The importance of What If simulations

Prof. Gaetan Libert / Oct 16 , 2016

From the car to the smartphone, and the ISO procedure to the automated assembly line, most functions and objects used in a domestic or professional setting require processes that automatically memorize and repeat previously recorded procedures.

These procedures are built based on operations common to any cognitive system, i.e. the recording of data and the execution of a limited number of operations revised according to additions, comparisons, sorting and the creation of collections.

The basic rules governing the management of enterprises are no different.

There is still a large margin between the presence of data in information systems and an intelligent and coordinated use of this data for the purpose of optimizing the management of the company.

It is this gap that we propose to bridge thanks to the PlanningForce methodology and the analyses and “what-if scenarios” that the company will be able to carry out based on the information stored in the PlanningForce database.

These scenarios are founded on a five-step process:

  • Analysis of the current data system
  •  Development of what-if scenarios
  • Carrying out the simulations
  •  Identification and planning of performance improvement and risk reduction strategies
  • Monitor and follow up on the performance of strategies

In our knowledge society, progress is immaterial. It is based on the capacity of a company to produce highly valuable information. Information that will in turn enable the company to optimize its day-to- day operations and to implement strategies for the continuous improvement of its performance.

Respecting the rules that lead to the production and use of data within information systems is therefore essential. However, information systems generally produce a lot of data, but because they are not made for a strategic purpose, few of them are exploitable.

PlanningForce’s methodology and tools, including the model and interface techniques, fill these gaps by providing the manager with a panel of data that can easily be exploited through What-if scenario design and analysis techniques.

These data are mainly :
Activities; resources; calendars (vacations and other types of absences); successive schedules; time spent by resources on activities and progress reports at the end of each cycle; simulations carried out for a given schedule; activity models described by type of project, operating methods, tasks and milestones; skills matrices and data relating to resources, rates (for machines and equipment); schedules and coefficients; changes in priorities (and other constraints) on activities; the roles of system users and their rights to different objects and functions; files, notes and messages (initial and successive versions); as well as all data that have been added to the database under the model and interfaces with third-party systems.

The model and data form the foundation upon which What-if analyses and scenarios can be conducted. The model because it is a representation of how the business operates; the data because it reflects how the business operates at a given point in time.

With the help of simulations and automatic generation of new schedules, companies will benefit from testing the relevance of various performance improvement strategies and measure, based on key indicators, the potential impact of very concrete risks. For example, unavailability of critical resources.

As it is no longer enough to develop the functioning of a company based on a favorable growth context, it is also necessary for companies to remain efficient when subjected to the inconsistencies of life and the market.


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