Monday, February 13, 2012
Biotech Production: Planning, Scheduling and Throughput Analysis with a Combined Theory of Constraints, Lean and Simulation Approach.
The visualize phase helps the organization better understand their actual current operating state and sets up the entire project correctly in several ways:
1) Run the “Current State” scenario in order to have baseline results available
2) Design and run scenarios from a high level, with only the level of detail/resolution needed down to lower level details. Running scenarios with more resolution than needed makes finding the optimum solution more difficult than it needs to be.
3) Test only the changes at the bottleneck or constraint to start with. Until the bottleneck/constraint situation is resolved, testing other changes will not necessarily be meaningful.
4) Run additional scenarios with increasing breadth across the system and/or increasing levels of detail and resolution as needed until the optimum solution set is found. This is the new future state environment.
5) Test the robustness of the system by varying input parameters to push the boundaries in order to see how much performance is affected when things don’t go according to plan.
6) Finally, repeat steps 2-6 in an iterative fashion as required if the first strategy does not produce the desired improvement.
The solution confirmed their idea that the production environment had to be converted to a PULL system in order to meet the required customer demand and still have enough capacity to absorb predicted variation. Additionally it took less than 8 weeks for the project team to arrive at this optimal solution and immediately they made the necessary changes to convert to a Lean, demand driven, PULL system.
If optimize the model performance of the future state system with the PULL strategy would not have been sufficient, then the next iteration of Analyze and Optimize would have started, and a second idea or strategy would have to be tested in addition to or in place of the PULL concept.
1) Build a model to answer the current questions with available data, don’t dive too deep right away.
2) Refine and expand the model as needed to answer tomorrow’s questions.
3) Build up internal core competency over time by developing two or three expert model builders and many experienced in using the models built for them. Organizations can build and benefit most of their own simple to medium complexity models this way
4) Use a simulation consultant for very complex situations.
1) Perform root cause analysis on underperforming processes and systems.
2) Provide an objective sand box like environment in which to test new ideas, strategies, and policies in order to determine the most effective courses of action for each individual organization.
3) Gain an organizational capability for predictive, preventative performance planning and process improvement.