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it is said that experience is the best teacher. we want to share some project experiences that have taught us important lessons over the years. some projects are recent; others are from years past; in any case the lessons learned are still easily recalled. we cant name the clients involved for reasons that may become obvious to the reader. in our experience, only a small portion -say 10 percentto 15 percent- of projects produce results that are unexpected, perhaps counter- intuitive and that have a significant impact on the project. but the reason we simulate these systems is that there is no way ahead of time know which ones will result in these findings. we've chose 10 projects that produce some of these results.
1.- Maintain involvement with the decisión-makers throughout theProject .
We had a most interesting simulation Project which involved determining the correct spacing between stations in a distribition center filling orders for cosmetics and related supplies for the women’s beauty industry. Orders would arrive from field representatives. These orders were started in one tote on a conveyor that passed by some eight stations each with an array of approximately 50products that were pulled from “pigeon hole” storage locations and placed in the tote. If and when a tote was filled, but the order had not been completed, another tote was added. So, one order might consis of three totes, for example. The conveyor acted as queueing space for the totes.
We had a great meeting with the manager of the distribution center to start the Project. He met our data needsand provided Access to his staff. At the halfway mark, we called for the distribution manager so that we could discuss our progress. The response was, “He’s not here today”. We called again the next day and received the same response. We asked when he would return. We were told, “He’s in New York on a spacial reorganization assignment. He’s only here on Fridays.” We asked if we could mee tonFriday. The answer was, “No, he has a full Schedule every Friday that he is here.”
We finished the Project about two weeks later. We sent the final report to the distribution center manager. We sent an invoice. We were paid. But, we never saw the distribution center manager again and thus were unable to explain the simulation results. We seriously doubt that our desing was ever implemented.

2.-Make sure that you know all of the assumptions.
One of our largest consulting projects was the redesign of a port and the railroad depot at the port terminal. This port was in western Australia. The port received iron ore by rail and it was dumped to form two gigantic piles. From these piles, ships bound for japan were loaded with iron ore according to a récipe.
We were actuallysub-contractors on this Project. The contractor was a consulting firm that provided service to port operations throughout the world. The contractor was located in the Northeastern United States. The contractor had some simulation capability, but the pople there could only model the most basic of systems.
The port in Australia didn’t realice at the outset that we were the ones actually building thesimulation model. All of our communication went through the contractor, then to the port. This arrangement bécame cumbersome, so the contractor revealed tht we were actually doing the modeling. The port was not upset. In fact, they asked tht one of us come to Australia and take a look at the system. After many hours of flying one of us arrived in sydney, followed by a long flight to Perth in westernAustralia. Next there was a two- hour train ride. The port operator insisted that we take a one – hour ride and visit the port.
Immediately, we realized there were three gigantic piles, not two. This caused some remodeling activity on our part. We built the modelo n the wrong assumptions, the assumptions that were provided to us by the intermediary consulting firm.
3.- Think outside of the...
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