Using simulation for problem solving

UPB Group has a lot of interesting business cases where simulation has helped to achieve better performance results. For the first simulation use-case, Alto 4.0 decided to begin with the prefabricated concrete production. Based on our experience, there are two main problems which we try to solve with the simulation.

Our main business is in Scandinavia, but the prefabricated concrete factory is located in Latvia. We use ships to get all the prefabricated concrete elements across the Baltic see. There is always a dilemma connected with this kind of delivery – a) should we book all the ship with our products, b) should we deliver our products with smaller batch deliveries. Case A puts huge pressure on our prefabricated concrete factory’s warehouse, case B, on other hand, is a huge challenge for our logistics team.

This “Problem 1” is more focused on case A, where we try to find out what time do we need to fully load the whole ship. There are several variables to take in to an account, such as:

  • what kind of elements do we have to load,
  • how many cranes do we have,
  • how many transport trucks do we have,
  • what is the load capacity for the trucks,
  • what is the timeframe for the warehouse unloading,
  • what is the load capacity for the ship,
  • Etc.

In this case we used custom web based simulation tool, which was developed by our Alto 4.0 team in close collaboration with factory representatives. Such tool cannot be made without a quality input from the domain experts.

Warehouse simulation GUI

The screenshot shows the main user interface for this simulation. On the right side of the screen, user can set-up the conditions of the warehouse, in the middle, user can choose several parameters regarding the crane, trucks and timeframes. On the left side of the screen there are two charts, upper one shows the condition of the warehouse – how many elements are in the warehouse at any given time. Bottom one shows the remaining/free space on the ship at any given time. In this particular example, we can see, that we can fully load the shop in 7 days, with given warehouse conditions and simulation parameters.

In conclusion, we would like to point out, that with relative small effort from the Alto 4.0 team, we manage to deliver an excellent tool, which easily gives huge impact on planning quality in our factory and logistics.

Problem 2 will be described in next Problems solving with the simulation update.

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