9 Sep 2014 Visualize your future Distribution Center with simulation
Before purchasing an automobile, it makes sense to take it for a test drive. Likewise, before spending millions of dollars on a new distribution center, it makes sense to take it for a test run.
What is Simulation Software?
Simulation software is a new procedure used more and more, to test and visualize new warehousing projects. The simulation in fact helps identify weaknesses and inconsistencies of the warehouse design which wouldn’t always be obvious.
Simulation can also be used as a decision helper. You can decide between making modifications to your existing distribution center or the construction of a new one, and simulation helps you to be able to make the right decision. The simulation could show you the results of the two alternatives in order to measure advantages and disadvantages of each.
Simulation software allows you to:
- Evaluate the proposed new plant and its material handling systems design to ensure maximum throughput with minimal inventory throughout the process.
- Create an environmentally safe facility, with building layout, equipment placement, and operator interaction all designed to meet or exceed environmental and workplace safety standards.
- Test and analyze various options that would offer further improvements to meet increasing market demands before the building is built or renovated.
Simulation: An Efficient Tool for a Working Team
Simulation can become a strategic tool to generate ideas and improvements for a distribution center. Thanks to simulation and 3D animation, you can witness ideas become reality before ever physically modifying the warehouse. On the computer screen you are able to see the different solutions proposed. The simulation makes us realize how a simple modification can change the whole system.
Furthermore, simulation becomes an effective way of communication for the improvement of the distribution center. Verbal communication between people, departments, and shifts quite often becomes diluted through personal interpretation. A simulation video resolves this confusion by giving everyone exactly the same message. A simulation model enables you to show various conveyor alternatives by demonstrating how racks would be stored and retrieved. In one example, employee groups were able to configure a highly efficient automated plating rack storage and retrieval system. This added value would not be so easily achieved without simulation.
The necessity of exact data
The first rule in order to have an appropriate simulation is to always question oneself on the total process. It is of important to be sure that all results are consistent with both the applications and the context simulation. Too often people tend to believe that the data given by their computer is exact, however no simulation is 100 % reliable. An error in data or a misinterpretation could destroy all the effort you have put into it. The chances of success for a simulation are as good as the accuracy of data you have collected. Without the appropriate information, it is not recommended to simulate since the results will be erroneous, therefore unusable.
One of the greatest challenges that engineers face in building simulation models is to make assumptions that will simplify the model but at the same time include sufficient details to describe the real system. There are no rules to determine up to which degree a model can be simplified in order to make it useable. The simplification of a model relies above all on the simulation objectives. Nevertheless, it is important to use logical assumptions in order to create a useable model. To make assumptions on a model is an art more than a science.