Identify Your Project Goals and Scope

Identify Your Project Goals

The first step in creating a simulation model is to get clear and specific about the scope of your project and what goals you hope to accomplish by creating a simulation model. This section lists some common reasons why businesses begin simulation projects.

Solve a Specific Problem

Do you want to:

  • Calculate the risk or return on investment for a specific business decision?
  • Improve equipment utilization?
  • Reduce waiting time and queue sizes?
  • Improve throughput times?
  • Allocate resources more efficiently?
  • Eliminate stock-out (shortage) problems?
  • Minimize the negative effects of breakdowns?
  • Minimize the negative effects of rejects and waste?
  • Establish optimum batch sizes and part sequencing?
  • Resolve material handling issues?
  • Optimize prioritization and dispatching logic for goods and services?

Proof of Concept

Do you want to:

  • Successfully prove or pitch your solution to a problem to stakeholders and decision-makers?
  • Demonstrate new tool design and capabilities?
  • Study alternative investment ideas?

Gain In-Depth Understanding

Do you want to:

  • Get a better understanding of your current system?
  • Manage day-to-day operational decision making?
  • Study cost reduction plans?
  • Study the effect of setup times and tool changeovers?

Employee Training

Do you want to:

  • Train operators in overall system behavior?
  • Educate operators about job-related performance?

Define Your Scope

Next you should define the scope of your simulation project. The more you can narrow your scope, the better. Many people are tempted to create a simulation model of their entire business system, but this is generally not the best place to start. Unless you have a small, one-product business, modeling every single aspect of your business system will be too complicated and overwhelming.

At least in the beginning of your simulation project, try to focus on the aspects of your business system that are directly relevant to one specific product line or a typical customer's experience. Try to choose a product or service that covers all the basic processes in your business system. After you get more comfortable with the software and become more experienced with simulations in general, you can move on to modeling more complex aspects of your business system.

Only Include Essential Elements in Your Model

Keep in mind that you should only include those elements of your business system that are needed to answer the question or solve the problem that you identified earlier. As one FlexSim customer once said, "You don't need to model every single element of your business right down to the water cooler in the employee break room. Just keep it to the relevant elements. The best simulations are the ones that have a clear focus and eliminate any unnecessary details."