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Systems Modelling

Lecture –03


A Situation Summary
Approaches for Describing A Relevant System
System Models
Influence Diagrams
Quantitative Modelling

Systems Modeling
• We will apply the systems concepts and thinking discussed
before to a real-life problematic situation
• Define a relevant system for it.
• Several cases –problematic situations discussed
• System modelling: The process of conceptualizing a system of
• This involves two steps: Describing a problem situation and a
relevant system

A Situation Summary • The first step when approaching a problem situation is to familiarize yourself with: – the situation – Its processes and structures – The people involved – Their aims and desires – Relationship between them – The hierarchy or power structure – The resources available – The data sources and information .

A Problem Situation • To get a “ feel” for anything you discovered and seems relevant for describing the problem situation. • Rich Picture Diagram is a useful tool for describing a problem situation .

Rich Picture Diagram • A cartoon-like summary of everything the observer knows about the situation studied • Diagram or concept -is not a system description • Only one approach of making a situation summary .


Rich Picture: A Piece of Sky is Missing • • • • • Problematic Situation The person looking at the situation The structural elements The process elements The relationships between structure and process .

The Socio-Technical Model [Leavitt (1964)]. Structure Technology (tools) Task People (actors) .


Rich Picture Diagram • Guidelines: • Elements of structure (All components of the situation are relatively stable -e. all physical aspects) • Elements of process (All aspects that undergo change -e..g.. activities. flow and processing of materials) • Relationship between structure and process and between process (how does the structure affect condition of process. one process affects other processes) .g.

Rich Picture Diagram • For human activity systems: A rich picture should be included hard facts and soft facts. • The rich picture is never finished • Common mistake: Each item pictured needs to be connected one or more other items (Note that rich picture is not a system description) • The uses of rich picture: An ideal vehicle for communicating with other people about complex and problematic situation .

Approaches for describing a relevant system • A system description consists in specifying the transformation process(es) of the system the boundary of the system the components and subsystems and the structure the inputs and the outputs (desired & undesired outputs) • Two Approaches for describing a relevant system: – Structural Approach – Process Approach .

Structural Approach • A typical structure usually found for situation considered.g. • The situation is well understood • Using a known basic structure allows fast progress toward a complete system description .. e. a waiting line structure.

inputs and outputs of the system. . • Rules help in identifying the components.Process Approach • No assumption about the possible system structure • The observed processes and relationships are used to discover a good structure • A good starting point is to determine from whose standpoint to view the system and then define the prime transformation process.

is an input from the environment system.Rules • Any aspect that affects the systems. but turn does not affected any other aspect of the system. • Any aspect that is directly or indirectly affected or controlled by the system. This covers all external controls. . is a system output. but in turn is not significantly affected by it.

or is not affected by it. if the system or any of its components affects an entity or exercises control over it. Similarly. or not part of its structure or transformation process is irrelevant. unless it is an output of the system.• Any entity that is either part of the system’s structure or its transformation process(es) is a component of the system. then that entity is a component. and can be ignored . unless it is a system output. • Any aspect that does not affect the system.

symbolic. . or analogous • Symbolic Models: – Representation of the relationships between various entities or concept by means of symbols. • A model may be iconic.System Models • The activity of building a model is referred to as systems modeling.

et.Mathematical Models • Relationships between various entities are expressed in the form of mathematical expressions: – Function. (1990)] –Optimal Production . – Equation. and – Inequalities • Example: Case Study C [


Case 1: The Ozone Hole • A system for how the ozone layer in the stratosphere is gradually destroyed through the continued release of CFSs into the atmosphere. allowing a greater fraction of the sun’s uv-rays to reach the earth’s surface. • Input: • Process: • Component • Structure: • Output: .


Case 2: Lubricating Oil Division (LOD) • • • • A situation summary Identifying the problem A system relevant Influence diagram .


The Narrow System:[LOD] • A system for the replenishment and stock control of packaged finished goods which keeps the total operating costs for the LOD as low as possible while maintaining the current level of customer service .

rules to meet big and small customer orders • Use the Process Approach .Relevant System:[LOD] • To use the typical inventory/production control structure for defining the system • But the problem situation includes aspects not normally found in such a structure –e.g.

• What type of control –open loop control (the customer order classification –input to the system) .Relevant System:[LOD] • Big customer order is met by scheduling a special production run (is it outside the narrow system ?) • This aspect affects the inventory/production control system of LOD • Cutoff point is considered as one of the two decision variables.

component of the system • Two potential inputs –breakdown in the operation of the refinery and production capacities.Identifying the system aspects • See Table 5-1. process. • The easiest way is to start out by listing – – – – The control inputs The performance outputs Any other system outputs. are ignored (why?) . Then followed by structure.

• Depicts the influence relationship – Between the inputs into a system and its component (the system variables) – Between the component of the system. and – Between the component and the outputs of the system.Influence Diagrams (ID) • Insightful for bringing out the transformation process of the system – in term of the structural and causal relationships between systems components. including performance measures (these influence relationship can usually be measured in quantitative terms) .

. the customer order pattern (an input) & cutoff point (a decision) determine order patterns (met from stock or special production run) • Each customer order pattern determines the annual volume by spec-prod-run (AVPR) or annual volume met from stock (AVS).Approach To Draw An ID • Control and other inputs  State variables  System outputs (in a logical sequence) • For example.

. and so forth.Approach To Draw An ID • AVPR the annual number of setups • Together with the cost of production setup the annual setup cost for special production run.


Figure 5-1: OR/MS methodology F O R M U L A T I O N 1 Summarizing problem situation Identifying problem for analysis FORWARD LINKAGES 2 3 Decribing relevant system PROJECT PROPOSAL Building a mathematical 1 model M O D E L I N G 4 5 Finding preferred solution Validation & performance testing 6 7 Analyzing sensitivity of solution I M P L E M E N T A T O N PROJECT REPORT Planning Implementatio n 8 Establishing control over solution 9 Implementing solution 10 DOCUMENTATION & USER'S MANUAL 11 Following up solution use BACKWARD LINKAGES SOLUTION AUDIT .