Strategic Manufacturing Business Management Training Simulation
MERKIS is an effective communication, business-process-management and decision-making game that is employed to teach Teamwork, Communication, Strategy or Change Management Skills, and to give participants an Enterprise-Wide View on how the company functions. MERKIS is a real time business simulation, during which the participants, divided into several teams, manage the simulated companies in the business environment, while competing with each other.
The MERKIS game takes place in the training room, where the participants manage the simulated company through the total process of sales, development, production and quality enhancement. The company owns a production plant, that is physically modeled in the training room – with little production machines, physical technology upgrade options, toy railroad etc.
Teams, roles and players
MERKIS is played in teams of 5-8 people. Each team runs its own company and competes with others. Each training participant plays his unique role in the company (general manager, director of finance, director of sales and marketing, chief of engineering, production manager, production workers and etc.). During the game play roles change and each participant can play 2 or even 3 different roles. In each role player both creates strategy for his function and implements it.
In addition several participants play the outside world – raw material and technology brokers, customers and bank. These roles also have their strategic goals to reach – they compete with team-run companies for profit and are ideal for developing or testing player’s entrepreneurial potential.
Real time action
The simulated company is being managed during several years, thus providing the participants with the possibility of seeing the results and consequences of their decisions, as well as their impact on the simulated company’s future activities. During one game participants experience 6-7 years of a company’s lifetime.
After discussing strategy teams have to physically implement the decisions taken. That means that during 1 hour game play (equals one year) the team has to purchase raw materials, deliver with their little train these materials onsite, physically produce their products – run raw materials (ball bearings) through all production machines by tweezers, deliver the ready made products to their customer ad get paid, as well as produce their profit and loss statement.
Scenarios are specifically designed to improve teamwork and internal processes and procedures as well as provide a need for change management skills. In the teaching part of the seminar the trainer covers change management skills, attitudes and principles that participants are asked to use in their “job” of running a MERKIS company. Feedback from trainers, peers and third-parties also fosters teamwork development during the simulation, so that participants can improve their team’s performance on a year-to-year basis.
The participants work out and introduce the following elements of the company’s strategy:
- Company values, mission statement and corporate vision.
- Long-term objectives of the company and plans for achieving those objectives.
- Sales and product strategies.
- Production strategy, new technology introduction strategy and strategy for optimizing logistics.
- Human resource management strategy.
- Long-term budget and investment planning.
- Increase production speed…. or improve the production quality.
- Take a loan…. or rely on reinvested earnings.
- Challenge competitors…. or try to cooperate.
- Centralization of responsibility…. or distribution of it.
- Purchase raw materials…. or invest in new technologies.
- Be a leader…. or be a team member.
- Focus on near-term profit…. or longer-term profit.
- Pay more attention to strategy….or tactics.
- Executive teams
- Management teams
- Inter-departmental teams
- Participants of leadership development and/or succession planning programs
For each MERKIS seminar, the trainer, in co-operation with the management of a company, sets specific objectives in terms of knowledge, processes and teamwork. These objectives are the primary ones to be achieved during the seminar. In addition the following objectives can be achieved:
- Advanced team building:
- Common intellectual difficulties, which are dealt with, season the group of people and make it a team. An understanding of business processes and common terminology are created within the team.
- Improved internal communication:
- Internal communication problems are resolved during the course. Team members gain an understanding of the specifics and importance of the work done by other employees of the company (especially of those with who they are in conflict). MERKIS promotes better decision making by helping individuals see how their decisions can affect the performance of others and the organization as a whole. MERKIS excites the competitive spirit and the drive to excel in the market.
- Company culture change.
- Understanding finance:
- People crystallize the financial implications of business decisions by linking them to cash flow and bottom line performance. MERKIS instills financial accountability, and, simultaneously, the will to deliver the best quality to the customers.
- Testing business strategies and scenarios:
- It is possible to adjust the setup and scenario of MERKIS in order to reflect the real challenges that the company is facing in real life. This enables the company to test strategies and play out possible life scenarios in the seminar, thus making mistakes in the game and avoiding them in real life.
- Change management skills training.
- Creativity and problem solving skills training.
- Leadership skills training.
- Value to the chief executive:
- MERKIS gives the opportunity to test employees in different situations and to see their true nature. (When playing MERKIS, it is impossible to hide anything – people show who they really are).
General Participant Benefits
Understanding about the functioning of a company as a whole, their role in it, and the importance of work done by their colleagues.
- Setting business goals and achieving them.
- Tactical planning and management.
- Company’s finance and management accounting.
- Managing changes.
- Introduction to internal procedures at a company.
- Inter-departmental communication.
- Effective co-operation within a team.
- Problem-solving in production, planning, and communication spheres.
- “Thinking out of the box.”
- Benefit from 6-8 years of experience of managing of a company in just a short time.
- Receive objective feedback from colleagues on one’s own behavior, with the opportunity to analyze it and introduce changes if necessary.
- Test risky strategies during the game to determine whether or not to apply them in real life.
- Learn from one’s own mistakes and achievements, as well as from the strategies of other team members.
- To transform from simply a group of people playing MERKIS into a team.
Merkis can be used as an Assessment tool that allows professional assessors to observe and evaluate any working competencies.
Merkis can be used as an organizational development tool that allows professional coaches to observe players and provide valuable in-time skill building coaching to players.
- Duration: 3-2 days (30-20 hours)
- Number of participants: 14-500
Our Clients Say
The operativeness of work and broad professional knowledge, enabling it to develop and implement a “MERKIS” project within a short period of time, the selected format of work and friendly atmosphere create a pleasant impression both on some individual stages of work and the whole training in its entirety. During the short period of cooperation we managed not only to get accustomed to the work of the new business, but also cover several cycles of years, make ourselves familiar with the principles of interaction of the main business departments, and also launch the process of internal self-analysis among the participants of the game.
The work was conducted on high emotional and informative level, in interesting and creative environment. A special thanks to our coach Ugis Strauss for maximum interest in successful outcome of the collaborative work.
CASE STUDY I
How KBR East, Heidelberg Cement, Stockholm School of Economics, Sberbank, Eurochem, Evraz and others use Merkis Business Simulation.
KBR East, located in Svetogorsk, Russia, for more than 3 years uses business simulation Merkis for their talent pool assessment and development. Each year about 50 KBR’s engineers, members of their talent pool play Merkis Strategy Simulation. They run their game companies for 6 game years with emphasis on acquiring business acumen, learning business strategy and strategic thinking as well as training decision making and financial skills. On top of that KBR uses Merkis as an assessment tool – trained KBR assessors observe each team’s gameplay and assesses every player against key KBR’s competencies. Full case READ HERE.
CASE STUDY II
Coca Cola Uses Merkis for their Management Succession Program and COBRA Performance Management Relaunch
The Moscow operation approached us with a request to structure and conduct management succession program. They had had chosen their talent pool and wanted to prepare its participants for a smooth transition from “manage people” to “manage managers”. We went for almost a year long management succession program based on our simulations. We kicked off with 3 day business simulation Merkis Development. In addition to the Merkis game itself we used 3 coaches who worked full time observing and coaching 7 participants each. Full case READ HERE.
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