On March 24th, Siemens launched an online game called Plantville. At its core, the game is all about improving the performance of three separate manufacturing plants by managing the plants to a series of KPIs.
What surprised me most about the game was its depth. This game is no puff piece. The KPIS and the decisions that must be made to achieve the goals associated with them are real life examples. And all decisions — whether it’s to buy new equipment, hire new employees, or shut down for maintenance — carry with them costs that affect the plants’ budgets. So as much as the game is ultimately about plant management, it’s also a better-than-average business management exercise.
The closest thing to a design engineering exercise in the game lies in the ability of player to alter the layout of the plant to reduce conveyor lengths and thereby increase production speed and delivery. However, I think there’s something more important that design engineers will gain from Plantville.
To see my review of the game and hear what I think is the overall value in it for design engineers, check out the video link below.
And if you’re interested, you can play Plantville yourself at http://www.plantville.com