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Arena Newsletter and Blog

Melanie Barker

Recent Posts

Simulation Tip: Data Driven vs Hard Coding

Posted by Melanie Barker on Jul 8, 2019 3:58:21 PM

While simulation tools have improved over time, most of these improvements have been in regards to simplifying technical hurdles, like importing data or making the user interface easier to understand. The complexity of how to break down a complicated, real-world process into concrete steps that can be modeled in a simulation language continues to be the most difficult part of using any package.

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Topics: Manufacturing, Tips & Tricks, Consultant's Corner

Using Pickup to Model Tracking

Posted by Melanie Barker on Oct 3, 2017 9:36:00 PM

Complex, expensive vehicles – such as airplanes or trucks – often contain a number of parts that will fail over the lifetime of the item. Approaching the modeling of this usage and failure tracking can be a tricky prospect. One solution is to use the entity’s attributes to model each part. Attributes can even be arrayed to contain additional information about the individual part, such as the installation date, number of trips made or miles logged, part number, and a unique identification code. But since every entity has a copy of every attribute, what happens when different vehicles have different part requirements? The number of attributes needed to manage this level of complexity can quickly become overwhelming and cumbersome.

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Topics: Tips & Tricks

It’s Not All About the Average

Posted by Melanie Barker on Oct 3, 2017 9:34:00 PM

Worldwide, the average human is 5’6” (167cm) tall. This is a true fact – I know because I found it on the internet. However, is it a useful fact? Assume for a moment that you are a manufacturer of blue jeans. Would you take this average height value and then size all of your equipment so that it can only make jeans for individuals who are exactly this height? Now imagine your business was more narrowly focused in terms of your potential customer pool, e.g. men living in the United States. If you’re aiming for a smaller group, would it make any more sense to buy equipment that only makes one length of jeans? Or should you take the range of potential heights into account when designing your factory?

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Topics: Tips & Tricks, Consultant's Corner

Planning Flexibility Into Complex Models

Posted by Melanie Barker on Jun 1, 2017 9:47:00 PM

In this month’s case study, one of the chief goals of the simulation model was to test several potential operational modifications. When there are several changes to test, the questions arise:

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Topics: Manufacturing, Packaging, Consultant's Corner, Project Management, Healthcare

4 Keys for Every Project

Posted by Melanie Barker on Jan 27, 2017 10:00:00 PM

(that no one wants to talk about)

While the technical approach to creating a simulation project is documented and widely understood, there are very important aspects of the process that are not often discussed but which are critical to the success of the project.  Nancy Zupick and Melanie Barker, two of our expert engineers, share four key elements in this post that are imperative to conducting an effective simulation study and how they impact the progress of the study.  If you’d like to read the all of Nancy and Melanie’s thoughts on this topic, download the white paper linked below. 

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Changing Attribute Values in a Queue or Group

Posted by Melanie Barker on Jan 23, 2017 11:05:00 PM

Welcome to the Arena Tips and Tricks column! We’ll be using this section of the newsletter to highlight features of Arena that we want to call to your attention – either they may not be as well known, or they’re very valuable and deserve a second glance. For our first column, we’ll be starting with the A() Variable.

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Topics: Tips & Tricks

How to Handle Complex Queueing Environments at the Airport

Posted by Melanie Barker on Jan 23, 2017 10:39:00 PM

As anyone who’s been to an airport recently can attest, queueing is part of the experience. We queue to get through security, we line up to order food or drinks, and last we wait our turn to board the aircraft. Most simulation models revolve around contention for resources or constraints with limited capacity, and the modern flying experience has its fair share of contention.

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Topics: Tips & Tricks

Lean Tips & Tricks

Posted by Melanie Barker on Jan 23, 2017 10:33:00 PM

In Lean manufacturing, one common technique is to sort jobs based on their expected processing time and then to run the shortest ones first. To do this in Arena, there needs to be an attribute on which to sort the queue. For processing jobs where the processing time will be known, the time can be written to the attribute and then used for both the sorting and the processing. 

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Topics: Tips & Tricks

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