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Why do we need simulation?

Why do we need simulation?
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

Simulation in logistics is needed to respond to requirement changes in industry, to improve operations and to quantify the potential impact of such improvements.

It is useful when experimentation with the real system is expensive, dangerous or likely to cause significant disruption (eg transport systems, nuclear reactor and airline systems).

It might also be an option when mathematical modelling of a system is impossible. Although mathematical analysis methods are available, some are so complex that simulation may provide a simpler solution. Oil exploration, meteorology and computer networks are all examples when simulation might be favoured over mathematical modelling.

Logistics operations management requires more sophisticated technologies, such as simulation that can handle the inherent uncertainty of real-world logistics systems.

What can simulation do?

Some of the main tasks that simulation can help with include:

  • Modelling complex systems in a detailed way
  • Describing the behaviour of systems, especially when uncertainty exists
  • Predicting the consequences of changes in policy, conditions or methods
  • Learning about new systems in order to redesign or redefine them
  • Educating people on how a real-life system or situation actually operates (ie the Hazard Perception Test that forms part of the driving theory test in the UK)
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Simulation for Logistics: An Introduction

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