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Simul8 Blog | Michigan Simulation User Group

Simul8 Blog

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Updated: 1 hour 19 min ago

Releasing ICU bed capacity using simulation

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 09:58
Live webinar: Thursday July 6th, 11am (ET) / 4pm (BST)


In highly congested hospitals it may be common for patients to overstay at Intensive Care Units (ICU) due to blockages and imbalances in capacity.


Join the webinar and find out how “step-down beds” (also known as Level 2 beds), have become an increasingly popular and less expensive alternative to ICU beds to deal with this issue. Learn how the team at Ivey Business School were able to predict Level 2 bed needs for London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), a large university hospital in Canada.


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Categories: Simulation Blogs

Webinar: Testing Emergency Department improvements with simulation – a quality improvement perspective

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 05:21
Live webinar: Thursday June 8th, 11am (ET) / 4pm (BST)


Join the webinar on June 8th and learn how Vidant Duplin Hospital, in North Carolina, are using SIMUL8 to test improvements in the Emergency Department.


In this webinar, you’ll hear from Amanda Peterson, Process Improvement Coordinator and Raul Medina, Lean Six Sigma black belt and lead Process Improvement Coordinator as they discuss their respective projects.


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About the simulation projects

  1. Implementing a Pharmacy Technician into the Emergency Department for Collecting Medication Histories

Amanda Peterson was tasked with using SIMUL8 to investigate the feasibility of implementing a dedicated pharmacy technician into the Emergency Department to collect medication histories during peak hours.

Inaccurate medication histories present a serious safety concern for patients and health care organizations. Previous studies suggest that a little less than half of medication histories collected contain errors (e.g. incorrect dosage, omissions, etc.), of which, about a fifth have potential to cause the patient harm. National best practices for collecting medication histories have yet to be determined.

Because collecting an accurate account of a patient’s medication history may influence their treatment and provides the foundation for medication reconciliation, hospitals have been working to identify local best practices. Unfortunately, many of these interventions target large medical centers and teaching hospitals and may not be feasible for smaller, rural hospitals, such as Vidant Duplin Hospital.

2. Emergency Department Growth and LWOT (Left without Treatment) Rate

For this project, Raul Medina used SIMUL8 to determine how many additional patients the ED could handle without exceeding a 2% LWOT rate with existing staff and space.

Locally, rural hospitals have seen an increase in Emergency Department (ED) utilization over the past decade. Vidant Duplin Hospital is not only seeing an increase in the number of patients presenting to the ED, we are also seeing an increase in patient acuity.

As the number of ED visits and acuity increases, there is a risk of increasing the rate at which patients leave without treatment. The current national benchmarks for ED LWOT rate is less than or equal to 2%. Vidant Duplin Hospital has maintained a yearly LWOT rate of less than 2% for the last 3 years.


Find out more about using simulation in healthcare

Simulation enables healthcare systems and processes to be tested in a safe, virtual environment without risk to patients and staff – supporting organizations to make better decisions, improve systems of care and maximize resources.

Learn more


Categories: Simulation Blogs

Doing More with Less – Mastering Mixed-Model Assembly with Simulation

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:52
2017 blog header


Automotive simulation expert Brian Harrington explains why tools like SIMUL8 are key to the successful implementation and ongoing performance of mixed-model manufacturing systems. Watch the ‘Balancing Mixed-Model Assembly Lines with Simulation’ webinar for more details and learn about how SIMUL8 is used to design, launch, and improve automotive production programs.


Why is mixed-model assembly on the rise?

Today’s manufacturing lines are tasked with being more flexible to maximize profitability and efficiency. To help meet this challenge, many manufacturers now utilize mixed-model assembly. This is where a group of products are produced on the same assembly line, without long delays to change tooling.

Such assembly lines improve production flexibility, help meet the increasingly diverse needs of customers and reduce the duplication of costly resources.

It’s particularly prominent in the automotive industry, where the idea of a dedicated plant to manufacture one vehicle type is now a thing of the past. With advances in manufacturing tools and technology, today’s assembly plants are more capable of producing a family of vehicles.


“By 2017, Ford will increase its global flexible manufacturing to produce on average four different models at each plant around the world to allow for greater adaptability based on varying customer demand.”

Source: 100 Years of the Moving Assembly Line, Ford



What has led to the growth of automotive mixed-model manufacturing?

With vehicle programs costing billions of dollars to develop and launch, OEM manufacturers and suppliers are continually looking at ways to maximize efficiency to increase profitability.

The rise of mixed-model assembly can be attributed to a range of factors:

  • Shorterning vehicle development times: product and manufacturing engineers are facing increasingly shorter timescales to launch vehicle programs.

  • Increased, global competition: we are trying to beat an increasing range of competitors to market, with narrowing profit margins.

  • The need to exceed customer expectations: customers need to be satisfied by delivering high-quality products, within a reasonable time after placing their order.

  • Being flexible to changing customer demands: producing a family of products is key to satisfying the changing needs of customers, as well as meeting the increasing desire for mass vehicle customization options.


Implementing flexible manufacturing successfully using simulation

When we look at manufacturing multiple vehicles in one facility, there can be conflicting objectives:

  • We are trying to cut costs
  • We want to reduce the overall time to market
  • We are aiming to produce the highest quality product possible

As you can see, manufacturers are really tasked with doing much more for less. These competing objectives are often why simulation tools like SIMUL8 are utilized as they provide the evidence needed to reduce risk when implementing effective mixed-model manufacturing facilities.

Although mixed-model assembly has many advantages, it can increase the complexity of plant layout, logistics, and material flow. Simulation provides us with the means to prototype and test these elements to ensure that a plant has the capability to optimize inventory levels, lead times and resource utilization.

