Authors: Fred Voorhorst, Antonio Avai, Claudio Boer
This paper explores the use of simulation for the optimization of highly flexible production plants. Basis for this work is a model of a real shoe production plant that produces up to 13 different styles concurrently, resulting in maximum 11 different production sequences. The flexibility of the plant is ensured by organizing the process in a sequence of so-called work islands, using trolleys to move shoes between them. Depending on production needs one third of the operators are reallocated. The model considers the full complexity of allocation rules, assembly flows and production mix. Analyses were performed by running use cases, from very simple (providing an insight in basic dynamics) up to complex (supporting the identification of interaction effects and validation against reality). Analysis gave insight in bottlenecks and dependencies between parameters. Experiences gained distilled in guidelines on how simulation can support the improvement of highly flexibly organized production plants.