A List of Miscellaneous Things to Consider When Working on the PharmaSim
1. Remember that each period is an entire year. Thus, many things can and will happen during that year (e.g., inflation, consumer attitudes, changes in competitors actions and success, distribution results).
2. Print the Administrator's Reports after each period's decisions have been made and before you advance the next period. If you foul up somehow and need to re-enter your decisions for a few initial periods, you can re-construct exactly what you did by looking at these reports.
3. This simulation is not meant to be an exercise in which you try a whole bunch of different things and finally optimize in a final run. Do not do this. This is meant to be a one time activity in which you try to figure out strategy and tactics ahead of time, make your decisions, learn from your results, and react to them in the next period. Do not restart the simulation without first explaining and checking with me. You are on your honor to make these decisions in this way without cheating and trying out different things before committing yourself on a final run.
4. Do not buy any research reports in Period 0. This would be a waste of money since the information is the same as in the examples in the case description.
5. I recommend that you do buy a lot of research information, potentially beginning in period 1 (which is year 2). Assess each piece of information for how helpful it is (or could be), how to use this information, and how often you should buy the information. If you buy the survey, remember that you can segment the data in many ways each time you buy the survey information. My recommendation is to err on buying too much too often. However, it does cost money which is deducted from your budget and it is helpful if you use it in a rational manner.
6. Make a plan about what information to use and how to make various decisions. These theories, hypotheses, and rules of thumb can help you to structure a very complex task. These theories can come from textbooks, class, your own experience, the case description, etc. Chapter 3 of the PharmaSim text is helpful in this regard. Be flexible in your plan and adapt it as you advance through the 8 periods.
7. For each period, keep track of not only what you did but also your rationale and what you concluded from the results. Perhaps one member of the group should be responsible for this. Adopt specific goals and monitor them to construct and flesh out a theory of what works and why. This will help you when you finish and have to re-construct all this for the Marketing Plan.
8. Some students have not realized that, if sales increase beyond production capacity, you will automatically add some fixed amount of capacity that will more than cover sales.
9. Many of us have trouble remembering what type of product and what benefits are offered by each of Allstar's brands and which competitor brands do what and compete with each of Allstar's brands. I recommend that you write this out and keep it on a card or piece of paper so that you do not have to keep checking up on this as you ponder decisions.
10. It is easy to generate a lot of paper with this exercise. Be prepared if you are working at home on your own computer and printer.
11. Beware of inflation. It is high in the PharmaSim world and will impact your costs (and should affect your price).
This list was primarily compiled by Prof. Alan Sawyer.