Strategy tools, courses & learning materials for individuals, universities and business
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People Express

Some initial questions you may have...

If you have other questions that you would like to see answered on this page please contact us.

What time period is needed in class?

This simulation can easily be accommodated in a three hour class although more extensive use is also possible.

Can I afford it?

Our pricing system is on a per head basis so if you have 20 students in your class you need 20 student licences. For academic use the People Express simulation is charged at £8.00 per student so a class of 20 would cost £160.00. Academic licences are subject to a minimum charge of £60.00. Volume discounts are available for large classes and we also offer a permanent licensing option which is very economic over 5 years or more of use.

For executive programs the cost is £30.00 per participant on the course.

Can students have this on their own PC?

Yes, we can make a code available that permits this. However the duration is limited to the period of the course. Please request a student licence code when ordering.

Getting started - the interface

When you first open the game you are first asked to select your language. People Express can be played in English, Spanish and Portuguese. You can save this setting.

On the left there is a decision box: these are the only decisions that can be changed. As you can see there are a few decisions only.

There are a number of reports available to help the you see how you are doing: take a look at the summary report to start with and note the other reports, graphs and tables that are available.

Getting started - playing the game:

Teams of players (we suggest 3-4 people per team) enter their decisions and then select Run.

They use the reports etc to see how their decisions are affecting business performance and they also get some feedback from head office: part of the challenge is to meet profit targets and this can be tricky! If Head office is happy they will make more money available for developing new restaurants: (shown on the Targets and Capital report) and the team builds the restaurant chain by requesting capital.

The default period that the game runs forward is 3 months, players can select to run several quarters at a time (Menu | Simulation | Time step). They can elect to Go Back one step (Menu | Simulation | Go Back)..

What documentation is provided?

The documentation for People Express consists of a 30 page user guide. An inspection copy is available on request.

A good resource for People's Express is:

Alan K. Graham, John D.W. Morecroft, Peter M. Senge and John D. Sterman (1994). "Model-Supported Case Studies for Management Education" in Modeling for Learning Organizations ed. John D.W. Morecroft and John D. Sterman. Productivity Press, Portland.

It gives a good overview of the game, the problems People's Express experienced and will help with the debrief in general. You can view the article here.

People Express - Illustrative teaching schedules:

The timings shown assume that all sessions take place within scheduled class time. The small group break out sessions shown shaded, may take place between classes, reducing the amount of scheduled time required.

  Short
(1 hour)
Medium
(2½ hours)
Long
(3½ hours)

Plenary session
Beefeater Restaurants support slide-set (performance dependence on resource system architecture, managing build up of intangible customer perceptions and investor expectations)
30 min.
(selected slides only)
45 min.
(all or most slides)
45 min.
(all or most slides)

In-class demonstration
Open the simulation with one of the Challenges (pre-saved results, examples are provided with the simulation) to have class propose and evaluate policies (e.g. a rapid start-up, over-aggressive expansion, or sustaining a mature business).
15 min. 15 min. 20 min.

Small group break-out
with PCs — groups work through one or more defined strategy challenges — e.g. maximising sustainable earnings by a defined time, starting from a small, high-growth base.
  1 hr. 1.5 hr.

Plenary
Debrief group exercise emphasising key principles and seeking groups' approach to the challenges covered
  15 min. 25 min.

Plenary - summarise key concepts
15 min. 15 min. 15 min.

Plenary
Explore parallels, differences and implications of comparable structures in situations familiar to participants.
  15 min.


Optional Challenge: Managing shareholder value in maturity

Briefing
    15 min.

Small group break-out – explore, recommend and deliver increased shareholder value, when the business in reaching market limits. 60 min.

Debrief
15 min.

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