Enhancing digital transformation towards virtual supply chains: a simulation game for Dutch floriculture

Giulia Salvini, G.J. Hofstede*, C.N. Verdouw, K. Rijswijk, L.W.A. Klerkx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Supply chains are increasingly being virtualized in response to globalization and emerging market challenges. Virtualization requires technical innovation using IoT technologies such as smart sensors, and it allows to transmit quality information across the chain. Associated organizational innovation is complex, especially in SME-dominated supply chains, and relies upon intensive knowledge exchange, discussions and negotiation. However, the development of solutions to address socio-institutional barriers to virtual supply chains has been under-researched up to now. This study analyses barriers to virtualization faced in SME-dominated supply chains, that is, the Dutch floriculture. The second step is developing a solution to core barriers in the form of a dedicated simulation game, the ‘Virtual Flower Chain’. Design and experiences are shown. The barriers that the game addresses are a sector-wide lack of cooperation, consumer focus, and sense of urgency, as well as a limited understanding of virtualization. The validation through game sessions shows that 87% of the participants gained more insights about the benefits of virtualization technologies and the willingness to collaborate, rather than blaming others, increased to 89% after the game. Game participants achieved more awareness of their position in a larger system, rather than as an isolated business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1252-1269
JournalProduction Planning & Control
Issue number13
Early online date15 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2022


  • Virtualization
  • supply chain management
  • digital transformation
  • Internet of things
  • floriculture
  • simulation games


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