June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.654.1 - 13.654.13
Greening the Supply Chain: Development of a Computer Game to Teach Environmentally Benign Manufacturing Abstract Over the past decade, both massively multiplayer games and simulation games have reached new levels of sophistication and retained enormous mainstream audiences. Developments in digital technology allow new opportunities to engage students in collaborative and active learning. The desire to address complex technological and social issues in an engaged manner inspired the development of a prototype board game created to raise the awareness of environmental issues in engineering. Designed for in-class play by undergraduate and graduate engineering students as well as business students, the game structure is based on team competition of companies in the automobile supply chain; the game objectives are to achieve the highest profit and to achieve the lowest environmental detriment. A new interdisciplinary project funded by NSF has extended the development of the board game to create and assess a networked computer game.
The game is played using stakeholders in the manufacturing supply chain in the automotive industry. In its current non-networked version, six students create a team of three suppliers: materials, parts, and cars. Within this team, two students take on roles for each of the three companies in the supply chain. During each round in the game, each company within the supply chain takes its turn to invest and select among different technologies in three areas for each company: production, storage and waste disposal. There are tradeoffs in investment costs and green values for each technology option, and there is a hierarchy to the innovation options available for each turn. The students work within their team and budget (and within ten rounds of the game) to try to create the most profitable and green supply chain. Students compete with other supply chain teams. Successful game strategy requires both cooperation and competition for players to succeed.
This work is based upon development of a board game, entitled Shortfall (previously reported [1-3]), which simulates a simplified supply chain for automobile production. The goal and challenge of playing Shortfall is to learn to maximize profit while minimizing environmental impact. The auto industry manufacturing supply chain allows exploration of relationships among design considerations, supply chain management, environmental issues, research and development, and profitability. Instead of using a lecture format for green manufacturing case studies, the concept of participative group game play is being tested and evaluated for successful learning outcomes. Although the supply chain is simplified, students can experience the ramification of technology selection and processing decisions through a unique educational format.
Initial play tests with the prototype board game appeared to be somewhat overwhelming to understand quickly for many players; after two rounds, players were up to speed, but the game ended after four rounds. There were several boards, dozens of game pieces, work sheets, innovation cards and current event cards. It was necessary to streamline and simplify the game
Isaacs, J., & Laird, J., & Sivak, S., & Sivak, M. (2008, June), Greening The Supply Chain: Development Of A Computer Game To Teach Environmentally Benign Manufacturing Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3866
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