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Discrete Event Simulation Explained

Discrete event simulation is the representation of a system or process using a sequence of discrete time-based events in a computer model.  For example, if a manufacturing system is represented, an event could be the start of a part assembly, with the resulting system state of assembling part, and the eventual state being an assembled part.

With discrete event simulation, the operation of the system is typically presented chronologically, based on a specific time frame. Each event that occurs in the system is reflected by a change in the results. There is a variety of methods for creating this type of simulation, where the results can be studied and used as the basis for strategic decisions.




There are a large number of industries and processes where discrete event simulation is successfully applied.  Some of these industries include manufacturing, business process re-engineering, heavy metals, mining, various processes in airports, logistics, healthcare, and more. Simulation can be used to: test how well assembly lines perform; determine the efficiency of line operators; and determine the result of an unexpected equipment failure or resource shortage.  For every action there is a reaction; simulation can help to determine the sequence of actions which is causing an undesired reaction.


Turning to an outside company can help your business identify problems in work flow, design, throughput and more.  In the past these problems were examined manually, and through static analysis.  Such methods resulted in many hours of work and left room for potential error. Companies like Visual8 Simulation Solutions have a wealth of experience in developing Discrete Event simulation models that can accurately represent your systems. Using state-of-the-art technology and employing experienced simulation model builders will help you to minimize your margin of error through the use of accurate time-based analyses.




There is a specific process involved in building a discrete event simulation model and ensuring a high-quality, validated end-product. First, data should be collected so that accurate inputs can be used to drive the software program.  Then a representation of the process is built using a discrete-event package in order to create the entire system flow (e.g. flow of information, product, personnel, etc.).  When the model has been validated against historical information then the simulation can be used to run a variety of scenarios.  Experiments are conducted to identify potential improvements, and to eventually determine the changes required in order to best improve the overall process / system.


To determine how much detail is required in developing a simulation, you must consider your overall objective.  The level of detail included in your model can alter how the results are analyzed as well as the number of questions you can ask and answer using the tool. You also need to consider how comparable the discrete-event simulation is to real world scenarios when determining the types of conclusions you make from the results.


Simulations should be run several times for statistical significance, and so that the outcomes of each one can be compared for any common denominators. For companies without the skilled resources and time to perform their own discrete event simulations, a company like Visual8 Corporation can prove to be a valuable asset.  Working together with experienced simulation practitioners can result in significant efficiency improvementsBusiness Management Articles, and cost savings.

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Discrete Event Simulation consulting services can be found at Visual8 can streamline your production processes or supply chain.

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