Case Study: Merkis Short Cases


Merkis Short Cases

How KBR East, Heidelberg Cement, Stockholm School of Economics, Sberbank, Eurochem, Evraz and others use Merkis Business Simulation.

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KBR East Uses Merkis Business Simulation for Talent Pool Assesment and Development

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, KBR is one of the world’s premiere engineering, procurement, construction and services companies, employing approximately 27,000 people in more than 70 countries on six continents and working in the energy, hydrocarbons, power, industrial, civil infrastructure, minerals, government services and commercial sectors.

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.

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Eurochem Uses Merkis Business Simulation for Young Professional Retreats and Executive Development

EuroChem is Russia’s largest mineral fertilizers producer and aiming to be a top five global player. EuroChem is a vertically integrated company with natural gas, mining, fertilizer production, logistics, and distribution facilities and infrastructure in Russia and the CIS, Europe, the USA, Mexico and South East Asia.

Each year EuroChem conducts its young professionals convention. Young professionals are university graduates in their first 3 years of employment. Convention usually starts with scientific and technical conference followed by a 2 day business simulation. For the last 4 years EuroChem has chosen Merkis Strategy and other NTI’s simulations. They like Merkis because it gives young professionals a helicopter view on business they work in, they see importance of their own position in context of the big picture as well importance of other functions and they start to understand business finance – all skills and motivation necessary for their future carrier growth. Merkis is also so flexible that it allows showing the current business challenges, like corporate restructuring, importance of health and safety regulations and KPIs at each workplace.

Inspired by the youth EuroChem senior managers also went through Merkis experience. For them it was Merkis Leadership Development – still strategic simulation though focusing on feedback about manager’s key competencies and leadership styles.

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Stockholm School of Economics Uses Merkis Business Simulation for their Executive MBA Programs

The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) is one of leading European business schools. SSE offers bachelors, masters and MBA programs, along with highly regarded PhD programs and extensive Executive Education (customized and open programs). SSE is accredited by EQUIS certifying that all of its main activities, teaching as well as research, are of the highest international standards. SSE has founded sister organizations: SSE Riga in Riga, Latvia, and SSE Russia in St Petersburg, Russia.

SSE Russia runs 12-18 month corporate executive MBA programs. These programs consist of intensive 2-3 day training modules devoted to different MBA topics. The last module is devoted to strategic planning, revision and summing up of all previous ones. For many clients SSE now has replaced the last module with business simulation game Merkis Strategy. Participants immerse in business and can use in practice all skills and theoretical material they have learned in the previous months. Also being a high intensity dynamic and emotional event Merkis is a perfect closing for 18 month long journey of learning.

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Sberbank Uses Merkis Business Simulation for Senior Level Talent Pool Selection

Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia and Eastern Europe, the third largest in Europe 34th in the world. Headquartered in Moscow Sberbank employs more than 200.000 employees and also has operations in CIS countries (Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus), Central and Eastern Europe (Sberbank Europe AG, former VBI) and in Turkey (DenizBank).

Sberbank uses Merkis simulation game as an assessment tool to finalize their talent pool selections. We do a roadshow of many Merkis games across the country where regional banks senior vice presidents can assess their potential talent pool members in a completely non-banking environment – manufacturing enterprise simulation. Potential talent pool members are already selected, interviewed and assessed by Sberbank’s assessment department. This is the final selection where responsible vice presidents can take an unbiased look at their talents. What is interesting here the assessors are not passive observers – they actively participate in the simulation playing roles of customer, bank, equipment vendors and IRS thus really seeing their people in action and from inside. And on top of that – even when used as assessment tool Merkis is still a valuable learning experience for all involved, that is especially important for those employees who are not making it into the talent pool.

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Heidelberg Cement Uses Merkis Business Simulation for Talent Pool Development

Heidelberg Cement is the global market leader in aggregates and a prominent player in the fields of cement, concrete and other downstream activities, making it one of the world’s largest manufacturers of building materials. The company employs some 52,600 people at 2,500 locations in more than 40 countries.

Heidelberg Cement uses Merkis simulation game for their talent pool development. For them Merkis Change Management is a change management tool that both teaches how to cope with change initiated from outside and how to be a leader bringing change to your organization or department. Heidelberg Cement also uses Merkis as a simulation to teach conflict resolution skills and immediately apply them in practice.

Inspired by positive talent pool experience Heidelberg Cement HR managers team decided to go through Merkis experience themselves. Initially intended as a teambuilding event Merkis also turned out to be a deep learning about key success factors in business, HR’s role there and what is the real meaning behind the words “HR Business Partner”.

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International Brewery Uses Merkis Business Simulation to Resolve Top-Managers Conflicts

Leading international brewery came to us to resolve conflicts in their country level top management team. A former CFO was recently promoted to CEO position but not accepted in her new leadership role by colleagues what resulted in conflicts and low performance of the executive team.

