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Visual Indicators Transmit Key Information

Visual indicators are used to to display status information during a process simulation. Yeah, yeah, but why? Well, the type of decisions we are making with simulation are not of the “which type of toilet paper should we use” variety. If the decision requires simulation it is generally complex with many relationships that have been difficult to understand in the past. With his in mind, there are three important reasons for using these new features:

Visual Indicators are like Road Signs that Change to Match Conditions

You have to convince your boss that you know what your doing before accessing the corporate purse. This means you are going to need to transfer the logic behind the decision to your boss. There is no better way to transmit complex information than to show a simulation. Ideally, the simulation is so convincing  that you can let your boss arrive at the same conclusion by watching the simulation. Visual indicators make your model convincing by showing information your boss is interested in. This information can be key performance indicators, system status or anything that you make up.

These visual indicators can be placed anywhere on the layout and implemented in seconds. Upper management loves this stuff. The value for the time invested is “off the charts.”

A visual indicators used in a process simulation at American Ordnance.

Visual indicator used in a process simulation at American Ordnance.

Visual indicators used in process improvement projects

Some of the possible visual indicators available with model objects.

During the simulation, the graphics for the visual indicators change to match the condition of the system. The graphics or bill boards are controlled by variables in your model.

End of Run Output Doesn’t Have all the Answers

Sometimes the output report at the end of a process simulation isn’t enough to fill in the “mental gaps” of system understanding. A running visual indicator allows you to show model behavior throughout the simulation to help you “fill in the gaps.”

Debugging Simplified with Visual Indicators

Billboards for variables are an excellent tool for checking and debugging your model. In less than a minute you can setup a billboard to display multiple variables. If you add timed pauses to your model, you can stop the model and see the value of all critical variables in one place. This is a quick and easy method for checking complex logic in your model.

How do the Billboards Work?

It takes about 10 seconds per variable to implement. The process consists of inserting a model object, changing the name of the descriptive text and selecting the name of the variable from a drop down menu. The billboards come in predefined sizes of 1, 5 and 10 variables. If you want to display seven variables, insert the “10 variables” model object and delete three variables. It is really simple.

How do Gate Graphics Work?

There are three parts to a Gate Graphic:

  1. A timer that opens and closes the gate (changes a variable from zero to one).
  2. The gate graphic which changes based on the value of the variable.
  3. A “Wait Until” statement that controls the flow of entities in your model. This will need to be added in an appropriate place in your model.

If these model objects don’t exactly meet your requirement, your have two options:

First, ungroup the model object and see how it was constructed. You can then make the needed changes.

Second, contact ProcessModel support and tell us what you need. We might just build a new model object to meet your specific needs.

How can you get these new features? Update the model objects included with ProcessModel 5.5. To update the model objects, start ProcessModel with a right-mouse-click and select Run As Administrator. Then go to menu Model Objects/Check for Updates. These and other model objects will be added to your model objects library. All instruction on how to use a model object is contained thin in the model object.

All model objects are free with updated maintenance and support. If you would like to update your maintenance and support simply request a trial copy, fill in your contact information and we will contact you in a few minutes. Or, you can just call at 801-356-7165 and press 1.

4 Comments

  1. Margaret A. Boughner January 15, 2015 at 1:12 PM - Reply

    Scott, I need to update to get these new features. Can anybody helped me to update on Mac? I have some concern is my data is safe?

    • Scott Baird January 21, 2015 at 10:14 AM - Reply

      Margaret, the upgrade process will not change any of your user developed models. If you need additional help contact support directly at the following link: Support

      • Margaret A. Boughner January 28, 2015 at 6:01 PM - Reply

        Scott, I thanks you and all your Support team. These new features are fun and save me time.

  2. Edward Johnson January 7, 2015 at 2:51 PM - Reply

    Great post scott to learn these new features. Your superb technical support has helped us to model very complex systems that we would not have been able to do otherwise.

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