjustments, current interest rates, the availability of used plant capacity that can be purchased for immediate use, upcoming deadlines, messages, and log-on activities of co-managers.

  • You have anywhere, anytime access to your Corporate Lobby page from any PC that is connected to the Internet, so long as the PC is equipped with Internet Explorer and Microsoft Excel.

Creating a Name for Your Company

  • Shortly after registering, you and your co-managers should decide on a name for your athletic footwear company.

  • Your company’s name must begin with the letter of the alphabet that you have been assigned. Names can be up to 20 characters. To name the company, click on the link at the top of the Corporate Lobby, and enter your company’s full name in the space provided.

  • All company names are “public” and appear in the Footwear Industry Report; thus you should select a name that you are proud of and that reflects the image you want to project to your customers, shareholders, and other company stakeholders.

Some Procedures

  • See the Decision Schedule link on your Corporate Lobby Web page for the dates and deadlines for the decisions. The decision deadlines are strictly enforced, since the results are processed automatically on the BSG-Online servers immediately following the deadline.

  • The results of each decision will be available online in less than 1-hour following 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.

An Important Capability

  • All company co-managers can access the latest decisions and results from any PC connected to the Internet—there’s no need to e-mail decisions back-and-forth to get things coordinated.

  • Info on your Corporate Lobby screen indicates the last date at which a co-manager saved decisions to the server and whether other co-managers are currently logged on.

  • All company co-managers can be logged on simultaneously on PCs at different locations (or side-by-side in a lab). Instant messaging can be used to communicate back-and-forth.

  • If another logged-on co-manager clicks on the Save icon and uploads new decisions to the server, you will be notified the next time you press the Save icon—you then have the choice of (1) overriding the co-manager’s saved decision entries by saving your decisions to the server or (2) importing the co-manager’s decisions onto your decision screens and overriding your own entries.

  • Remember: the last set of decisions saved to the server are

  • used to process the results.

Tips for Success

  • Follow the Suggested Decision Procedures (see the link on your Corporate Lobby web page)

  • Use the practice decision(s) to become fully acquainted with all the menus and the functionality that has been built into the screens

  • Make full use of all the “?/Help” sections for each decision screen—these provide full explanations of the factors surrounding each and every decision entry and provide all kinds of tips and suggestions to guide your thinking.

  • Make full use of the “?/Help” sections for the Company Reports, the Footwear Industry Report, and the Competitive Intelligence Reports—these screens provide essential details of what the numbers mean, how they are calculated, and how to use the information to good advantage.

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