Skills Required

Premise of Article:  Our team is working on a simulation project, and has good project management skills and a standard problem solving approach.  Now we want to understand what additional skills, specific to simulation, we need on the team.  Below are two critical simulation modeling & analysis skills to include.

Skill #1 – Probability & Statistics:  A major driver for using simulation models is a need to mimic the random behavior natural to all processes.  This need creates challenges on both the Input & the Output side of our modeling effort, and are best met with a good understanding of probability & statistics.

On the input side, statistical knowledge guides our selection of statistical distributions to use (for reflecting interarrival rates, processing times, etc.)  On the output side, statistical knowledge determines 1) the model’s runtime parameters, 2) how to best verify/validate the model, and 3) how to correctly analyze the model results using Confidence Intervals.

Skill #2 – Modeling (Systems Analysis):  Another major driver for using simulation models is a need to reflect the dynamic interactions common to all processes.  For example, multiple pieces of equipment can breakdown at the same time while we have just one maintenance person available.  For this situation, we will need to understand & model the decision logic used to prioritize the maintenance workload.

Inexperienced modelers tend to create models that are more complex than needed; which wastes modeling effort, and extends projects timespan & costs.  This is where experience in systems analysis (from an ISE perspective) becomes critical.  Systems analysis skills guide the selection of model’s scope, model level of detail, and decision logic to model; allowing you to build an accurate model quickly.

Video for grocery store simulation – 2D Birds-eye View