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Desktop Client: How is iGrafx simulation different than Excel-based analysis?

This article applies to iGrafx Process and iGrafx Process for Six Sigma Client tools

Two of the iGrafx client applications offer you Discrete Event Simulation (DES) functionality; iGrafx Process and Process for Six Sigma.

The advantage of DES is that you can understand actual constraints (bottlenecks) at given Full-Time Equivalent (FTE, or resource) levels, which is impossible to predict w/Excel. You can also understand how well utilized the resources are, costs (idle costs, cost per piece), etc.

The dynamic analysis that DES allows, which is not possible in a static analysis (deterministic or stochastic) like Excel, includes:

  • Analysis of resource contention between multiple process activities
  • Analysis of labor rules for resources, e.g. hand-offs, waiting when multiple resources are required but not all available, and overtime rules
  • Resource sharing between swimlanes (mono or bi-directional) as dictated by the workload in a swimlane at a particular elapsed time
  • The effects of queuing work. This is especially important when transactions that represent different product or services are represented.
  • The use of queuing rules ? FIFO, LIFO, priorities, preempting, other sorting rules
  • Routing by transaction attributes (product or SKU type, length of time of processing, resource, equipment or process selection based on an attribute of a transaction and/or by the current state of the resource or process step)
  • Machine (or other process) change-overs driven by the dynamic arrivals of transactions carrying different attributes with drive set-ups or changes overs. How these transactions arrive and affect the process cannot be analyzed in a static model. This highlights the importance of rules for holding or queuing work based transaction attributes. 
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