Logistics Simulation Ltd. creates warehouse simulations that accurately measure the performance of a warehouse design. Warehouse simulation is an excellent tool for comparing two different designs, and by re-creating all the tasks associated with eash design we can determine which one is best for the client based on their actual customer orders.

The design is replicated in a 3D environment and analysed to the finest detail. Our warehouse simulation services bring life to ideas and provide an accurate measurement of common key performance indicators, as well as any custom reporting that is desired.

 

During the simulation process orders data can be altered to create different scenarios., giving accurate outcomes for predicted parameters, testing the flexibility of a design before commiting to it. For conveyors, the exact layout and configuration is reconstructed with detailed logging and counting. Actual product flows are used and called from a schedule, the design of which depends on the order release strategy.

Sometimes it is just a matter of releasing all the tasks at once, letting the machines optimise their own task selection. For sophisticated systems the workflow to various resources must be controlled to avoid jamming or starving the system. The parameters of this control system are very sensitive, and determining their optimal settings is crucial.

 



Above : Pickers fed by a conveyor system load up carts with items picked out of totes. The totes are kept in a miniload storage system, which must keep the pick stations from starving without jamming the system. During the simulation the performance of each individual picker can be monitored, and reports can be generated at multiple time intervals.

The simulation is the ultimate planning tool for internal warehouse analysis. A base case scenario can be calibrated to the performance of an existing warehouse, after which single or multiple changes can be made, and the impact of the change determined. Maintaining a desired level of throughput is easier when the orders are picked in a warehouse that has already been tested for congestion points, replenishment levels, storage use, and loading times.

Applications of the warehouse simulation engine are in abundance, but probably its most common use is comparing two picking (or packing) methods using the same orders. Comparing two layouts of racking that have a similar purpose is easy enough, but when comparing a high-tech solution to a low-tech solution, the location, method, and complexity of storing and retrieving products is very different.

 



The simulation lets us pick the same orders in two completely different solutions, comparing performance indicators that are of interest to the client, as well common results such as operator pick rates and overall order throughput.

Order reservation and and consolidation is another area where the warehouse simulation exceeds any other type of analysis. When pallet components come from all areas of the warehouse and consolidate in one place, a reservation and consolidation system must be added.

It may be possible to start an order in one module of the warehouse, but another module which also has items for that order may be overloaded with pending tasks. If we start sending picked items for that order to the consolidation area, it will only create congestion as the picked items will occupy consolidation space longer than they should.

  Above: the number of pallets in the marshalling area throughout the day, categorised by goods in (red), goods, out (green), cross dock (blue), and pallets undergoing sortation (yellow). The simulation was vital for determining what the dock usage would be if the client merged two of its warehouses.  

It is better to start an order that is not dependent on the overloaded module. And it would be necessary to find determine why it became overloaded in the first place. So the control of the workflow can escalate to a large set of parameters, which is precisely the kind of feedback you need when you are designing a system. Other designers claim a possible throughput and yet the design has not been properly tested with the orders. Of course the orders determined the design, but in many cases this type of analysis is inadequate compared to warehouse simulation which exposes problems designers cannot anticipate.

In the case of conveyors many things can go wrong. Conveyors are very much like traffic on the street, and like a busy streets, they have congestion points that cause holdups, some of which can backup an entire system. Busy aisles also have congestion points that cause holdups, and testing a product layout properly involves warehouse simulation. To proceed confidently the element of time must be added to the analysis, picking the orders one at a time and travelling between locations, constantly seeking ways to thin out the congestion without comprimising the throughput.

Our warehouse simulation is very detailed, including machine breakdowns, battery changes, and aisle usage. It also handles queues at the docks, the pick stations, and within the aisles, and it is great for comparing MHE schedules, dock schedules, and order-release schedules.

Logisitics Simulation Ltd. have worked with many clients providing them with leading-edge analysis and instilling confidence in their design. Call us today for a friendly no-pressure discussion on warehouse simulation services that will benefit you.