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Moving Things in the Right Direction

Making entities flow in the right direction is one of the keys to Process Simulation. It sounds too simple, and it is simple, but it is also true! You have to define how different types of entities move through your model to represent the real system. When you add many entities with unique routing this can be a challenge until you see the strategy. This article will show you how to define the flow for many entities in a compact model in 4 easy steps.

Advanced Process Simulation Routing by the Numbers

1. An entity can select which path to take by using conditional routes. Using common conditional routes for every movement provides provides a simple and efficient framework. A model can be small yet handle thousands of unique entity routings.

Process Simulation Routing

All routings are conditional. The green routings have blank conditions. The blue routings all have a generic condition “a_Next_Loc = [name of the destination activity]”.

Process Simulation Conditional Routing

2. Create a central hub for processing the next routing request. It works similar to the FedEx concept — send everything to a central hub first. The activity outlined in red is a central hub. Every time and entity finishes processing at an activity it goes back to the central hub to be directed to the next activity.

3. Read routing sequence from an outside excel file using the model object for importing process flows.

4. Copy generic logic provided below into every activity of your model. The generic process simulation logic converts attributes “read-in” into the processing sequence.

Process Simulation Action Logic

The steps above provide the framework to create a model that will handle limitless routing combinations without changing the base process simulation model. The framework can be easily constructed and may be modified to handle hundreds of activities and routings in an hour. The model can be adjusted to any layout so long as the central hub concept is maintained.

I hope you find this concept helpful. I would love to hear your feedback. Happy modeling.

About the Author:

Scott Baird has been president of ProcessModel for more than 15 years. His focus has been to teach others how to improve processes dramatically. He has been successful in transferring these skills to over 200 companies, including ESPN, NASA, GE, Nationwide, Cendant, SSA and many more. Specialties: Group facilitation for process improvement, process design and simulation, simulation modeling, business management and training others to see opportunities. Scott loves to teach process improvement and has often been heard to say, “Of all the things I do, training others to improve processes is my favorite.” Scott is a father of four and a grandfather of eight. He is an avid woodworker, designing and creating presentation boxes. In his spare time, he volunteers in a college preparation program.


  1. Franklin Newman November 27, 2014 at 12:26 AM - Reply

    I have been using processmodel for quite some time now and have been falling in love with it. I have never seen such a powefull tool easily combing several modeling methods in a true approach. Thanks scott

  2. Richard L. Cunningham November 25, 2014 at 9:29 PM - Reply

    Scott Baird, I find this concept helpful. Are all simulation software products the same?

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