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Dissertation data gathering help/advice on simulation

by durhabre / July 17, 2013 3:30 AM PDT

Hi guys,

I'm new to this this forum so I'm not fully sure about what I can and cannot do or ask.

I am a Master's student doing my dissertation that involves gathering professionals views and opinions on business process simulation use.
It will involve me giving qualitative questionnaires for professionals who use or have used simulation software to answer.
My problems is finding professionals

Would anyone one here be open answering a questionnaire?
Or possibly point me in the right direction?

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All Answers

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I would not do that but
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2013 3:37 AM PDT

As I have done such work before, you find that process simulation rarely is the answer to production issues or cost reduction.

My involvement in production uses a lot of time honored practices to streamline and reduce costs so my question to you is why do you think this simulation would help?

Why I ask is that in the decades of our efforts, not once did a simulator add value but did result in a lot of lost time feeding the team that ran and tried to get results from said simulations.


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PS. Systems have their place. Second place.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2013 3:54 AM PDT

I didn't reveal all but long ago I learned about Tom Peters, the speed is everything guy and I see he has a lot of free stuff at

I think by now you understand that I've yet to see such a software pay off. And this coming from someone that has used circuit analysis software for decades. That works, but what you asked about has a place.

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exploring views, reasons, etc
by durhabre / July 17, 2013 6:16 AM PDT

The aim of my dissertation is purely to garner professionals' views to identify key factors the influence simulation use or non-use. A similar survey was done in 1999 and I wanted to see, with time and technological advances, if views have changed.

My dissertation is not limited to production only, it can be the use of simulation software in other fields too, sales or procurement perhaps. As long as it is used for business processes.

Your views are exactly what I'm looking for.

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By the way.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2013 6:24 AM PDT

Do you consider Timeline software (there are so many, Project and such) to be simulation?

I know we used such in the past but let me put you to a small test. It's really small.

Let's say you have tasks that each one has no interdependency but some are much longer than the others. You have multiple people or systems to process each task or process.

This one is a basic maximize the throughput of the work along with a longer discussion about how to jostle the jobs later.

Which jobs do you start first?

PS. No optimizer software was ever needed for this yet you will find folk lose time putting this into MS Project before they find the answer.

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PS. Been through many concepts over the years.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 17, 2013 6:32 AM PDT
In reply to: By the way.

6-sigma, CMI, Theory-Z (and the various others), Dr. Edward Deming's nice works, 10-sigma (rather interesting idea when 6-sigma didn't pay off), but what did work was and this is a tip of the hat and thanks to him, Tom Peters' works I could go on and on, but if you ever find a new manager that was to simulate their way out of a problem you know what to look for next.

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timeline and task
by durhabre / July 17, 2013 9:57 PM PDT
In reply to: By the way.

From my experience of Project (which is admittedly basic) I don't think I would consider it be simulation. I would presume simulation to be a bit more dynamic than something like Project. Wouldn't something like project just give you a basic overview of any plan or process?

Task: To maximise throughput you would attempt to put tasks that rely on the same workers in series while the other jobs would work in parallel. As for which job starts first, after taking the above into consideration you would create a the shortest series' possible?

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Actually the project and timeline
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2013 1:04 AM PDT
In reply to: timeline and task

Is a tool to see where the extra gaps, delays and where you can move tasks around so it is indeed dynamic. I've yet to see a computer do a better job since you can't program in "Alice doesn't work well with Peter" or other human variables.

As to the question I put up, it's an old question, probably over a century or more one. It's answer is simpler than you think.

Put the longest tasks first then proceed from longest to shortest. If you have a faster milling machine, it gets the longest task first but that's a variation on the original question.

I hope your classes covered the classics like this one.

Another reason to start on the longest is that you can then go back to planning the following tasks while the work is underway. There are some that feel you must plan before you begin the work. Those folk tend to cost the companies they work for dearly.

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bendy1. No surveys in this forum.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 8, 2013 4:10 AM PDT

Your post is gone as survey spam.

If you want to discuss this area, I'm ready. My background includes doing this work of transition to production, product cost reductions and of course, new product development of both software and hardware.

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that's a shame
by bendy1 / September 9, 2013 5:51 AM PDT

Thank you, that would be good.
How does tomorrow around this time sound? or whatever time would be handy for you?
If you let me know what time zone too that would be great because I live in London, UK

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The CNET forums are open 24x7 almost 100% of the time.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 9, 2013 5:53 AM PDT
In reply to: that's a shame

Top post and I'll respond.

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by bendy1 / September 10, 2013 5:51 AM PDT

Hi Bob,

Well first of all i'm trying to find out what occupation or occupational sector people who use simulation have/belong to and what simulation software they have used.

They also have a mixed level of experience with it. I had broken the question down into Used once, Used 1 - 5 times, Used 6+ times or Use on an on going basis

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In electronic designs
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 10, 2013 6:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Cheers

I use and used simulation to predict circuit behavior, correctness, power dissipation and more.

More along the production bent we would use a Monte Carlo simulation to see how the design and tolerances would affect yield. The better simulation would highlight where you could relax tolerances as well as troublesome areas when a tighter tolerance would result in higher yields.

Even today, a 1% tolerance part costs more than a 5% or 10% tolerance.

-> That's just circuit simulation.

Later on the production area we would experiment with push or pull methods in the line, JIT in parts or assemblies and you could always spot the areas by the old fashioned method of stopwatches and counting the number of steps folk took from one station to the next.

Engineering, production is a big topic and as I'm worked both areas I can write that simulation software is not the only answer. It can help, but those that forget the basics are going to repeat the past lessons.

To be more precise. If the designer of the process thinks they can simulate their way to a first time hit, they need to read about making pottery. Here's the link on that.


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nice analogy!
by bendy1 / September 10, 2013 6:39 AM PDT
In reply to: In electronic designs

thank you for the insights. It will also help with other parts of my research too

It would be interesting to know what the benefits you see of simulation and its challenges too
You've answered a bit about this in the various posts above but I thought it might be helpful to focus them too.

If you've used non-simulation tools and techniques what are the advantages each have over the other (specifically about the tools/techniques you have used)? and if you had to choose, which would you choose?

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I'll reply longer later.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 10, 2013 6:48 AM PDT
In reply to: nice analogy!

But the one thing about solutions is you never restrict your choices. Only your management types will seek the single solution or magic bullet solution.

Sometimes your management is best kept on airplanes and meetings.
More later,

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Back to the top. First we have to define "business process"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 11, 2013 3:12 AM PDT

As the businesses I have been in consider the process to be design, production and optimizing of those processes I write from that perspective.

The use of simulation software is applied where needed and so far, not something you can count on using during the business process from design creation to the later stages of production, support and end of life.

So to sum it up, it's a huge topic but I've seen new interns think that a software simulation is required and that would be nice but by now you've figured out that most of the time there are the basics that we apply before we get to simulation. And then you have other factors such as will the company support you in building your simulation system. Sometimes there is nothing in the budget for that.

Huge topic!

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final questions
by bendy1 / September 14, 2013 6:30 AM PDT

Thank you for that.

I have one final set of questions. They are specific, closed questions so they're quick to answer!


1</b>. Which of these do you/have you used simulation for (choose all that apply):
- experimentation
- enhance communication/cooperation
- generate understanding
- cope with variability/dynamics
- organisational context
- staffing analysis

2. How would you rate the following aspects of simulation (choose from: Poor, Below average, Average, Above average, Excellent, Don't know)
- Easy of use
- Time consumption
- modelling capabilities
- simulation capabilities
- output analysis capabilities
- promotion of communication/ cooperation

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