1.2.2 – The Modeling Environment
The layout window for drawing the flow diagram is a scrollable drawing area that is divided into pages. Pages correspond to what you would see if the diagram were printed. You may start the diagram anywhere on the layout although it is usually best to start in the upper left corner. The diagram can be easily moved later if needed.
The Toolbox is the column of buttons displayed on the left side of the layout window. (The Toolbox can be opened and closed by selecting. The primary buttons in the toolbox are the pointer button used to select objects, the shape button used to place new shapes on the layout, and the line button used to connect the shapes. The other buttons are for adding text, zooming and changing the line style.
The Simulation button allows you to run the simulation.
The Properties Dialog allows you to define simulation information for each object and connection in the model. It stays open when you select a different object or connection, and if you close it, double-clicking on an object will open it again.
The Properties Dialog changes context when you select another object. This allows you to view model element information instantly and edit all elements without having to open and close dialog windows each time you select another element.
The Gallery is a formatting command center. From the Gallery you can place shapes for your model, change color, font, line style, line ends and shadowing. The Gallery is positioned on the right hand of the screen for easy access, but can be positioned anywhere as a floating toolbar.
A shape palette allows you to select each shape used to represent each object in the model. The default shape palette is called General and contains shapes that are commonly used for process diagramming. Other palettes and shapes may also be used if desired.
If the shape palette is marked as read-only, the user does not have local administrator permissions on the computer. The read-only status will not affect the models in any way. It will only restrict the user from editing the palette. If editing of the shape palette is required, the user will need to login as a local administrator.
“As Six Sigma is deployed throughout a company, Black Belts face increasingly difficult problems which require advanced approaches and tools. Delighting the customer is what it’s all about, and that comes from consistent end-to-end process performance. Understanding complex processes, and identifying the optimal way to serve customers and shareholders is where process simulation plays a key role.” – Kevin Weiss, President, The Capability Group
Objects are the shapes that are used in the model to depict entities, activities, storages, and resources. Objects are generally pulled from the palette, and can also be imported into the model or drawn using the drawing tools in ProcessModel.
Several formats can be used for importing objects into ProcessModel, but two are preferred. Graphics originally designed as WMF or EMF graphics will import flawlessly and will work for stationary and dynamic graphics. Raster images (JPG, GIF, PNG, etc.) can not be converted to vector images (WMF, EMF). The only way to convert these is to recreate the raster image in a vector editing software and save it as a vector file. Popular software options for doing this include CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator. These editing softwares attempt to go from raster to vector automatically and will often work for ProcessModel objects. Some JPG and GIF graphics can be used in ProcessModel. These graphic formats work best as entities. When these graphics used as stationary objects they will often appear shifted or offset. It is important to use graphic that have been scaled prior to importing so as to reduce the size of the graphic and the memory requirement in ProcessModel.
Entities The items or people being processed, e.g., products, documents, customers, etc.
Activities The tasks performed on entities such as assembly, document approval or customer checkout.
Resources The agents used to perform activities and move entities such as service personnel, operators or equipment.
A line between two objects (activity, entity, storage, resource) that defines the flow of entities through a model or the assignment of a resource or an order signal. There are four types of connections: arrivals, routings, resource assignments, and order signals.
Entity Arrivals Define where, when and in what quantities entities enter the system to begin processing. Entity arrivals are defined by connecting an entity to the activity or storage where it begins processing. Multiple arrival connections can be created from an entity to one or more activities/storages.
Entity Routings Define the processing flow for entities. An entity routing is defined by connecting an activity or storage to the next activity or storage in the processing sequence. An activity or storage may have multiple input routings and multiple output routings. Entities do not move to the next activity or storage until there is available capacity and the condition or rule for routing the entity has been satisfied.
Resource Assignments Define the use of resources in performing activities or moving entities. A resource assignment is defined by connecting a resource to either an activity or a routing depending on whether it is used for an activity or to make a move. Resources may be captured before any activity or routing and freed after any activity or routing. Multiple or alternative resources may be used for an activity or routing.