Modelling & Big Data
Specialising in the process industry (food & beverage, sheet goods, solid & fluid packaging operations) means that we are often faced with systems that are so complicated and include so many interactions that it becomes impossible to optimise them using just a spreadsheet. In these circumstances, the only way to verify and improve performance is to model and monitor the system using specialist software.
We use in-house linear programming tools for network node location optimization and Automod 3D simulation software for factory and warehouse optimisation. This means we can confirm performance and productivity benefits of project proposals before committing to high-cost assets or people.
We can provide a cost effective modelling strategy for the following parts of a complex supply chain;
Factory Dynamic Modelling
Model a factory or production line to identify buffer requirements or points of highest performance leverage before committing to expensive assets or costly improvement resources.
Use data to monitor the performance of different parts of your supply chain. Compare monitored performance with modelled performance to optimise. Overlay machine learning to warn of potential system changes.
Network Optimization is a proven and powerful technique for determining the optimal structure of the supply chain network to minimize cost, maximize profit, and trade-off the various resources within the supply chain network to achieve your strategic objectives.
We can create a stand alone mixed integer linear programming model to find the optimal position of nodes (such as factories and warehouses).
Warehouse & Logistics Dynamic Modelling
Warehouses can include very complicated interactions between material handling equipment such as conveyors, robots, and forklifts. In these situations the cost of running a warehouse facility is determined by the way employees (such as pickers or forklift drivers) interact with the equipment.
Often the only way to identify optimum layout and minimise running costs is to model the warehouse system using a computer model.
We can use Automod 3D modelling software to model a warehouse system and show what-if scenarios for different equipment and employee configurations.
Sometimes a business must consider options for reconfiguring a supply system and this redesign often involves changing the location of manufacturing facilities or warehouses relative to customers.
Small differences in location may constitute large changes in cost and time and this can have a huge impact on total Cost-To-Serve and customer service. Often, the only way to demonstrate this properly is to construct a simulation model showing truck movements.
We can use the Automod 3D modelling software to simulate truck movements for different warehouse and supply facility location alternatives.
Factory Dynamic Modelling
Sometimes buffers (such as conveyors, tanks and silos) are required to create a particular operating and performance outcome for a factory. In these situations it is important to ensure that buffer sizing and location is as accurate and streamlined as possible to minimise asset costs while achieving the business outcome.
Also existing high speed, high technology production lines consist of a series of workstations with differing equipment capacities, buffer sizes and buffer positions. This can make it difficult to identify the most powerful performance leverage points in a line.
In these situations, we use Automod 3D simulation software to dynamically model a process so that performance and productivity benefits can be confirmed before committing cash or resources.
Using dynamic factory modelling we can;
- Identify constraints and performance opportunities within complicated flow-line operations.
- Define optimum buffer levels between processes.
- Determine constraints caused by resources such as forklifts or employees.
- Enable design verification prior to capital expenditures.
- Enhance decision making, particularly in relation to buffers.
- Reduce the risk of costly design mistakes by running what-if scenarios.
Monitoring operations across many sites and processes can be difficult. There are 4 issues that make this a challenge:
- the quality of data can vary from one site to another.
- the way that metrics are calculated is at the mercy of different interpretations for each site
- metrics (such as OEE) are difficult to relate to business outcomes
- solutions usually require a large, all-or-nothing, capital outlay
We have developed a method of performance monitoring that overcomes these issues and requires, on average, less than 4 inputs for each product run.
Information from this monitoring system can be used to:
- compare modelled performance with monitored performance and so identify opportunities for improvement
- compare different sites and processes using like-for-like metrics
Big Data Management
A powerful question asked by many Supply Directors, Operations Directors and Plant Managers is;
“How do I visualise the massive amounts of data in my supply chain so that it can be used for the most important decisions?”
Since starting business in 2010 we have made it our quest to answer this question in an elegant yet powerful way! Watch this short, 7 minute video for a brief demonstration of how we do it.