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Process Simulation
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Material Handling Consultants, Inc. is a World Class industrial engineering firm which specializes in the planning, design, integration, and implementation systems for the manufacturing, transportation, and distribution industries. 



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Process Simulation   

  • When should you consider using computer simulation?

  • Is it a worthwhile tool?

  • Is it expensive?

  • How can it save money?

When should you consider using computer simulation?

In today's complex supply chain environment there is great pressure to reduce inventories and simplify the processes by which you operate and manage your business. 

Not only are you constrained by the physical length, width and height configuration of your facility, you are becoming more constrained by a fourth dimension.  We will call that fourth dimension . . . time. 

Perhaps the most important component of good design is understanding the maximum throughput that must be accommodated within a specific period of time.  We must be able to answer these critical questions.   

  • What is the peak throughput capacity?

  • For how long a period of time must that peak be sustained? 

As designers we must not only understand what is happening in every part of the process, but precisely when it is suppose to happen.  We must understand what variables can impact process flow and then determine if our design can “flatten” the peaks and shorten the duration. 

Computer simulation can be an invaluable tool in helping to judge the variables and test the impact of new changes occurring within the existing process.  What changes can be made that would reduce these peaks and their duration?

Simulation should be considered whenever we propose changes, and we must understand exactly what the impact is to the upstream and downstream portions of our process.  

Is Simulation a worthwhile tool?

An experienced designer will know when an approach is overkill. An experienced designer will also know when an approach is not quite up to the task.  The operative word in both scenarios is “experienced.”

You can use computer simulation to test approaches wherein you are not totally convinced that the approach will produce the desired results.

Simulation helps guide personnel through a more disciplined and methodical approach.  It becomes easier to visualize how peak the rates, the departmental interdependencies, and both parallel and serial operations sequencing affect the total process.

You use computer simulation to understand how change may impact other portions of the process.

Computer simulation can be used to demonstrate the effects of proposed changes.

  • You use computer simulation to demonstrate to supervisors and management how a specific approach will or will not meet expectations.

  • Simulation may demonstrate to supervisors and management how changes in their roles and responsibilities can contribute to the overall success of the entire operation.  

Simulation can be considered a worthwhile tool whenever we consider changes where experience tells us that the outcome is in doubt or, that there is there would be a considerable expense due to failure.  Simulation can help you mitigate your risk potential.   

Is Simulation expensive?

A great deal of the expense involved in simulation is related to your expectations.

  • Are you looking for a graphic representation of a process?

  • Will a statistical representation in the form of data be acceptable?

Graphics can be expensive, but in some instances, absolutely necessary.  Typically, more time may be spent tuning the graphic portion of the project than developing the mathematical coding. 

If graphics are necessary to validate a particular design, then the cost of a computer simulation can often be more expensive! 

Will Simulation save money?

Simulation helps you better understand your risks when considering changes to your operation.  

  • Simulation may uncover flaws in a process!

  • Simulation may expose other issues affecting the effectiveness of an existing process!

  • Simulation may drive the design toward an unexpected direction . . . possibly a more effective solution!

Simulation may be used to validate a design or the effectiveness of various approaches to solving a problem . . . all without jeopardizing the output of an existing operation!

  • Computer simulation may be viewed as an investment that can assist you in avoiding costly errors.

  • Simulation can provide a window into the future that permits you the opportunity to reduce your risk and protect your capital investments!

Simulation can save money by eliminating or reducing risks and avoiding costly mistakes!


Are there any advantages to developing an "in-house" simulation capability? 

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Are there advantages to an "in-house" simulation capability? 








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September 16, 2005