SIMUL8 2019 feature spotlight: Multi-task Timing

SIMUL8 Tips



This feature spotlight takes a closer look at Multi-task Timing, SIMUL8 2019’s enhancement for setting up Activities in your simulations with more detailed control in fewer clicks.

Multi-task Timing is another great new addition to SIMUL8 2019 based on our users’ feedback and queries about incorporating different sub-tasks into an Activity. For example, Activities in your simulation might need a preparation task before the main task and it require its own resource and/or has its own variation, i.e. distribution. For the main task itself, the distribution could be different than those other sub-tasks and you might also want to be flexible on whether to include a resource requirement. As a result, defining an Activity with several sub-tasks could sometimes be complex to set-up.

Using Multi-task Timing, it’s now quicker and easier to define an Activity with many sub-tasks that each have their own timing distributions and resource requirements.

The example below shows two simulation set-ups of the same overall process. For both set-ups you get the same results (assuming no travelling time between the Activities in the black frame in the top simulation).

The second simulation shows how Multi-task Timing can be used to reduce the complexity of the top simulation

In the top simulation, we have modeled each of the sub-tasks as a separate Activity. However, given that these are all parts of the same Activity, we need to group them and restrict the capacity limit of that group to 1. This ensures that no sub-tasks are happening in parallel as this wouldn’t be possible if they are all part of the same Activity. In this set-up it can get even more complex when Activities are replicated.

Now, using Multi-task Timing, the example simulation can also be modeled as shown in the second set-up. Here we simply define the main Activity and split the timings and resource requirements of its sub-Activities. The overall Activity with all its sub-tasks can be easily set-up, viewed and modified through the Activity’s properties timings dialog.

How to set-up a Multi-task Timing Activity

Defining an Activity as a Multi-task one is simple. In the Activity’s properties, go into the timings menu as you normally would when defining an Activity’s timing distribution. Then, choose “Use Multi-task” and in the “Details” section you can:

  • Name the Activity’s tasks
  • Assign all the distributions that SIMUL8 offers for standard Activities
  • Assign a resource requirement to each task individually or leave this blank if no resource is needed
  • Choose an image if depending on the current task the Activity’s appearance changes

By default you are shown three tasks, but using the “Add Row” and “Delete Row” buttons, you can define as many tasks as you need.

Learn more about SIMUL8 2019 or for a more detailed overview on how to set-up Multi-task Timing, take a look at the SIMUL8 Help Files.