Welcome to the Distributor Game Family, a game family designed around the supply chain trend of globalization. Players take the role of a distributor and have to manage a global network of suppliers and customers, each with their own characteristics. Players have to manage products with a high depreciation, such as consumer electronics. Management of inventory and interpreting developments of the market are key for players. The Distributor Game helps participants understand the need in modern business "to know earlier", to scan the horizon, and to increasingly master the complexity of balancing a portfolio of product and management risks as a senior supply chain executive.


The following game versions exist:


  • Local vs Global (4-product and 3-product variants exist). This game has a very competitive scenario, in which teams of players compete on three continents with local suppliers and markets, and global suppliers and markets. They play the role of a distributor that has to make choices for local or global sourcing, local or global sales, the strategy for inventory management, the timing of sourcing, and product differentiation or specialization. The products have a high percentage of depriciation, so keeping inventory can be costly. The game is typically played in a half-day or full-day session.
  • Demand Surge. This scenario invites players to deal with different types of demand surges and explore strategies to deal with three different types of surges. This game can be played in a 2-hour or 4-hour session.
  • Volatile Supply Chain. This is a game that accompanies the book 'X-treme Supply Chains. A guide for managing in times of change' (to appear, 2009). It can be played in a full-semester mode or a half-semester mode. Students teams have to take care of their company for 7 or 14 weeks in a very comeptitive situation. Every week several events happen in the supply chain, which closely match the topics covered in the lectures corresponding to the book chapters.


To date, the Distributor Game has been played with more than 500 (Executive) MBA students from the Graduate School of Business Administration (GSBA) Zurich, the R.H. Smith School of Business and from organizations part of the Global Technology and Management Consortium. Other educational institutions that use the (Erasmus) Distributor Game include the Erasmus University Rotterdam and Penn State University.


Schools and organisations that have played the Distributor Games include:


  • R.H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, USA
  • Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft, The Netherlands
  • University of Groningen, Faculty of Business and Economy, Groningen, The Netherlands
  • Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Graduate School of Business Administration,  Zurich, Switzerland
  • Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business, Tempe AZ, USA
  • Michigan State University, The Eli Broad College of Business, E. Lansing MI, USA
  • Oklahoma University, Michael F. Price College of Business, Norman OK, USA
  • Pennsylvania State University, Smeal College of Business, University Park PA, USA
  • The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business, Columbus OH, USA
  • University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, Minneapolis MN, USA
  • University of Tennessee, College of Business Administration, Knoxville TN, USA
  • Soochow University, School of Business, Taipei, Taiwan
  • Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, India
  • CERAM, European School of Business, Sophia Antipolis, France
  • Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland
  • Nankai University, International Business School, Nankai, China
  • Alfa Delta Compendium, Amsterdam, The Netherlands