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How Does The Simulation Work?

A critical component of the business simulation is JK Distributors, Inc. (JKD) - a mock company that sells equipment and supplies to residential institutions such as hotels, motels, hospitals, and university dormitories. Working with its partner companies - Associated Buyers Corporation (ABC) and HUB Suppliers (HUB) and banking with the Tremont Street Cooperative Bank (TSCB) - JK Distributors serves its customers by providing a single source from which to purchase all their goods. JK Distributors is born out of Training, Inc.'s thirty years of experience of running business simulations.

At Training, Inc. in Boston we have been using business simulations as a key component of the training program. Click here to see how the precursor of JK Distributors has been integrated into their program.

JK Distributors is most effective if trainees have received some basic job skills training including an introduction to Microsoft Office and sector specific skills. During the orientation to JK Distributors, trainees receive an overview of open positions and apply for jobs requesting 1st, 2nd & 3rd choices. Staff interview and assign roles in the four companies. After two days of training, trainees fill all managerial and staffing positions. Using detailed procedures that have been developed for each of the positions in the four companies, trainees deal with common workplace issues such as work flow bottlenecks, incomplete orders, the effect of tardiness and absenteeism, complaints from customers, and interpersonal conflicts. Company employees are required to track time on the job, receive faux paychecks (generated by the payroll department). They are docked for lateness and absence and at the discretion of their manager employees can also receive bonuses for outstanding work. Throughout the life of JK Distributors trainees have the opportunity to reflect on their experience and celebrate accomplishments. Training, Inc. business partners are invited to attend an open house during which time trainees/employees conduct tours and explain their positions as well as the work flow of the company.

Throughout the JK Distributors simulation trainees learn critical skills including:

  • Working together and dealing with different personalities
  • Paying attention to detail and following procedures
  • How to run a department, solving problems on their own
  • How work flows and how things can change quickly
  • How to give and receive feedback effectively
  • How to meet deadlines and work under pressure

During the JK Distributors simulation, staff is responsible for establishing the company by orienting participants, running the job application process, assigning trainees to jobs and transforming the work space to reflect an office setting. Staff provides guidance to managers through serving as business consultants (for which JK Distributors must pay). We have found that to be effective the simulation should be run from between 40 and 60 instructional hours. At the end of the designated period, the JK Distributors managers calculate its profit (or loss) at the closing meeting.

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