At this stage useful information can be obtained on how your system operates by comparing key operating parameters against their real-world values as a means of validating the model. Once confidence in the model builds, the real benefit of simulation model comes into its own allowing for many different input scenarios. To allow non-simulation users to easily manipulate key parameters in the model, such as number of operators, speed of machines, different shift patterns etc. This data can be read from an Excel spreadsheet or bespoke user software interface.
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While the simulation runs, usually over an extended period, key statistics are collected and may be displayed and exported if required for later analysis. Although the performance of systems can often be gauged by displaying key performance indicators as part of the 2D and 3D animation of the processes, a dashboard showing parameters in the form of business graphics is often more appropriate and these can be shown concurrently with or without the model animation. The efficient simulation engine ensures rapid operation and although detailed 3D animation is possible, more benefit may be gained by executing long runs to simulate weeks or months of continuous operation to observe the effect of changes to input parameters or system characteristics.
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USE SIMULATION TO OPTIMISE YOUR OPERATIONS
By documenting and analysing your present or planned operation a software model of the processes can be built and using the established technique of discrete event simulation your minute by minute and day by day operations can be visualised. Most of any business, service operation or manufacturing process can be defined using flowchart modules with provision for complex decision logic where required. Once the logic has been defined, process timing characteristics can be defined either by simple cycle time limits or, if more data is available, by complex random statistical distributions. This is the key factor missing from simple spreadsheet calculations, that adds variability to best mimic real-world operation.