One of the world’s leading suppliers of mission-critical engineered products for the oil, gas, nuclear, industrial and chemical markets. Covering both the manufacture and aftermarket support of its proprietary high value products and technology with global revenues of over £60 million but in severe decline due to many years miss-management, lack of strategic investment.
The business had previously used Excel as its primary modelling tool for planning. However given the extent of change required to meet accelerating demand, the management team felt that Excel could not help them deliver and communicate an accurate, trusted growth plan. The organisation needed the foresight to understand how the business would look in 5-10 years, what future opportunities there might be, and how their operations would evolve over that period. Most importantly they needed to understand the timing of key asset investments. Complex resource and process variables all needed to be factored in, including new equipment, people, sub-assembly processes, cranes, forklifts and back office policies and workflows.
Having concluded that Excel would not be a suitable business tool a predictive simulation digital twin was used to create a virtual, dynamic factory able to execute detailed schedule-based planning in a rapidly deployable and user-friendly environment. Predictive digital twinning simulation through the use of simulation software is a hugely powerful tool in that it can run a year’s simulation in seconds, facilitating a detailed picture of exactly what business processes and resources were required to deliver against future demand.
The President’s Medal has been awarded for a project that used simulation to help a mid-sized manufacturer transform their manufacturing capability. In a highly competitive field, this project impressed the judges in several ways. Technically, it showed an exceptional range and depth of processes and entities simulated, together with innovative collaboration with a video-gaming company to develop an immersive reality simulation ‘digital twin’, which enabled the model and plans to get buy-in and commitment from staff, investors and customers as well as top management.
This modelling innovation matched and enabled the innovations in the factory itself that led it to win the 2016 UK Manufacturing Award for ‘Smart Factory of the Year’. The project demonstrated the willingness to adapt their activities to the client’s needs, wants and timing, moving from high-level prototyping to detailed modelling as the customer’s requirements evolved. The appreciation of the customers was also shown through their participation in the presentation at the OR conference.
The work was ambitious and achieved enormous business benefit: an immediate saving of £500k in capital costs; a two-thirds reduction in ‘days to order fulfilment’, and complete elimination of late fulfilment. Finally, the delivered solution was flexible enough to be readily and cheaply adapted by the client to be used in every single one of their factories around the world.