Conflicting objectives


5 ways simulation can support mixed-model manufacturing planning

Discrete event simulation is a computer-based model that mimics the operation of any real or proposed system. Software like SIMUL8 enables you to easily visualize manufacturing processes. You can then quickly measure, test and experiment with any changes to your processes in a cost-effective, risk-free environment.

With the added ability to import our real-life assembly line data, simulation allows us to accurately model all the considerations, complexities, and variance involved in mixed model assembly, including:


1. Identifying and optimizing takt times / cycle times
Lean, mixed-model assembly lines are optimized to customer demand, especially the takt times needed to produce the right product mix within the right time.

Going far beyond what we could handle in precedence diagrams, simulation allows us to easily consider the effect of factors like shared resources across different processes or vehicle types, with each having unique cycle times.


2. Discovering the right product mix and scheduling scheme to maximize throughput
Similarly, we can set up and analyze different ‘what if’ scenarios and adjust our product mix accordingly. For example, producing these in a blend, a random fashion or in small batch sizes.

Simulation can test these approaches to identify which has the biggest impact on jobs per hour/overall throughput. Even an increase of half a job per hour could make a huge difference in profit!


3. Accounting for the impact of downtime, changeover times and tool set-ups
With simulation, we can use exponential and erlang distributions to calculate downtime and repair times for every task, or at station level across the assembly.

We can also do this for any changeovers and tool set-ups, so every time a different vehicle type travels through an asset that might require a tool setup or changeover; this will be accounted for in the simulation.


4. Proving the impact of new technology or flexible tools to build a business case for investment
As well as identifying where existing machinery is causing bottlenecks due to factors like changeovers and tool setups, simulation can be used to make a business case for investment in equipment that can improve mixed-model assembly.

For example, a simulation could prove the impact on cycle times of introducing a flexible tool with multiple faces; where instead of doing a full changeover, the table would rotate for each vehicle type. Rather than relying on AutoCAD layouts, spreadsheet calculations or even basic whiteboards to work through this process, a simulation can run comprehensive scenario testing in a very visual way. This allows your stakeholders and board members to see the impact of investing in new production tools and technology for themselves.


5. Comparing different routing options
Similar to above, we can test whether the manufacturing process might benefit from having a dedicated weld table for each unique product type, to completely eliminate changeovers and tool setups. Simulation can answer questions like ‘If we use parallel machines, will the sequence to get out of sync with late vehicles? Do we release one when one has a longer cycle time? Do we maintain the cycle time?’.

We can run mixed products through these routing decisions and from our simulation throughput results, we can easily identify whether or not we are going to meet the target value.


Learn more about how simulation software is used by automotive manufacturers

From these examples, we can see how simulation has become an invaluable tool for planning, testing and implementing mixed-model assembly processes.

With the ability to run an entire facility in a simulation environment, manufacturers can easily and quickly conduct ‘what if’ analysis to get the answers they need to maximize throughput in a cost-effective environment.

Take a look at our resources below to learn more about automotive simulation, or contact a member of our team to arrange a demo of SIMUL8.


Balancing Mixed-Model Assembly Lines webinar Brian Harrington explains how simulation tools like SIMUL8 can support flexible automotive manufacturing and mixed model assembly.

Watch webinar

Example Automotive Body Shop simulation View an example simulation that demonstrates the typical objectives of designing and running a flexible and efficient automotive body shop.

View simulation

Automotive Manufacturing Simulation Guide Learn why simulation is used throughout the life of an assembly plant; from design, to operational aspects and continuously improving performance.

Watch webinar

Categories: Simulation Blogs

Bringing data to life with simulation

Fri, 04/14/2017 - 06:49
Live webinar: Thursday May 11th, 11am (ET) / 4pm (BST)


Join Reece Holbrook, Technical Fellow at Medtronic, and discover how simulation is being used to turn available data from clinical trials into actionable insights for hospital electrophysiology lab managers.


In this webinar, you’ll learn how simulation has helped predict the economic benefits for those making choices about how to best utilize electrophysiology lab resources and align overall hospital resource spending.


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Categories: Simulation Blogs

SIMUL8 2017 is here!

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 08:12
Share the power of SIMUL8 with anyone, everywhere. 2017 blog header We’re really excited to be launching SIMUL8 2017 today. Like all of our releases this is once again driven by you, our users with features and improvements that have been requested or inspired by you and the simulations that are transforming your organizations.

From working with our users for over 20 years one common theme that we see is that simulation projects thrive through collaboration and when simulation builders engage their stakeholders the results are amazing.

In SIMUL8 2017 we wanted to make it faster and easier than ever before for you to do this. That’s why we’ve created SIMUL8 studio.

SIMUL8 Studio is a visual and interactive online platform where you can upload, view and share simulations across any device. This allows you to increase stakeholder engagement, improve communication and transform decision making across your organization.

As well as access to SIMUL8 Studio, SIMUL8 2017 also delivers great new features and improvements including work item tracking, increased trial speed and custom UI enhancements that will help you build simulations and get results faster than ever.

We really hope you love SIMUL8 2017 and SIMUL8 Studio as much as we do. Our teams of Customer Advocates, Product Managers, Developers and Testers have all been working hard to ensure SIMUL8 2017 delivers what you need for your process improvement projects.

If you’re on Annual Maintenance then you’ll be one of the first to receive your copy of SIMUL8 2017, so look out for it in your inbox soon.

If you have any questions or feedback about SIMUL8 2017 or SIMUL8 studio then get in touch and our team will be happy to help.

To find out more about SIMUL8 2017 visit SIMUL8.com/2017

Categories: Simulation Blogs