The Juice Supply Game: An Excel Based Simulation


  • Christopher M. Scherpereel


Computer simulation exercises have long been used in business education to immerse learners into a replicated real-world learning environment. These exercises allow for direct hands-on interactions with decision situations in which the learner has little experience and context familiarity. In the field of operations management, computer simulations have been developed to expose participants to a variety of difficult decisions in inventory management, statistical process control, forecasting, capacity planning, and supply chain management. These exercises include variations on the Forester’s beer game simulation (focused on supply chain communication), the Deming’s bead activity (focused on quality control), and the Goldratt’s matchstick experiment (focused on system variability and bottlenecks). One area of operations management has received less attention, inventory management. Inventory management presents a classic stock-flow system. Research has shown that stock-flow accumulation problems are counter-intuitive and difficult, even for highly educated individuals. Using Excel visual basic as the development platform, I created the Juice Supply Game to help students better understand inventory accumulation concepts and demonstrate the effect of variability on order quantities.