The day-to-day functioning of companies are influenced by series of more or less important logistic decisions. Often thoroughly analyzed, consulted and opinionated by specialist, and sometimes employees, too. Each company has its own flow and internal rules for implementing solutions. Different mechanism can bring different solutions, depending on the conditions. It’s good to remember that each and every one of these decisions are like lubricant on which it depends whether the logistic chain will creak or not. Logistics simulations are the safest and the most effective way of testing possible solutions and decision-making in the areas of production and transports of goods.
What a logistics simulation is exactly?
To sum up, a simulation of a logistics project is a kind of experiment carried out in a safe – virtual environment. This environment is accurately mapped, based on the model of the real system functioning in the company. Working on a model created with the help of specialized software allows us to test a number of solutions and optimization proposals, in detachment from the real supply chain. In virtual reality, we reproduce, taking into account as many important factors as possible – the areas of production, storage and services, then we check how various changes in the configuration can improve processes. We analyze the results, draw conclusions, show solutions. All without interfering with ongoing processes.
Efficient, faster, saferInefficient management of supply chain is a problem that can exist even in the largest companies. It can be invisible when we are looking at individual links, but it affect the overall result of the company. Delays in production and transport, distortions in demand forecasting, inventory management, these are the areas that may bring potential losses. If you are an entrepreneur supervising logistics processes then you are interested in specific and useful information that can be provided. Virtual environment allows you to test different solutions with various combinations of factors. By analyzing simulation in such an environment one can quickly find the links that are in need of improvement. Introducing changes simulated earlier with a positive result in the real supply chain will have a positive effect on:
- cost reduction (understood as a labor and resources)
- increasing safety
- increasing performance and quality
Simulation of a logistics system is in itself a fast and effective process. Depending on the level of complexity of the system, the company lasts from one to several days and consists of the following stages:
We enter into the simulation program data obtained from customers about the logistics system of their company. Production and warehouse space, number of employees, production rate etc. Based on this information, the software creates a faithful representation of the real logistics chain on which we can run tests.
By having a complete virtual model at our disposal we can check how various optimization solutions, such as robotization of internal transport, will work in a given environment.
Thanks to the simulation tools we get a thorough cost-effectiveness analysis of various variants. We synthesize the information obtained, creating a rich report presenting recommended development directions. The report prepared in this way can be used both to make changes in the existing system and to verify the assumptions of a new logistics project.
increasing performance and quality.
Software for logistics simulation
To create the simulations we use creative software FlexSim. It creates legible and readable 3D visualizations that helps in better understanding the course of logistics processes in the company. When all links in the supply chain – production, halls, warehouses and transport units – can be observed on the screen then it’s easier to understand whole of this delicate mechanism. The visual simulation facilitates the introduction of infrastructures changes, it provide the analyst of data and logistics to the technical aspect of whole process.
What potential logistics problems can be eliminated by the simulation?
One of the most common problem reducing the quality of logistic processes is the overburdening of the staff and equipment. Simulation will show us the areas of problems occurrence and will provide us with solutions in the form of new task divisions and automation possibilities. It will pay attention to links that may be overlooked at the managerial level on a daily basis.
Enterprises that dependent on complex logistics processes pays a lot of attention to, such as, external transport – tracking the delivery fleet, determining optimal routes and the human factor, i.e. drivers. The key issue in internal transport or unloading speed may be marginalized. These are just some examples of the system’s parts that can be improved by simulation in our program.
Realistic logistics solutions for companies
Let’s take a closer look at previously mentioned internal transport. We understand the internal transport in the supply chain as the supply of materials to production lines, the transport of semi-finished products between production stages and finished products between the production hall and the warehouse or place of loading. In this seemingly secondary area of the company’s operations, many decisions are made that affect all the logistics. For example: what routes are used by vehicles delivering goods within the company’s grounds.
It’s worth to consider whether these paths can be optimized. And also, whether it is better to use storage space to ease movement between its sectors. The most commonly used means of internal transport in companies are forklifts and pallet stackers for larger product batches. In many logistics systems, however, AGV robots work quite well, which solve both the overload of staff and the speed of internal transport.
Why we should use the simulation?
Let’s go back to the cycling analogy – we can conclude that testing these potentially very efficient solutions in the company’s real logistics system will be like lubricating the chain while driving at full speed. Either it will require stopping or it’ll end up in breaking. Logistic simulation is a safe alternative to these two possibilities. Let’s use the example of autonomous carts in internal transport again. The simulation will answer in advance the questions, how many and what types of robots will the company need in order to carry out the tasks in the most efficient way without having to test anything “on a living body”. The goal of the simulation is one and the same in every area of the company’s operation. Maximizing efficiency while minimizing expenses.