Case Study

Bose Kicks Off Global Sales Seminar Online with the Beer Game

The electronics giant inspires participants to learn lessons from recent worldwide supply chain shortages and better collaborate in the future.

Bose x Zensimu case study

Bose Corporation was founded in 1964 by Dr. Amar G. Bose, then a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company’s spirit of invention, passion for excellence, and commitment to extraordinary experiences can be found around the world. Bose employs over 8,000 employees and partners with thousands of resellers managed by sales teams operating in more than 100 countries.

Bose is best known for its home audio systems and speakers, noise-cancelling headphones, professional audio products and automobile sound systems. Demand for electronics (along with their semiconductor chips) has surged in recent years, further exacerbated by Covid-19. The pandemic caused an unprecedented supply challenge due to greatly extended lead times.

Bose old products black and white

Bose old products black and white

Bose speakers

How to better manage surprise global supply chain shortages

It became vitally important to bring various teams and departments together to better understand how these shortages occur and learn how to minimize or avoid them altogether. Therefore, in the beginning of 2021, the Bose commercial and supply chain groups organized a seminar for its “reseller teams” to specifically show them how global supply chains work and why inter-chain communication throughout the chain is so critically important. This was also an opportunity to strengthen the use of collaborative tools and processes to improve sales forecasts.

Tom de Groot, Global Head of Commercial Supply Chain Operations at Bose, decided to conduct a session with Zensimu's Beer Game and wanted all relevant sales and supply chain employees to participate. Due to time zone differences, the game had to be played in two sessions — one in North America and Western Europe and the other in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia/Pacific — with over 40 employees playing in each one. With people connecting from all over the world, it was mandatory to host the game online, and allow a very quick setup.

Using Zensimu's Beer game as a fun way to illustrate supply chain challenges

Each session included 10 games and de Groot needed to create each one in advance. He used the “Excel Export” function to extract the links for each role, then prepared the teams in advance, also on Excel based on each one’s country/division. Next, de Groot activated the newly released “Add Revenue” option as sales teams respond best to objectives that highlight profit as opposed to other departments focused on cost cutting.

At the start of the seminar, de Groot presented slides to introduce the rules and object of the Beer Game, which he had already customized with the Bose logo and brand colors. Then, he shared the links via email and within two minutes everyone was connected with their teammates and ready to play!

"I, along with two others from my team, could easily follow the game on the instructor dashboard. We could track the evolution, provide feedback and stir up some competition between players to see who could generate the most revenue."

Tom de Groot - Global Head of Commercial Supply Chain Operations, Bose

Beer Game logo on conference room

Beer Game logo on conference room

Seminar using the Beer Game from Zensimu

By the end of the game, the instructors used the “Game Analysis” feature to compare all the various games and establish a winner.

The analysis provided interesting insight into how some teams did not generate a profit due to their overreaction to spikes in demand, creating wide variations further down the supply chain. Meanwhile, other teams did manage to maximize sales by maintaining reasonable stock levels. The need for strong communication and end-user demand signal focus became absolutely evident.

De Groot then leveraged the game debriefing to provide recommendations within specific company context at Bose. Participants took an active part in this part of the session and felt involved all around. They were also able to download their team’s result as a PDF as personal notes from the debriefing.

Zensimu helps Bose sales teams gather around company objectives

Overall, the Beer Game session was a great success. The two-hour game was a much more immersive and memorable experience for all participants than would be a traditional PowerPoint presentation. Participants realized that a good, stable and reliable forecast really matters and that cross functional and cross-company communication is crucial.

Sales teams could much better understand constraints linked with complex supply chains and collaborate on future projects to improve forecasts. With participants properly engaged and prepared, the sessions proved to be an efficient way to introduce the concepts and objectives to be discussed throughout the rest of the seminar.

“We had a lot of fun! Playing the Beer Game made our seminar an unforgettable experience. It was so easy to organize and we believe it had a very positive impact on all the teams worldwide.”

Tom de Groot - Global Head of Commercial Supply Chain Operations, Bose

Bose products on shelves

Bose products on shelves

Bose products in a store