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Successful simulations

Lerner students compete in intercollegiate SAP ERP Simulation Game

“We need more blueberries!”

This is a sentence that you may not expect to hear in a business competition, but students taking part in the SAP ERP Simulation Game Competition at the University of Delaware were competing to bring a simulated cereal company to financial success.

Led by Ellen Fischer Monk, assistant professor in UD’s Department of Accounting and MIS, UD welcomed students from Delaware State University, Penn State University, Widener University and Rider University in addition to UD students for the inaugural SAP ERP Simulation Game Competition.

But what is SAP ERP? Developed by a German company, Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung (SAP), or System Applications Products in English, is enterprise resource planning software that plays a role in an estimated 76 percent of all worldwide transactions.

“When you order something or pay a bill, or a company sells a product, it’s somehow using an SAP system,” Monk said. “They are used in almost every company.”

Teams of competing students utilized a live SAP system to run their simulated cereal companies.

With each passing minute representing one in-game day, the SAP system allowed students to see what materials they had in stock and what types of cereal were sold. Students replenished inventory by ordering raw materials, manufactured product, adjusted cereal prices and decided how much to spend on marketing.

Members in each group had their own responsibilities – some kept track of inventory, some kept track of the pricing, and some were poised at the ready on the reorder screen to buy more fictional strawberries, blueberries, raisins and wheat at the demand of their teammates.

“In real time, you can see all your financial results,” Monk explained. “Someone on the team may be always looking at the income statement or balance sheet to see how much money they’re making.”

This project gave real-world insight to students because they were able to experience and work with SAP’s popular enterprise software tools.

On one of these students, a member of one of UD’s highest-ranking teams in the competition, was Rachel Zucker, a junior operations management major. Her job in the game was refilling orders.

“It was so much fun,” said Zucker, who attributed her team’s success to teamwork.

On Zucker’s team, Erin Simmons, a senior international business studies major with French and economics minors, was responsible for writing purchase orders. Morgan Miskovitz, a junior sports management and marketing double major, was responsible for changing the cereal’s pricing during the game.

Jordan Betlow, a senior marketing major, watched inventory during the game while Kaitlin Greenstein, a junior marketing and management double major, worked with the summary sales order report. Greenstein said that her team was absorbed and interested by this hands-on project.

“We got really into it,” she said.

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