Manufacturers are finding that the new normal is an increased need to quickly adapt. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruptions, Steve Sashihara and Patricia Randall of Princeton Consultants have reported on how they are using simulation modeling to help companies develop, optimize, and communicate new manufacturing policies.
Social distancing restrictions and remote working mean that companies have found themselves developing manufacturing policies through phone calls, online meetings, and shared documents. As a result, the existing processes for dealing with change in a company have also needed to adapt. Part of the solution provided by Princeton Consultants shows how simulation modeling in AnyLogic helps develop and optimize new policies as well as to communicate them – during both policy development and implementation. (You can find several examples related to the pandemic and work policies in our COVID-19 and simulation blog)
While the simulations can present manufacturing processes and their policies in an easily relatable way, underneath they use agent-based and discrete event modeling to rigorously evaluate policy suggestions. The aim is to find the optimal combination of parameters that best fulfil desired KPI, a search that may now also employ AI functionality.
Test with simulation
After capturing the physical and business constraints of a system, such as the layout of a facility, infection rates, and the minimum amount of work, the controllable parameters can be tested against varying different scenarios by running experiments multiple times. Simulations can account for randomness and the way entities interact meaning that they can produce more realistic results than working from Excel spreadsheets and intuition. Moreover, they provide a way to test ideas and analyze the results.
You can learn about Princeton Consultants’ work with a food manufacturer and how they introduce simulation modeling for process policy development and optimization in their blog.
Find out more about how simulation modeling has been applied to the challenges of the pandemic in our related blogs, cloud models, and webinars:
- Hybrid Dynamic Models in COVID-19 Planning and Beyond
- COVID-19 and Simulation [demo models]
- COVID 19: The Good, the Bad and the Agent Based Model
- Early insight into Coronavirus spread in China
If you are currently working remotely and using or learning AnyLogic, you may find these resources useful.