Industry & Logistics
The use of a strong simulation software is especially suitable within Industry & Logistics; daily challenges as decisions for or against investments e. g. in new production lines and machines, transport equipment or storage facilities, prediction on a future systems’ performance or production capacity, estimation of proposed modifications resulting from SixSigma-studies or Lean-Manufacturing, feasibility studies in respect of corporate growth, the continuous improvement of processes and more.
In supply chains, the focus is much broader than the activities within just one company. It generally involves a network of multiple enterprises, including suppliers, manufacturers and retailers who work together to meet a customer’s need for products or services. Supply chain management therefore refers to the need to integrate the business processes, from an end user through original suppliers.
The control over supply chains covers the movements of raw materials, work in process and finished goods through all joints and the storage in every link of the chain.
Simulation of supply chain concerns
Simulation of supply chains concerns both supply chain design and supply chain control. Therefore, suitable supply chain simulation software is needed to find the best solution and keep track of the whole chain.
Some typical subjects of supply chain simulation are:
- Configuration of the distribution network:
- Which network locations are involved?
- Implement centralization or decentralization
- What mode of transportation will be used?
- How many warehouses will be used?
Inventory management issues:
- Where should stocks be kept and how much?
- How can replenishment strategies contribute?
- Trade-offs between manufacturing costs, transportation costs and stock keeping costs to minimize operating costs in the chain.
Lead time reductions:
- What is the effect of an improvement program for forecasting?
- How can communication protocols to improve the performances?
Performance measurements in the chain:
- How does the supply chain function and what are the individual contributions?
- Which key performance indicators can be evaluated?
Return flow management:
- How to deal with handling of waste and return goods?
- How to organize recall operations in the chain?
Enterprise Dynamics® solutions
Simulation tools, applications or systems have proven to be very suitable for performing these kinds of simulation analyses on the required level of detail. Simulation solutions on a strategic level have been used to take decisions about chain design. At a more detailed level improvement of manufacturing flow and physical distribution are realized.
Enterprise Dynamics® is applied successfully to simulate distribution networks and solve location problems. Other Enterprise Dynamics® solutions concern simulation of the demand and supply variation in the chain and have succeeded in improving inventory management and lead time reduction drastically.
Together with the experience and knowledge INCONTROL gathered within the supply chain market, Enterprise Dynamics® really contributes to optimizing goods flow and return flows in supply chains.
Please visit the Enterprise Dynamics® product page for full information. Contact us to find out how you can benefit from the use of Enterprise Dynamics®.
If there is one area where simulation is well applicable, it is automated material handling systems. Simulation with Enterprise Dynamics® has proven its value in this field numerous times. The underlying question within this market is often the estimation of the Return of Investment (ROI) for the automated handling systems. It generally concerns a tradeoff between preserving a manual operation and investing in automation of the handling. Other considerations may be the comparison between several options for automating the material handling.
The tradeoffs regard of course financial consequences – investment costs versus reduction of FTE’s – but also logistical aspects, such as the required flexibility in routings, peak capacities, availability and reliability.
Material Handling Simulation
Simulation systems or applications for those goals are constructed with elements representing different types of conveyor systems, DCV systems, overhead cranes, sorters, robots, AGV’s and many other ready to use modeling blocks. The characteristics and control rules are then customized to make them representative for the handling equipment in the actual or proposed situation.
The performance indicators measured in simulation models of automated material handling systems include achievable throughputs, lead times over the various trajectories and the results of queuing effects in the system. Furthermore, an important result of models can be the determination of the degree of system redundancy.
Enterprise Dynamics® is applied for modeling automated handling systems in industrial environments, distribution centers and airport baggage systems. Besides, several manufacturers of automated material handling systems use the software as a service to prove the system functionality to their customers.
The experience of projects within the different field of applications and knowledge of the INCONTROL developers and engineers are used for the ongoing development of the software. Together with the expertise and network of INCONTROL, Enterprise Dynamics® offers the flexibility for successful simulation projects in every market. With decades of automated material handling systems experience and knowledge, Enterprise Dynamics® has proven to be the best solution for various important themes within this market.
