KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid
In our latest “lesson from the old timers” session for our new round of graduate consultants we got onto the high level vs detailed simulation debate. KISS reared its ugly head, the stupid part is so offensive, I hate that phrase!
I’m firmly on the start small and high level and only do the detail if you need to, and yes there are times you need to. The aim of simulation is to help you make a business decision. I feel if you clutter the simulation with all the complexity of the real world you lose clarity. You end up generating pages and pages of results to compare and validate for every scenario making it just as hard to evaluate all the options as it is the real world.
I believe you declare the objective of the simulation e.g. increase throughput or decrease time in system then build a simulation around that question. Then you add detail or build other small simulations around specific problem areas. This keeps the clarity and also makes it a quick process so you can get answers rapidly. My favorite way to do this is in a workshop setting.
The best example of this is a coaching session I did years ago. I was booked out for a 2 day session to help our customer get quickly started on building their simulation. We started with a really high level simulation of their manufacturing operation, we never finished. About an hour in, the customer had a eureka moment after seeing their line simply mapped and watching the bottle necks build up in front of him as we tweaked the load in different parts of the system. They paid me for the remainder of the two days and ran off to make immediate changes to their line. They saved over a $1million.
That was a good day at the office!
What do you think, high level simulations or detailed ones?