Less than a year after a London launch, the founders of the board game – Business on the Move – which teaches people of all ages about the importance of today's supply chain in global commerce, are urging businesses in the sector to support their local school.
HRH The Princess Royal watches Business on the Move being played by students of Maghull High School in Liverpool at the annual conference of the International Federation of Warehousing Logistics Associations which was held in the city. Looking on are (left to right): Derrick Potter, President of the IFWLA, and Andy Page, a former teacher and the game’s co-developer.
Co-developer Patricia Smedley – like her colleague Andy Page, a former advisory teacher and Head of Business Studies, said: "In less than 12 months we have distributed more than 80% of the initial 2,800 games produced to schools and colleges all over the UK. We are now looking for just 100 more businesses to order five games each and donate them to their local school. We are in the crucial last mile of our social enterprise's first production run and, with a final push of support from the logistics sector, we can get over the finishing line."
Business on the Move aims to inspire, excite and educate young people from the age of 9 to 19, and beyond. The aim of the game is for players to move different products from China to their UK customers by land, sea and air, as quickly, as profitably and as responsibly as they can. In so doing, they are faced with taking decisions similar to those made regularly by many businesses, such as: "How do I meet the delivery deadline?"; "Will I make a profit?"; "How can I improve my supply chain?" and "How can I cut my carbon footprint?"
For just £267 (inc VAT and p&p) a business can purchase five games and donate them to their local school. The price includes box lid labels identifying the company as the sponsor. Alternatively, for a further £150, the business's name can be incorporated into the actual board and into the accompanying order cards becoming part of the game itself.
"For just over either £250 or £400 a business can help inspire young people about logistics and global supply chains and potentially open the door to a fulfilling career in the sector. From both corporate social responsibility and PR perspectives, this has to be money well spent," added Patricia.
With the backing of 50 original sponsors - including logistics providers, major retailers, financial services and others – the vast majority of the first tranche of 2,800 games produced have already been distributed to schools and colleges nationwide.
As well as Business on the Move works as an educational board game, it is much more than that. Backed up by more than 50 classroom activities which are included in the price, Business on the Move is a powerful platform for learning. Players apply their knowledge of subjects such as English, Maths and Geography to the reality of logistics and global supply chains through exercises devised in partnership with the game's sponsors. Activities relate to Key Stage 2 in primary school right through to Key Stage 5 in sixth forms. All are matched to the new national curriculum.
Patricia and Andy originally set up their Very Enterprising Community Interest Company*, a social enterprise, in 2011 to create a versatile supply chain game that could be used by UK teachers across age groups, school subjects and ability levels.
They have therefore been pleasantly surprised by interest from both the international business and academic communities with some 40 games going overseas and to at least one university in each of the world's continents.
One explanation of this interest is the way that higher level aspects of the supply chain – such as palletisation, reverse logistics and cash flow – can be included in the game. Indeed, businesses are starting to integrate the game into their training programmes for new recruits, including graduates and apprentices, and existing staff.
"The next stage in the development of Business on the Move could well be a global game," said co-founder Andy. "We have had several enquiries from businesses who operate globally and we are already holding meetings with potential sponsors – if things progress as we hope we could soon be ordering a further 6,000 games."
Business on the Move has already won an award under the Royal Bank of Scotland's Inspiring Enterprise initiative and from the UnLtd charity which supports social entrepreneurs.
Steve Agg, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, said: "It's fun, you get challenged. You can learn from your successes and failures and you gain reward. We recognised right from the start that the game could help young people to understand the role that logistics, transport and supply chain plays in all our daily lives. Employing more than 10% of the working population in the UK, it ensures that there are great opportunities for young people and we want them to love logistics when they come to consider their career options."
Steve Foster, Supply Chain Strategy Manager at Marks & Spencer, said: "This initiative is a unique and fun way for us to engage with our local school communities and bring supply chains and logistics into the classroom in a way that can impact on so many areas of the curriculum. It is a great way of developing commercial and problem solving skills while also increasing awareness of the environmental impact caused by the movement of goods around the world."
*A Community Interest Company is a type of social enterprise registered through Companies House where there are no dividends and the assets are "locked into the community".