A Simple Software Tool for Simulating Production Lines
Production KPIs like throughput, flow, WIP and lead times depend on resource capacities, changeover times, transfer batch sizes and process time variation and allowed inventory limits at work stations. By observing the dynamic nature of production on shop floor, one cannot see easily, clearly and quickly how the latter will effect production KPIs. FlowshopSim is a simple and elegant software tool for simulating production lines with or without animation for this purpose. It runs discrete event Monte Carlo simulation of production lines. It can also be used to simulate a production line for comparing the performance of Push, Pull and CONWIP control methods on the line.
Observations and results of simulation of dynamic production will provide some knowledge of production. FlowshopSim provides additional knowledge through chart views of how products have flown through the system and how resources have worked over time (in simulation exercise). These graphical views which resemble Gantt chart enable us to have a comprehensive knowledge of the dynamic nature of production.
Advantages of FlowshopSim
FlowshopSim provides many advantages including the following:
- The users can simulate and analyze a production line, gain valuable knowledge of its dynamic nature easily, quickly and effortlessly with no expertise or training in Monte Carlo simulation.
- They can easily understand how resource capacities, changeover times, transfer batch sizes and process time variation and allowed inventory limits at work stations can affect production KPIs.
- FlowshopSim reveals how temporary bottlenecks form and inventories at work stations fluctuate over time due to these factors.
- FlowshopSim reveals how resources are used at work stations over time.
- FlowshopSim provides a few charts similar to Gantt chart for innovatively displaying simulation results, particularly the trace of simulation. These charts provide highly effective visualization of how product have flown over time in production simulation.
- The users do a lot of what-if analysis with respect to the influencing factors and determine their optimal levels.
- The users can also simulate one piece flow (without in-process waiting) for any given process times at work stations even for a sequence of different products.
- The users can compare the performance of various control methods like Pull, Push and CONWIP using FlowshopSim.
Target Users of FlowshopSim
FlowshopSim is mainly developed for production engineers and managers. They can run production line simulations easily, quickly and effortlessly without having formal knowledge of discrete event Monte Carlo simulation. They just need to feed FlowshopSim with required production data and modify the data for simulation experiments on a production line.
FlowshopSim is also very useful to participants in workshops on Lean and academic classes on Lean, production systems, industrial engineering and operations management.
Free Educational Version of FlowshopSim
An educational version of FlowshopSim is freely available on request. It comes with a built-in example consisting of 8 work stations, 15 distinct products and 3 alternative resources at each work station. Its users can modify input data without exceeding 8 work stations, 15 distinct products and 3 resources at each work station.
The free, educational version of FlowshopSim is useful in training programs on lean manufacturing.
A YouTube Video
For a brief description of software functionality, watch our 9-minute YouTube video, FlowshopSim for Simulating Production Lines .
Reach us through our web page, Contact Us for a free copy of educational version of FlowshopSim.
We offer free copies of educational version of FlowshopSim.