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Visual Exploration

This is the most important step in undertaking simulation.

Traditionally the next stage in using simulation was to design and perform a series of experiments with the simulation to see how the factory could be improved. However, a much more important step in doing simulation (and one that only became possible when simulation became Visual and Interactive) is to explore the simulation visually with your client. This enables both you and your client the opportunity to gain an understanding of how the different parts of the simulation interact with each other, how the performance measures can be affected and to gain insights into how the factory can be changed and improved.

This 'Visual exploration' is done by running the simulation and watching the products move around on the computer screen. You can, for example, see where bottlenecks build up, you can see under what circumstances these are worst. By changing the simulation and watching to see the effects of these changes you can gain a knowledge and understanding of the way the system behaves. You can get to know its 'character'.

Of course, exploring a simulation visually like this is not a rigorous or scientific testing procedure and should always be followed by some careful tests (see (j) below) but it is much better at giving insights into how to improve the factory (or other system) than a series of controlled experiments.