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Simulation and Modelling 2 Problem Formulation

1. 2. 3. 4. Introduction Formal Problem Statement Orientation Project Objectives

1. Introduction
Goal: understanding what is to be accomplished by performing the study. The activities:
1. A formal problem statement 2. Orientation of the system 3. Establishment of specific project objectives

2. Formal Problem Statement

Provide both the practitioner and the potential audience with a clearly understandable high-level justification for the simulation.
Increasing customer satisfaction Increasing throughput Reducing waste Reducing work in progress

The goal including:

1. 2. 3. 4.

Increasing Customer Satisfaction

Increasing customer satisfaction is of fundamental interest in any system involving service operations. This type of system typically includes waiting or processing queues. Reductions in queue time usually result in increased customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction may also involve delivering products when promised. Reductions in the number of tardy jobs will reduce operating costs associated with the loss of goodwill and will increase customer satisfaction.

Increasing Throughput
Increasing throughput involves the amount of products or number of jobs that can be processed over a given period of time. This can involve the elimination or improvement of different process operations. It can also include the identification and redesign of bottleneck processes.

Reducing Waste
Reducing waste results in reduced operating costs and increased net profits. Waste can be reduced through reductions in spoilage and obsolescence. Spoilage can involve processes that are time and temperature critical. Obsolescence waste can result from an organizations inability to bring its product to the market on time.

Reducing Work in Progress

Work in progress is work that requires further processing for completion. Work in progress is commonly found in processes that require multiple discrete operations. Work in progress typically requires storage before the next process can be carried out. Reducing work in progress reduces process costs associated with resource capacity and storage requirements. Large amounts of work in progress can result from insufficient resource capacity or poor operating policies. Reducing work in progress can decrease the space needed for manufacturing or distribution facilities.

Tools for Developing the Problem Statement

Fishbone/Cause-Effect/Ishikawa Chart
The Fishbone chart is also known as the cause-and-effect diagram, manmachinematerial chart, and as the Isikawa chart (Suzaki, 1987). The purpose of this chart is to identify the cause of the problem oreffect of interest.

Pareto Chart
The Pareto chart is a second technique to help the practitioner to develop the problem statement. It may turn out that there are several sources or causes of the problem or problems of interest. This is frequently referred to as the 8020 rule: 80% of the problem is caused by 20% of the factors.

Fishbone Chart


Pareto Chart


7 Basic Quality Control Tools

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Histogram Pareto Chart Check Sheet Control Chart Flow Chart Fishbone/Cause-Effect/Ishikawa Chart Scatter Plot



Check Sheet


Control Chart


Flow Chart


Scatter Plot


3. Orientation
Goal: The practitioners familiarizing himself or herself with the system. Orientation Process/Types:
1. Initial orientation visit 2. Detailed flow orientation visit 3. Review orientation visit


Initial Orientation Visit

Goal: To obtain a high-level understanding of the basic inputs and outputs of the system. It is important not to attempt to understand too much detail of the system in the initial visit. After the initial orientation visit, the practitioner should immediately reflect on the major components of the process while recollection of the visit is still fresh.


Detailed Flow Orientation Visit

Goal: An understanding of how the system operates. The practitioner should make detailed notes on the system operation by recording:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The types of entities that are processed by the system The number and type of queues The number and type of system resources The sequence of processes as experienced by the entities How the system performance can be measured


Review Orientation Visit

Goal: To ensure that the understanding of the system operation is consistent with the practitioners understanding of the system and/or flow chart.


Tools for The Orientation

High degree of access to the system. Recording devices:
1. 2. 3. 4. Digital camera (pictures, photos) Camcorder (video) Tape recorder, mini recorder (sounds) Computer activity recorder


4. Project Objectives
Project objectives are dynamic. Common project objectives may involve
1. 2. 3. 4. Performance-related operating policies Performance-related resources policies Cost-related resource policies Equipment capabilities evaluation


Decision-Making Tools for Determining Project Objectives

Brainstorming: to generate a storm of ideas
Brainstorming preparation Brainstorming process Electronic brainstorming (email, chat, forum, etc.)

Nominal group technique

Al of the participants have the opportunity to vote on what they believe is the most important project objective. All of the participants are given an equal number of vote to cast.

Delphi process
Serves the same function as the nominal group technique. All voting is conducted anonymously after the brainstorming session has concluded. The administrator distributes a list of all of the brainstorming ideas. The participants then vote for a particular idea. At the end, the administrator retains only a set of the most popular ideas.