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  1. BulletParticipants are placed in realistic roles in a simulated factory: line workers, scheduling, purchasing, finance and management.

  2. BulletOther elements include vendors, customers, transportation and banking.  In other words, the entire supply chain and economy is included.

  3. BulletThe challenge is to produce a product (a small car made of Lego® bricks) in a way that generates a profit for the company.

  4. BulletParticipants use order forms, purchase orders, promissory notes, poker chips and play money to simulate the flow of information and cash.  Parts are represented by Lego® bricks.

  5. BulletCustomers place orders, parts are ordered from vendors, products are manufactured on the assembly line and then shipped to and purchased by the customer.  The simulation is simple yet realistic.  Participants immediately understand the paradigm, even if they’ve never worked in a factory.

  6. BulletProgress is measured and charted through key metrics including net profit, inventory on hand, product quality and customer satisfaction.

& Services

A highly interactive simulation of a manufacturing environment that provides an engaging and exciting way to examine process improvement, lean manufacturing principles, and complex problem solving.  This energetic workshop provides an experience participants won’t forget and learning that will stay with them for years to come.

  1. BulletThe simulation begins in deliberate chaos.  As participants begin to understand the processes, areas for improvement begin to naturally suggest themselves.

  2. BulletThe simulation can be stopped so that participants can examine processes that need improving, principles of lean manufacturing, or to work together

“I have often commented to people (very positively, I might add) about the lessons learned from the Factory on a Desk Top™.  The program and the environment surrounding the program provided insight that was both memorable and ‘inexpensive.’  The inexpensive part refers to having manager’s trade places and ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’ without the expensive risk of doing it with real products, people, and inventory! — S. H., Operations Manager, Vermeer Manufacturing

CLIENTS (partial list)

American Software Users Group

Computer Services, Inc.

Ford Motor Company

General Cable

Saab Automobile (Sweden)

Scott Paper

University of Kentucky

  1. U.S. Army CPOC

U. S. Steel

Vermeer Manufacturing

Do your people need to be able to identify and then improve processes that result in measurable performance gains?

Do you need to be able to develop “systems thinking” to tackle tough, multi-faceted problems?

Do people need to understand “lean” manufacturing principles?

Do you need a highly engaging, fun and interactive experience that people will talk about for years to come?

Do you need to launch a process improvement initiative in an energetic way while teaching process improvement skills?

Do you need a team-building challenge that will be a big win for your teams?


  1. 1.Discovery meeting.  Since the Factory on a Desk-Top™ is highly customizable experience, our team will work with you to identify key learning you want to achieve from the workshop.  Areas of emphasis might include:

  2. BulletProcesses for continuous improvement

  3. BulletSkills for identifying and improving processes

  4. BulletTeam building and team problem solving

  5. BulletLean manufacturing principles

  6. 2.Setup.  We arrive on-site in advance of the workshop to set up and prepare the room.  We have documents that identify the numbers and types of tables necessary for this highly unusual workshop.  The remainder of the extensive materials used for the workshop can be shipped to your location.

  7. 3.Workshop.  Typically the workshop lasts one full day, although, depending on the material you want covered, it may extend to a second day.  We conduct the workshop in a sequence that includes multiple “rounds” following each process improvement designed by the workshop participants themselves.  By the end of the day, participants enjoy the thrill of taking what initially appears to be a very challenging situation, applying improvements to the system, and seeing their improvements pay off in tangible, measurable ways.

  8. 4.Wrap-up. To drive the learnings home, we finish the workshop with a discussion about lessons learned and applications to those lessons that can be applied in the workplace the very next day.  If the workshop has been customized for some particular lesson you want your people to learn, we firmly reinforce those points again at the end of the workshop.


The Factory on a Desk-Top™ can be customized to fit in with the purposes in your organization.  Some examples include:

  1. BulletAs the beginning of a major process redesign involving multiple locations.

  2. BulletAs the “safe” initiation for a very tense labor/management negotiation.

  3. BulletAs the core curriculum for a lean manufacturing institute.

  4. BulletAs the launch for a series of process improvement teams.

  5. BulletAs a way to explore possible factory rearrangements.

  6. BulletFor a group of university librarians who want to understand process improvement.

  7. BulletTo make sure employees understand basic manufacturing concepts.


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as a team to solve challenges to

produce better results.  Once the “time

  out” is finished, the simulation can

   resume to determine if the changes

    made bring the desired


  1. BulletParticipants become highly engaged in the experience, often bursting into spontaneous applause as they are able to turn their metrics around and succeed in “winning” the challenge.