HP used SIMUL8 to simulate their production lines to determine the most effective set-up and illustrate delays and constraints within the process. Opportunities to eliminate non-value adding activities were presented, resulting in savings of $100,000/year.
Hewlett Packard is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic equipment. For more than a decade they have been using simulation to improve their production throughput and process times and increase profits to their bottom line.
HP used SIMUL8 to simulate the assembly and test process within the manufacture of test and measurement products. The inputs for the simulation for one particular product family needed to be a comprehensive mix of data including cycle times for process stages, machinery failure rates, labor availability, shift patterns and storage capacities.
By varying orders and labor availability the simulation was able to help determine the most effective set-up of the production line. According to Ian the simulation not only met it's objectives but also illustrated "the delays and constraints within the process and presents opportunities to reduce and eliminate non-value adding activities."
"Simulation is particularly speedy at highlighting the major constraints within critical processes and thus enabling the model builder to construct the correct event sequence and buffer sizes to keep the major constraints fully utilized."
Ian Harrison, QMD, HP
Within QMD Process Engineering, the number of simulation users quadrupled in a 12-month period. This is almost completely due to the fact of SIMUL8's comprehensive, intuitive and easy to use features.
Ian noticed "By dispersing simulation into the rest of the engineering community and first level management, many more processes are analyzed and improved". More users also mean easier training and more innovative applications, as users push back the traditional boundaries to its use.
Another major benefit brought by SIMUL8 was that it provided a platform where simulation has become more familiar, and easier to use as a desktop productivity tool. As a training tool, it has become easier to illustrate management fundamentals such as Goldratt's theory of constraints or the need for KANBAN.
This particular project saved HP an estimated $100,000 annually in opportunity costs as well as other productivity gains.
The chart below is an example on how the simulation results identified critical constraints, in this case the Power process.