Many warehouses are already optimized by using simulation. On an abstract level as part of a supply chain, but also in detail as single entities. The function of warehouses are generally to store products, compose client specific orders and prepare shipments. Therefore, simulation studies focusing on optimization of operations concern for example:
- Optimizing storage locations and methods.
- Improving order picking strategies.
- Defining time windows for inbound processes, goods replenishment and outbound processes.
- Outsourcing to specialized 3PL providers.
Efficient warehouse operation
A recurring question is the challenge to achieve a most efficient warehouse operation. In traditional warehouse operations this comprises the deployment of staff and transport equipment, including finding the optimal mix of the different truck types. In automated warehouses, 3D-simulation models can contribute to the selection of the appropriate order picking module, conveyor and sorting system or ASRS. Of course modern technologic developments like the rise of RFID or voice picking are also relevant for efficiency and reliability.
Integration with WMS
As many warehouses use a Warehouse Management System (WMS) for directing and tracking materials and for inventory management, these systems are a huge source of information. By linking this data or even integrating the software with simulation models the full data set can be used for the simulation studies.
Evaluate critical performance indicators
Increasingly companies decide to consider outsourcing of warehousing and distribution functions to third party logistics providers (3PL). In many cases, value-added services are part of the deal. So, these services do not only cover basic functions as storage, order composition and shipping, but also adaptations, tracking & tracing and even reverse logistics and repairs.
Enterprise Dynamics® can be used as an independent and fair means to evaluate such outsourcing decisions and judge the quality and value of the services. Critical performance indicators are of course the costs, but almost as important are customer service level, lead times and reliability.
The last 20 years Enterprise Dynamics® was successfully implemented at warehouses all over the world. The experience and knowledge of all projects are used for the ongoing development of the software. Therefore, Enterprise Dynamics® is the most innovative solution to analyze and optimize warehouses and distribution.
Manufacturing environments are traditionally the locations where value is added to products or materials. However, to create this economic value and convert it into long lasting profit, there are many challenges. First of all, there is the decision about investments for buildings, equipment and staff. Simulation can support the efficiency of these decisions by estimating the Return on Investment (ROI) under various, dynamic circumstances. The selection of the order fulfillment strategy (CODP), production techniques and raw materials are examples of variables in this consideration.
Besides these fixed costs in manufacturing, there are many variable costs, related to the number of products produced. The same simulation models can be used to develop a situation with improved efficiency and thus reducing the proportion of the fixed costs. A well-known indicator for the efficiency of equipment and staff is the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), which is also a commonly used performance indicator in simulation models.
Crucial influencing factors
Availability and breakdowns of equipment are strongly influencing factors, well worth studying improvements by simulation. Another crucial factor is planning. Both on tactical level (Rough-Cut Capacity Planning) and operational level (scheduling) simulation models are used to determine the yield of key planning factors like batching rules, changeover times, and balancing. Aspects that relate seamlessly to modern principles, such as Lean Manufacturing and Just-In-Time (JIT), which also focus on efficiency improvement, customer value and reduction of lead time and costs.
Total cost of ownership
Another trend is the attention for Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), a cost calculation method to determine direct and indirect costs of a product or system during its life cycle. As simulation models can cover long periods, deal with uncertainties and process dynamic, changing behavior over time, they are ideal for these TCO-calculations.
Integration with other IT-systems
As more and more information regarding the products, the processes and the orders is available in IT-environments, a huge gain in modeling effort is realized by integrating the simulation software with other software systems such as ERP, WMS and MES. Such integrations have been achieved very often with Enterprise Dynamics®, in order to perform studies about manufacturing environment improvements.
Through knowledge and experience of the past 20 years, INCONTROL can proudly say that Enterprise Dynamics® is the most innovative simulation solution to analyze and optimize processes within the manufacturing market.