We played Merkis Communication for 3 days. After 1,5 days of gameplay participants usually change their roles and teams. Since we had done some previous coaching to the new CEO, we administered the change so, that she played Presidents role in a team with her key subordinates who were not accepting her as a leader in real life. Our coaching helped her perform really well, she managed to be a great leader and resolve conflicts in the game and her colleagues accepted her leadership. This experience later on made its transfer to real life – she carried on her leadership model the same way it was successful in the game and colleagues gradually accepted that in life as well.

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International Brewery Uses Merkis Business Simulation for Strategy Modeling

We were playing Merkis Strategy with another international brewery’s top managers. When asked about strategy level threats to the company two main were named – entrance of another world level key player into the market as well as potential global level merger with another key player in the market.

The team went off for their Merkis experience. For the first 2 days two teams of 7 participants played the game as usual. On the third there was a surprise – third enterprise had entered the market! 7 more people were sitting at their tables and happily taking away their market share. So – what do you do? Deal with it! We had prepared this together with HRs who secretly invited a group of next level managers who were eager to play. For the final gameyear we played merger and acquisition. Shareholders of one enterprise had bought another. Now there were 14 people, two production floors (one too many), doubled positions (f.i. two Chiefs of Marketing etc.) and other mess. What do you do? Deal with it!

As a result participants experienced these strategic threats, understood, what implications each of them had and developed reasonable action models how to cope with them. And if in real life any of them came true they already had experience on how successfully they have dealt with it – the best possible preparation ever!

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Retail Apparel Chain Uses Merkis Business Simulation to Raise Store Manager Financial Literacy

Leading retail apparel chain used Merkis Finance to raise financial literacy of their store managers. Their store managers usually have been best sales assistants promoted within the company and having little business or finance education. We played Merkis for 3 days and focused on finance – everybody in teams were doing P&L statements and other reports as well as analyzing and discussing them. Game focus was on EBIDTA (earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes &amortization).

On the end of second game day the company CEO arrived and announced a fundamental change in store operations – as from now store managers had to be focusing on EBIDTA as their KPI instead of just sales volumes, their bonus system was also to be changed accordingly. When planning the simulation we have agreed about this announcement before though company management have feared making this change and were expecting strong resistance form their store managers. Surprise – it went very smoothly. Since 2 days were already spend on finance store managers understood exactly what EBIDTA meant, already had experience (game based) on how to influence it and could see positive sides of the change as well.

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Leading Retail Chain Food Uses Merkis Business Simulation to Change Store Manager Attitudes towards their Personnel

Leading national food hypermarket and supermarket chain approached us to facilitate their hypermarket store manager convention. Store manager of a hypermarket manages about 500 people. Our Client wanted to use Merkis to change store managers attitudes towards personnel; their management style was not at all people oriented and layoffs were their first thought choice in case of any people problem.

On the first day of Merkis gameplay the problem showed itself. When usually we seat all the team members together this time we placed Workers apart from their management team – at the factory floor. Surprise: out of 7 teams of 6 only one person went to say hi to his workers, the rest of them just ignored them and came with demands of better work. When trainers pointed to this at the feedback session there was complete silence in the room – participants got the message and acknowledged that it was really about them – an effect that is almost impossible to achieve with senior managers in a standard training setting. We also customized the game creating labor deficit and allowing workers to leave their teams (for another) in case if managed badly, and, unfortunately, this happened quite often. On top of that we made turnover costs visible – teams had to bear large relocation and training costs of new workers if the old ones had left. Result? Well, store managers really saw that overall turnover costs are BIG, got feedback about their unconscious strategies and as Client told us later really changed their attitude towards personnel.

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Evraz Uses Merkis Business Simulation for Talent Pool Assessment and Selection

EVRAZ is a vertically integrated steel, mining and vanadium business with operations in Russia, Ukraine, US, Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan and South Africa. EVRAZ is among the top 20 steel producers in the world and employs approximately 100 000 people.

Evraz used Merkis Assessment for their talent pool selections. More than 600 possible talent pool candidates have been playing Merkis in groups of 50. Evraz’s team of assessors were observing, evaluating Evraz’s competencies and making their talent pool selections while all participants were having a remarkable learning experience.

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Merkis Simulation

Strategic Manufacturing Business Management Training Simulation

MERKIS is an effective communication, business-process-management and decision-making simulation game that is employed to teach Teamwork, Communication, Strategy, Business Acumen or Change Management Skills, and to give participants a Helicopter View on how the company functions. Participants in competing teams manage simulated companies with physical tangible production factories, decisions not only need to be taken but also implemented in real time and with real people.



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