The Dice Games

These fun and highly educational games allow the individual to gain a deeper understanding of how complex systems behave. Through a series of progressive games, an individual learns how to identify the key leverage points or constraints and expose the underlying inherent simplicity. Used by universities around the world, these games have proven to be a practical learning tool on undergraduate and masters degree programmes as well as many leadership and management development programs.

1. The standard dice game

2. The manager's game

3. Reducing system variability

4. Finding the weakest link

5. Implementing drum-buffer-rope

6. Dealing with batched arrivals

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Dice Game 1
The standard dice game

This is the game played in chapter nine of Pride and Joy

This game introduces the Dice Game as a simulation of throughput and work in progress for a system of dependent stages where each stage has a performance that changes randomly in time.

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Dice Game 2
The manager's game

In this game you can move resources between throws to try and improve flow

You might be able to improve the performance of Game 1 by managing resources and putting effort where it is required. This game lets you move the dice to different stations between rolls.

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Dice Game 3
Reducing system variability

This is where the variation at each stage in the process has been reduced to try and improve flow

What if the random variation in performance is the problem? How does reducing the variability affect the outcome?

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Dice Game 4
Finding the weakest link

Every system has a weakest link. See if you can find it in this game. 

The different stages of a system usually have different performance averages and ranges of variation. A critical step in optimising such a system is to identify the slowest stage.

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Dice Game 5
Implementing drum-buffer-rope

The Theory of Constraints' drum-buffer-rope approach is used in this game to try and improve flow

Once the slowest step has been identified it is used as the "drum beat" to set the speed of entry into the system. A buffer is maintained to ensure the slowest step always has something to process.

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Dice Game 6
Dealing with batched arrivals

In this game the Theory of Constraints' buffer management approach is used to deal with various patterns of arrival. 

In some systems the input to the system is not continuous but rather arrives in batches. How does this behaviour affect the Drum-Buffer-Rope approach to control?

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