Customer Purchase Process
General Advice at the Beginning of LINKS
Help With a LINKS Question
How Much Research Should We Order?
Most Important Part of the Participant's Manual
Profitability of Demand Drivers
Rationale For Using Simulations
Source and Quality of Initial Decisions
“How do customers in LINKS make purchase decisions?”
You should assume that the LINKS markets function like real markets. Customers take into account absolute and relative competitive standing on product quality, service quality, availability, and price in their purchase decisions.
“Do you have any hints or tips to improve our sales forecasting?”
Create a spreadsheet that tracks historical sales for each product, channel, and region. Graph the sales history for each product, channel, and region, paying special attention to the most recent couple of rounds of data. This provides a baseline forecasting capability (a simple extrapolation of past sales), assuming no changes in the market (e.g., no reconfigurations, no pricing changes, and no marketing spending changes). Then, modify your forecasts in light of your forecasts of potential changes in customer-facing initiatives for both you and for your competitors. Use the "Judgmental Sales Forecasting Worksheet" in the LINKS participant's manual to systematically organize your forecasting process.
“We're having trouble deciding on which research studies to order and how much to spend on research studies. Can you provide us with some guidelines about how much we should spend on research studies?”
Order as much research as you can use efficiently and effectively, and no more. Remember, too, that you've probably never seen a headline in The Wall Street Journal (or other major business publication) of the sort "Company Goes Bankrupt For Spending Too Much on Research."
“What's the most important part of the whole LINKS participant's manual?”
The whole thing!
“What's the rationale for using simulations in management education?”
The classic reasons for using a management simulation game include the following:
“How were the original decisions in LINKS determined? What weight should we give to them?”
All initial LINKS decisions are what they are. There is no implied "grand" strategy or design in these decisions. (And, you know that all firms have the same decisions in place as your assume managerial control of your LINKS firm.) It is not necessarily clear that any particular decision is "wise." Overall, the initial set of decisions did lead to positive profitability, but you are now in control of your firm. Make changes if you think they are appropriate.
“The LINKS markets seem a lot more volatile than I’m used to in my own business experience. Is there something peculiar about the way LINKS behaves?”
The LINKS markets are what they are. Surely, the ultimate business principle is “listen to your customers” (markets). So, please do “listen” carefully to the various LINKS markets. You need to build your business practices around your markets, which may be different than markets in which you have personal business experience. And please: