REALLY simulating the Supply Chain Block 1-6

Simulation can yield cost benefits in three main ways:


1. As a scenario testing tool: In this kind of project, a user will simulate and compare two or more options. A proper example is the comparison of two different FPA (forward picking area) layouts. One will allow shorter cycle times than the other and this will be evident in a simulation. Another such example is comparing automation options for picking, where a manual process is compared vs using a conveyor for consolidating orders. These models are normally used once, but can help companies avoid huge headaches from wrong decision making.

2. Optimization: They represent the current picking zone configuration, but their main goal is to understand the best configuration of variables given a set of inputs. Every season the demand behaviour changes for the apparel industry. It is wise to arrange the picking process, layout, slotting or routes accordingly. With optimization models, inputs such as volume are loaded to the same model and the result is an explanation of the best setup like product location in the picking zone, picking route, headcount or picking template.


3. Emulation: We will discuss it some other time.


Process flows really help us organize the logic in the model by visually laying out the decision making processes, the sequence of activities and the exceptions. Today we will continue building a simple straightforward process flow to direct the picking activities, and manage its cycles and decisions to make the 3D model smarter.

Cycles are composed of three elements: A counter, activities and a decision point...
  1. Today's key concepts:

  2. COUNTERS

  3. PROCESS CYCLES

  4. DEBUGGING

Stay tuned because next we will use statistical distributions to better replicate real order profiles, create picking routes and build key performance indicators for the picking process. Also we will hand out our first problem set.


This is REALLY simulating the Supply Chain, your best source for simulation tutorials and references. I am Enrique Elizaga head of simulation projects at Supply Chain Institute and I'm very excited to help you become a simulation expert!

Here is the Starter Model for reference:


SCI starter model
.zip
Download ZIP • 1.25MB