The Juice SPC Game: An Excel Based Simulation Exercise


  • Christopher Scherpereel


The operations management discipline has been incorporating experiential exercises into their pedagogy for decades. From the beginning, these exercises used direct hands-on interactions during face-to-face instruction to facilitate learning, but changes in delivery (remote, blended) and technology (computer) have offered new opportunities. One of the most popular of these early experiential exercises used in operations management was developed by William Edwards Deming, called the red bead experiment, which facilitated student understanding of several quality control concepts. Some attempts have been made to create computer simulations to replicate the red beads experiment, but until the creation of the Juice SPC Game, none took advantage of the technology to provide a contextual experience in a computer based simulation. Motivated by COVID restrictions and a rapid movement to more remote learning modalities, I developed the Juice SPC game. Using Excel VBA as the development platform, I created the game to help students better understand how to create, monitor, and interpret control charts in the context of a juice bottler. Initial introduction of the simulation, during the fall 2021, showed student SPC learning gains in subject matter attitude, skills, understanding, and integration.