Phase 2. Configure and Run Simulation Experiment 

In the previous phases we imported scenario with optimized data, added suppliers, which will be servicing our distribution centers, created and configured inventory and sourcing policies.

In this phase we will configure and run Simulation experiment.

Create Simulation experiment
  1. Navigate to the Experiments and click Simulation experiment

    You will be taken to the Simulation experiment's view with its default settings.

We will define the parameters of the experiment now.

Define Simulation experiment parameters
  1. Leave the set by default experiment's Start date and End date.
Proceed to specify statistics that must be collected during the Simulation experiment.
  1. Click Configure statistics to open a dialog box allowing you to select, configure the required statistics and define the measurement units to be used in the statistics.

  2. Click the Product statistics unit drop-down list and select pcs.
By default all statistics are enabled. Let us check the ones we need only.
  1. Uncheck all the available statistics to further enable the ones we need (Total cost, Available inventory and Lost orders amount).
Now that all the statistics are unchecked, you may either scroll down the whole list of all the available statistics to check the ones we will use during the experiment, or you may filter them by their names.
  1. Type Total cost in the cell below the Name column title and press Enter to filter the available statistics. You will see the Total cost statistics of Finances value type.
  2. Click the toggle box to the left of it in the Enabled column to activate data collection for current statistics.

In the same way check the Available inventory and Demand Received (Dropped Orders) statistics. Once you are done with configuring statistics, you may start the experiment. 
  1. Click Run in the toolbar of the Simulation experiment.

    The GIS map will appear allowing us to observe the real time (current model time considering the experiment speed) simulation of the supply chain with shipments (purple dots) shipped from distribution centers to the customers and from the suppliers to the distribution centers. 

Our next step is to add the statistics that we want to compare. It can be done in the dashboard, which is located in the lower part of the ALX window. The dashboard is divided into two areas:

Add statistics to the dashboard

  1. Right-click the empty content section of the Dashboard tab and select Add item from the shortcut menu. The Properties dialog box will open.

  2. Check the Total cost statistics in the Finances group of the Statistics selection section. We will leave the offered by default Table chart type selected in the Preview section.

  3. Click OK in the bottom right part of the Properties dialog box. The Total cost statistics will appear on the dashboard in the form of a table showing the total costs for the current moment.

Now we will add Available inventory and Demand Received (Dropped Orders) statistics to the dashboard:
  1. Open the Properties dialog box by right-clicking the empty spot within the dashboard area and select the Add item from the short cut menu.
  2. Check the Available inventory statistics and set Line as the chart type for these statistics.

  3. Click OK in the bottom right part of the Properties dialog box. The selected statistics will appear on the dashboard in the form of a Line chart to the right of the previously added Total cost statistics.

  4. In the very same way add the Lost orders statistics to the dashboard:

    The Preview section will show the updated table view

  5. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box. The dashboard will now show the total cost statistics, the available inventory level (as well as the way it changes over time) and the quantity of lost orders per site.

    On the screenshot below you can see the three statistics that we intended to monitor with the Lost orders statistics providing data on each DC individually.

Note: Elements added to the dashboard can be rearranged to optimize occupied space.

Take a moment to monitor the collected Available inventory statistics. You will see that the inventory level increases every time a new shipment from the supplier is received.

Have a closer look at the statistics

  1. Click the  Enlarge button in the top-right corner of the Available inventory chart.

    The chart will be enlarged and placed over the ALX layout.

  2. To get back to the compact view, click Close.

Let us increase the simulation speed and monitor data in the Lost Orders table.

Increase the speed of the experiment

  1. Navigate to the toolbar above the GIS map. You will see the speed control element (slider).
  2. Drag the slider to the right to set the speed to x2 value, which will correspond to two model days per second.

  3. Then drag it to the max value. The experiment will be executed much faster and as a result it will be completed in a few seconds.

Now draw your attention to the Lost orders statistics. As you can see, 16 orders were lost at Elko DC, 317 orders were lost at Hazleton DC and 72 orders were lost at Vicksburg DC. We will have to modify the inventory policy later to eliminate the losses and to fully satisfy the demand.

Lastly, let us take a look at the Total cost table showing the expenses for all of the distribution centers. As you can see, it constitutes $139.036.978.13

Alongside the total aggregated cost, we can examine the expenses incurred by each warehouse individually. You may either:

Finally configure the Available inventory dashboard element by navigating to the Additional settings box and switching the Object toggle button to Per Item state.

Now we can see the results of our simulation experiment in details.

The results clearly show that we have lost certain amount of orders. The orders are lost primarily because of the Backorder Policy (defined in the Demand table), which is set to Not allowed.

Let us analyze the Lost orders data and find the moment the first order was lost.

Analyze Lost orders statistics

  1. Adjust the settings of the Lost orders statistics that show data per object.
  2. Click the  Enlarge button in the top-right corner of the Lost orders chart.
  3. Click the  Horizontal zoom button to activate the tool. 
  4. Left-click at the beginning of the chart and drag the mouse to the right to select the horizontal range containing the data on the first lost orders.

    You will zoom in to the selected range. As you can see, 2 orders were lost on the 4th day, which means that the initial amount was not sufficient.

You can run a number of what-if scenarios, adjusting the inventory policy parameters and examining the difference among the numerous received results.

Run what-f scenarios

  1. Navigate to the Inventory table.
  2. Open the pop-up dialog box by double-clicking the Policy parameters cell in the DCs row.
  3. Adjust the Min and Max values by typing in the 2000 and 5000 respectively.
  4. Set the Initial Stock, units to 1500.
  5. Navigate back to the Simulation experiment and run it. 
  6. Voila - we have lost no orders, but as you can see, the expenses have increased as well and constitute $172,558,427.1 
We have successfully completed the Simulation experiment.

During this tutorial we learned to configure inventory policies, improved service level by eliminating the possibility of lost orders and executed what-if scenarios to find the optimal product stock volume.

Note: To completely avoid losing orders, save your time on what-if scenarios, minimize the expenses and find the best possible inventory level - you should use the Variation experiment.

  Phase 1. Create and define inventory and sourcing policies