LINKS Simulation Database FAQs

Click on a link below to access that FAQ (frequently-asked question) topic.


About "Save Input Changes"
Changing Your E-Mail Address
Confirmation of Inputs
Decision History
Decision Input Checks and Messages
E-Mail From LINKS
E-Mail Missing
Excel Spreadsheet Results File
Historical Benchmarks
Historical Benchmarking Results Not Accessible
Input Finality
Inputs Not Being Saved
Passcode Changes
Passcode Error
Passcode Format
Passcode Retrieval
Scheduled Game Runs
Word Formatting of LINKS Results File




About "Save Input Changes"

"It's my first time submitting data to LINKS and working with the LINKS Simulation Database. Can you please let me know if I have to click on the Save Input Changes icon on every web screen or just once when I've finished making all of my decision input changes?"

It's recommended that you click on the "Save Input Changes" icon after making input changes on any LINKS Simulation Database input web screen. Make all of your changes on an input web screen and click on the “Save Input Changes” icon to save the changes to the LINKS web server. By clicking on the "Save Input Changes" icon, you'll be returned to the same input web screen with any warnings/errors noted below the input boxes. You can then use the various transfer buttons to switch to other LINKS input web screens.

You can also use any of the LINKS "transfer" buttons to save these input changes and to move to another LINKS Simulation Database input web screen.

If you use a browser button (like "Back"), the changes won't be saved to the LINKS web server.

The current status of your decision inputs is always shown on each web screen in the LINKS Simulation Database. Thus, you can move around the input web screens as you wish and you'll always see the current status of your firm's inputs.

revised 05/27/2013
[000234.html]





Changing Your E-Mail Address

“How can I change my LINKS e-mail address?”

You can change your own LINKS e-mail address. Access the LINKS Simulation Database with your firm-specific passcode. Then, access the "E-Mail Address Management" button and change your LINKS e-mail address.

revised 02/06/2007
[000102.html]





Confirmation of Inputs

“How/when do we receive confirmation of our inputs to the LINKS Simulation Database?”

Confirmation of inputs to the LINKS Simulation Database isn't provided. You can always access the LINKS Simulation Database to verify the current status of your inputs at any time prior to the scheduled input submission deadline. The inputs present in the LINKS Simulation Database at the scheduled input submission deadline are the ones used in the game run.

Within the LINKS Simulation Database, you also have access to a "Display Current Decision Inputs" button (on the initial webscreen after inputting your passcode and on the Exit webscreen). This provides a lengthy single-webscreen display of all of your current inputs. This webscreen is time-stamped in the upper left corner. If you wish, you can print this webscreen to have a printed time-stamped record of the complete status of your inputs at this moment in time.

revised 05/31/2006
[000227.html]





Decision History

“Where can I find our past decision inputs? It’s inconvenient to look back through our printouts to find the status of our decisions in the past.”

An Excel spreadsheet results file for each LINKS firm supplements the standard LINKS Word doc results file. After each LINKS round, you'll routinely access a printed copy of your firm's Word doc results file for review and analysis. The Excel spreadsheet results file doesn't replace the Word doc results file. Rather, the Excel spreadsheet results file is a supplementary reporting mechanism for your firm's financial and operating results.

The Excel supplementary results spreadsheet consists of five worksheets with supplementary data beyond that provided in each round's Word doc results file.

  • The Results worksheet includes most of the data reported in the Word doc results file, so you don’t have to manually re-input data from the Word doc results file into an Excel spreadsheet. This supplemental Excel spreadsheet isn’t designed to be particularly “pretty” … it’s strictly designed with functional considerations in mind. You’ll need to reformat this Excel spreadsheet as you see fit by, for example, cutting-and-pasting rows and columns of data into an Excel spreadsheet of your own design.
  • The Dashboard worksheet contains a single-screen top-line summary of your firm’s key results for the most-recent LINKS round.
  • The Decision History worksheet documents the last six rounds of inputs for each LINKS decision variable for your firm. This worksheet provides a convenient archival resource to access past LINKS decision inputs.
  • The Forecasts worksheet contains two extrapolative|quantitative forecasts of the next round’s sales volume. Be sure to review the details and background assumptions of these forecasts, as reported in this worksheet.
  • The KPIcharts worksheet contains charts of each LINKS KPI vs. the corresponding industry KPI best, industry KPI average, and industry KPI worst for each of the last six LINKS rounds. These KPI charts provide an appealing graphic rendition of the LINKS performance evaluation dimensions displayed in tabular form on the first page of each firm’s Word doc financial and operating reports results file.

