Historically Boston Scientific used spreadsheets to model capacity of their production lines. This provided them with static results but couldn’t identify potential areas for improvement.
The spreadsheets also couldn’t take into account real life variability. For example when the time to process work is slightly different each time that process is run, and this meant the results were inaccurate and didn’t match the real life system.
In an attempt to clearly identify areas of inefficiency in their cardiac battery manufacturing line, SIMUL8 software was used to create a simulation of the production process that allowed engineers to visualize the line being run.
The simulation added a new dimension that the spreadsheet couldn't provide. It also added a new level of accuracy to the data that showed a queue build up at the backfill process on the line that wasn’t identified in the spreadsheet analysis.
This discovery was key to adding time limits and strategic WIP to counteract the work flowing into the next process that offset the cost of direct labor to manage the inventories for a saving of approximately $150,000.