A game-based approach towards facilitating decision making for perishable products: An example of blood supply chain


Operations and Supply Chain Management

Date of this version


Document Type



• Simulation; • Empirical modelling;


Supply chains for perishable items consist of products with a fixed shelf life and limited production/collection; managing them requires competent decision-making. With the objective of placing the learners in the position of decision-makers, we propose the Blood Supply Chain Game which simulates the supply chain of blood units from donors to patients based on a real case study modeling the UK blood supply chain. The Excel-based game is an abstraction of the technical complex simulation model providing a more appropriate learning environment. This paper presents the game’s background, its mathematical formulations, example teaching scenarios and the learners’ evaluation. The game aims to translate qualitative aspects of a sensitive supply chain into quantitative economic consequences by presenting a process analysis and suggesting solutions for the patient’s benefit in a cost effective manner, trying to synchronize blood demand and supply and maximize the value of the whole supply chain. This innovative approach will be instructive for students and healthcare service professionals.

Published in

Expert Systems with Applications

Citation/Other Information

41(9), 4043-4059. doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2013.12.038