    To access your firm’s Excel spreadsheet, click on the appropriate link on your firm’s webpage on the LINKS Simulation Database.
  • You’ll presumably wish to save this Excel spreadsheet with a suitable name on your PC. Note that each round’s Excel spreadsheet for your firm will have to same name, so you’ll need to rename successive rounds’ spreadsheets appropriately on your PC to distinguish the spreadsheets for various LINKS rounds.
  • You may wish to change the font used throughout the Excel spreadsheet to either “8514oem” (if available) or “Courier New”, 10-point size in both cases, to permit more convenient on-screen viewing.
  • You’ll need to widen the column widths to conveniently view all of the spreadsheet values and the row and column labels/titles.

    revised 05/23/2009
    [000189.html]
    listed under "Financial and Operating Reports"
    listed under "LINKS Simulations Database"
    listed under "Website"





    Decision Input Checks and Messages

    “What error checking and informative messages are built into the LINKS Simulation Database?”

    Many decision input checks are built into the LINKS Simulation Database web-server software. Individual decision inputs have extensive checking to ensure input integrity. This includes upper and lower bounds on permissible numeric entries. Invalid entries result in an error message reporting valid minimums and maximums. In addition, there are many informative messages routinely reported at the bottom of each web screen. Remember to execute the Submit button after making any changes on a LINKS web screen. Then, review any new reminder, warning, and error messages reported at the bottom of the regenerated web screen after the inputs are processed by the LINKS web-server.

    You can access the LINKS demos and play around with data inputs to checkout the input checking and reminder/warning/error message capabilities included within the LINKS Simulation Database.

    revised 01/09/2007
    [000198.html]





    E-Mail From LINKS

    “I don't seem to be receiving e-mail messages from LINKS, like my teammates. What's going on?”

    LINKS uses e-mail to communicate with all participants throughout LINKS events. Your LINKS instructor provides us with all participants’ e-mail addresses, grouped into LINKS teams, before your LINKS event begins.

    Please ensure that your preferred e-mail software is configured to receive e-mail messages from these e-mail addresses:

    LINKS@ChapmanRG.com
    ChapmanRG@ChapmanRG.com
    LINKS@LINKS-simulations.com
    LINKS@LINKS-simulations.info
    Billing@LINKS-simulations.com
    Chapman@LINKS-simulations.com
    More generally, please ensure that your e-mail software is configured to receive e-mail from e-mail addresses from domains ending with @ChapmanRG.com, @LINKS-simulations.com, and @LINKS-simulations.info.

    You may need to consult your personal information technology guru to ensure that your e-mail software is configured appropriately to receive e-mail from the various LINKS-related e-mail addresses and sources.

    If these e-mail addresses and domains are inadvertently “black-listed” or labeled as “spam” within your e-mail management system, you won’t receive the regular LINKS e-mailings throughout your LINKS event.

  • You’ll receive e-mail messages from LINKS at the time your LINKS industry is initialized and made public to the participants. This initial e-mailing includes firm-specific LINKS passcodes to access the LINKS Simulation Database.
  • In addition, you’ll receive an e-mail reminder each morning when there’s a game run scheduled for later that day.
  • A few other “reminder” e-mail messages will be sent to you during your LINKS event.
    If you don’t receive these e-mail messages, then either your e-mail address is incorrect within the LINKS Simulation Database (contact your instructor to change your e-mail address) or your e-mail management system is “blocking” receipt of LINKS e-mail messages (you’re responsible for your own e-mail management system’s performance and behavior).

    revised 05/29/2013
    [000152.html]





    E-Mail Missing

    “I'm not receiving LINKS e-mail notifications about the availability of new results after game runs. Why is that?”

