Simulation of a supply network
Transparency in the supply chain
Some experts believe that approximately 80% of the cost of a supply chain depends on the geographical location of suppliers, production sites and warehouses and the optimal flow of materials between these sites.
However, existing supply chains are often the result of a historically evolved supply structure combined with complex products such as those found in the automotive or mechanical engineering industries. The complex dynamic relationships within a supply chain essentially result from a high number of suppliers, the different delivery behaviour (e.g. order cycles, quantities, delivery times), the supply network (transport routes, destinations, warehouses, etc.) as well as the ordering behaviour of the end customer (e.g. product characteristics, quantity, time).
The optimization of these chains is usually based on partial aspects, such as transport costs or delivery times within individual subchains. The effects of changes, especially on other parts of the supply chain, often only become apparent long after they have been implemented and then make expensive consequential changes necessary.
It is therefore crucial to create transparency within a supply chain with regard to all dynamic relationships in order to enable an overall assessment and optimisation of the supply chain.
Tools create clarity
The software applications of the SimChain toolset enable SimPlan to create a digital twin of a supply chain in the computer, with which a well-founded investigation of concrete measures and the evaluation of their effects is possible.
In addition to the analysis of structural bottlenecks, the behavior can also be examined under consideration of dynamic influencing variables (disturbances, fluctuating capacities, flexible retrieval behavior, etc.). Alternatives can be compared and evaluated in detail.
The evaluation of simulation results is very closely oriented to the key figures valid for the supply chain, such as delivery time, delivery reliability, change flexibility and, of course, costs. The structure of a corresponding key figure system in the simulation model can be oriented to the real system or even designed and tested with the help of the simulation.
The SimChain toolset consists of the following software applications:
- KNIME, an ETL software (ETL: Extraction, Transformation, Loading) for the analysis and transformation of supply chain data into a readable format for optimization or simulation;
- A Python working environment, if complex data analyses and transformations are to be carried out that cannot be represented with the ETL software;
- anyLogistix, software from AnyLogic Company for the design and simulation of supply chains;
- SimChain-BSK, a self-developed module library based on Plant Simulation for the design and simulation of supply chains.
The service offered by SimPlan has the advantage that the customer requires no software or simulation skills whatsoever. The scope of the SimPlan service extends from analysis of the supply chain through documentation of the process and development of the key figure system to generation of the simulation model and conduct of experiments.
The result of the analysis is a quantitative evaluation of improvement measures for the supply chain, whose economic efficiency is defined for example in the form of business cases, as well as a concrete recommendation for implementation. On request SimPlan will also support the customer during the implementation phase.