Human and Agent Playing the “Beer Game”


  • Manabu Ichikawa
  • Yuhsuke Koyama
  • Hiroshi Deguchi


The supply chain, impacted by production strategies and stock-up or addendum policies, often causes information confusion and forms the bullwhip effect. Instructors were often only able to talk about the various types of strategies and influences imposed by various business performance indexes when lecturing on the supply chain management courses. Although, by developing a ‘beer game’ information system (MIT Forum has its Web-based version), the Northwestern University in U.S. has addressed that the problems of supply chain are solved and whoever interested in supply chain can participate in the beer game and learn about the supply chain through playing. However, the fixed and un-modifiable imitative setup and system parameters that could not be flexibly adjusted by the instructors were indeed the biggest weakness of the game. As the result, this paper has proposed an agent based beer game which enables not only for instructors to set supply chain scale freely or imitate various setups, but also for one to learn much about the supply chain through designing various types of strategies. Besides, by using computer based beer game, it becomes easy to preserve and analyze results and also expected to be shortened the time of learning and playing is greatly shortened.