    Student e-mail addresses in the LINKS Simulation Database are provided, in the first instance, by the LINKS instructor. If you know your LINKS passcode, access the LINKS Simulation Database and review the e-mail addresses reported for your firm when you click on the "E-Mail Addresses and Payments" button. You can change your LINKS e-mail address in the LINKS Simulation Database by clicking on the "E-Mail Address Management" button. If you don't know your LINKS passcode, then you will need to ask your LINKS instructor to verify your e-mail address in the LINKS Simulation Database.

    E-mail software must be configured to accept/receive e-mailings from the ChapmanRG.com domain (e.g., from LINKS@ChapmanRG.com). You may need to verify that the ChapmanRG.com domain isn't "black-listed" in some way by your e-mail provider as being a spammer.

    revised 01/27/2007
    [000069.html]





    Excel Spreadsheet Results File

    “Where can I find our past decision inputs? It’s inconvenient to look back through our printouts to find the status of our decisions in the past.”

    An Excel spreadsheet results file for each LINKS firm supplements the standard LINKS Word doc results file. After each LINKS round, you'll routinely access a printed copy of your firm's Word doc results file for review and analysis. The Excel spreadsheet results file doesn't replace the Word doc results file. Rather, the Excel spreadsheet results file is a supplementary reporting mechanism for your firm's financial and operating results.

    The Excel supplementary results spreadsheet consists of five worksheets with supplementary data beyond that provided in each round's Word doc results file.

  • The Results worksheet includes most of the data reported in the Word doc results file, so you don’t have to manually re-input data from the Word doc results file into an Excel spreadsheet. This supplemental Excel spreadsheet isn’t designed to be particularly “pretty” … it’s strictly designed with functional considerations in mind. You’ll need to reformat this Excel spreadsheet as you see fit by, for example, cutting-and-pasting rows and columns of data into an Excel spreadsheet of your own design.
  • The Dashboard worksheet contains a single-screen top-line summary of your firm’s key results for the most-recent LINKS round.
  • The Decision History worksheet documents the last six rounds of inputs for each LINKS decision variable for your firm. This worksheet provides a convenient archival resource to access past LINKS decision inputs.
  • The Forecasts worksheet contains two extrapolative|quantitative forecasts of the next round’s sales volume. Be sure to review the details and background assumptions of these forecasts, as reported in this worksheet.
  • The KPIcharts worksheet contains charts of each LINKS KPI vs. the corresponding industry KPI best, industry KPI average, and industry KPI worst for each of the last six LINKS rounds. These KPI charts provide an appealing graphic rendition of the LINKS performance evaluation dimensions displayed in tabular form on the first page of each firm’s Word doc financial and operating reports results file.

    To access your firm’s Excel spreadsheet, click on the appropriate link on your firm’s webpage on the LINKS Simulation Database.
  • You’ll presumably wish to save this Excel spreadsheet with a suitable name on your PC. Note that each round’s Excel spreadsheet for your firm will have to same name, so you’ll need to rename successive rounds’ spreadsheets appropriately on your PC to distinguish the spreadsheets for various LINKS rounds.
  • You may wish to change the font used throughout the Excel spreadsheet to either “8514oem” (if available) or “Courier New”, 10-point size in both cases, to permit more convenient on-screen viewing.
  • You’ll need to widen the column widths to conveniently view all of the spreadsheet values and the row and column labels/titles.

    revised 05/23/2009
    [000187.html]
    listed under "Financial and Operating Reports"
    listed under "LINKS Simulations Database"
    listed under "Website"





    Historical Benchmarks

    “What are the Historical Benchmarks?”

    How high is “up”? In LINKS, the answer is partly provided by the within-industry benchmarks reported on the first page of each firm’s financial reports. These within-industry benchmarks provide a firm’s current-industry performance “ups” (current-industry minimums, averages, and maximums) on Key Performance Indicators such as Net Income To Revenue % and Forecasting Accuracy %.

    However, the larger question remains: what’s possible? … what’s the upper limit of performance? The LINKS Historical Benchmarks provide the answer to this broader question.

    LINKS Historical Benchmarks are based on the history of all firms since February 1, 2012 for a particular LINKS Simulations variant.

    These Historical Benchmarks provide a meaningful cross-industry performance reference for any firm at any point in time in a LINKS event. For example, a firm in a LINKS Supply Chain Management Simulation industry in Month #6 may compare its performance to all past firms in Month #6 of LINKS Supply Chain Management Simulation industries via the Historical Benchmarks.

    Note: The Global Top-10 Rankings also provide benchmarks, but the comparison in the Global Top-10 Rankings is to all other firms in all LINKS Simulations variants with a scheduled game run in that calendar week. And, of course, those other firms are using any LINKS Simulations variant (not necessarily your LINKS Simulations variant) and are at various stages in their LINKS events.

    revised 06/14/2013
    [000254.html]
    listed under "Financial and Operating Reports"
    listed under "LINKS Simulation Database"
    listed under "Performance Evaluation"





    Historical Benchmarking Results Not Accessible

    “I am having problems finding the link for Historical Benchmarking. Where is the link?”

    Historical Benchmarking results are available when enough historical data for a LINKS Simulations variant are available for meaningful comparisons. Sufficient historical data for your particular round-count for your LINKS Simulations variant aren't available.

    LINKS firms always have access to your own within-industry Forecasting Accuracy results for each round on page 1 of your financial results (your firm's Word doc file). A graphical report for the last six rounds is included in your KPI (Key Performance Indicator) charts in your Excel results.

    revised 05/27/2013
    [000253.html]
    listed under "Financial and Operating Reports"
    listed under "LINKS Simulation Database"
    listed under "Performance Evaluation"





    Input Finality

    “If I click on the "Save Input Changes" button on an input screen in the LINKS Simulation Database, are those inputs final?”

    Clicking on "Save Input Changes" or any other LINKS button saves the current decision variables to the LINKS Simulation Database on the LINKS web server. You can make any number of changes up to the official input submission deadline for your LINKS industry. The only input "finality" occurs at the official input submission deadline for your LINKS industry.

    You're free to make some input changes now, make more input changes 10 minutes from now, and then change some inputs you've previously changed an hour from now. The only thing that matters is the final standing of your LINKS decision inputs and research studies orders at the official input submission deadline for your LINKS industry.

    revised 09/12/2013
    [000217.html]





    Inputs Not Being Saved

    “We’ve been trying to input decisions on the LINKS Simulation Database but none of the decisions seem to register. There seems to be some bug that erases the input decisions. Could you could check and inform us if the problem exists with the software or it is a problem with our log in?”

    As best as I can tell, everything is working fine with the LINKS Simulation Database. The large number of teams currently using the LINKS web-server aren't reporting problems associated with inputs not being saved.

    The problem could be for a specific input box or two, whose inputs aren't being saved. Since your e-mail message didn't say anything specific about that, I presume that you're finding a general problem with your inputs not being saved across multiple web screens in the LINKS Simulation Database.

    The LINKS participant's manual describes the input protocol as involving one person only. Two or more team members cannot input simultaneously to the LINKS web server without encountering just the kind of problems that you describe. In brief, if two or more team members simultaneously use the LINKS Simulation Database to make inputs, their simultaneous inputs will not be recorded successfully. Generally, only the last one to "Submit" or "Exit" will have their inputs saved.

  • Worst Case Scenario: Person A loads in a LINKS web page and goes for a 10-minute refreshment break while person B accesses the LINKS Simulation Database and makes 100 input changes across many LINKS web screens before person A returns and hits executes the "Submit" key on her/her PC.
  • Result: Person A’s inputs for all LINKS decision variables are saved last to the LINKS Simulation Database, overwriting the previous inputs of person B.

    Based on your e-mail message, this appears to be the problem. The resolution to this problem is to have one person do the inputting in each LINKS round. Here, "one person" means only one team member making inputs at a time. There will be no problem if one person is making team inputs while other team members are simultaneously browsing through the LINKS Simulation Database without making any input changes. Browsing with no input changes is noted by the LINKS Simulation Database and inputs of such "browsers" aren’t written to the web-server database (i.e., it’s the simultaneous updating of decision inputs that causes problems).

    revised 04/01/2007
    [000199.html]





    Passcode Changes

    “How can I change my LINKS passcode?”

    LINKS passcodes are firm-specific, not specific to each LINKS participant. Thus, all members of a LINKS team use the same firm-specific passcode to access the LINKS Simulation Database. Passcodes are generated by the LINKS software when a LINKS industry is initialized. LINKS passcodes aren't normally changed by the LINKS Administrator unless the LINKS instructor re-assigns participants from one team to another after a LINKS event begins.

    revised 04/06/2007
    [000063.html]
    listed under "LINKS Simulation Database"
    listed under "Passcodes"





    Passcode Error

    “I used my e-mail address as my LINKS passcode and that doesn't work. What's going on? ?”

    Your firm-specific passcode for the LINKS Simulation Database is provided by the LINKS Administrator. LINKS passcodes aren't e-mail addresses. LINKS passcodes are formatted in the style abc1234g6w8 (i.e., industry code [for industry ABC in this example] followed by a series of numbers/letters).

    revised 01/27/2007
    [000070.html]
    listed under "LINKS Simulation Database"
    listed under "Passcodes"
    listed under "Website"





    Passcode Format

    “What's the format/style of a LINKS passcode?”

    LINKS passcodes are formatted in the style abc1234g6w8 (i.e., industry code [for industry ABC in this example] followed by a series of numbers/letters). LINKS passcodes aren't e-mail addresses!

    revised 03/12/2007
    [000132.html]





    Passcode Retrieval

    “How can I access my LINKS passcode?”

    You may retrieve the case-sensitive passcode for your LINKS firm in the LINKS Simulation Database via the "Retrieve LINKS Passcode" link on the LINKS webpage: http://www.LINKS-simulations.com

    Note that you must know your LINKS three-letter industry code to retrieve your passcode. If you don't know your LINKS three-letter industry code, please contact your LINKS instructor. And, to retrieve your LINKS passcode, you will be asked for your official LINKS e-mail address as recorded in the LINKS Simulation Database.

    Passcodes are only available after a LINKS industry is initialized. Initialiation occurs on a date of a LINKS instructor's choosing. To initialize a LINKS industry, the LINKS instructor provides us with the detailed game run schedule plus students' e-mail addresses grouped into LINKS teams.

    At the time your LINKS industry is initialized, all students and the instructor are e-mailed firm-specific passcode access information for the LINKS Simulation Database. If your LINKS industry has already been initialized, you can retrieve your LINKS passcode via a link on the main LINKS webpage or the LINKS Simulation Database webpage ("Retrieve LINKS Passcode").

    revised 09/12/2013
    [000043.html]
    listed under "LINKS Simulation Database"
    listed under "Passcodes"
    listed under "Website"





    Scheduled Game Runs

    “Does LINKS ever run early?”

    No, LINKS never runs early (i.e., before the scheduled input dealine). LINKS students may make their inputs up to the scheduled game run deadline. And, only the final status of the inputs counts ("final status" means at the input submission deadline). So, LINKS students can input some decisions today, some more decisions tomorrow, etc. up to the scheduled input submission deadline.

    revised 09/22/2006
    [000232.html]





    Word Formatting of LINKS Results File

    “When I access a LINKS Word doc results file, the formatted document (i.e., margins) is hard to read due to the line wrapping. I find that I must re-set the left and right margins to make the results file document readable. Can you help with this?”

    Margins are set within your local version of Microsoft Word.

    To improve readibility of Word doc results files, you may need to change the left- and right-margins to 0.9 inches and change the document's font to a fixed pitch like 10-point Courier or Courier New. If necessary, consult your local IT guru to make this default-margin change permanent within your Microsoft Word version on your local personal computer.

    revised 12/19/2010
    [000179.html]
    listed under "Financial and Operating Reports"
    listed under "LINKS Simulation Database"
    listed under "Website"




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