What is Decision Support, or a Decision Support System?
A Decision Support System is an invaluable business tool, that helps you make complex decisions in industries where dynamic events and interacting systems are a feature of the business landscape.
InterDynamics can create your Decision Support System that will reduce risk and guide your decision making in industries such as manufacturing, mining, health care, transportation and logistics. See a Health Care demonstration here.
Our solutions replicate your business – visual, animated and configurable so you can test and compare endless scenarios. What if we had more assets, what if demand increases, what if this process was faster, what is the effect of variation? With a Decision Support System, you are able to make better operational decisions, and faster, that serve the interests of the whole organisation.
An effective solution draws on both advanced technology and human insight to help you understand your system’s behaviour. At InterDynamics, we complement our discrete event simulation software, Planimate, with over 25 years of modelling expertise that extends across many different fields and organisations.
It is this proven ability that allows us to develop decision support solutions that address the unique issues of your operation.
Our Decision Support Solutions capability is also complemented by our expertise in Fatigue Risk Management Systems. It is a unique combination that offers clients a more comprehensive service offering, including all the benefits of our proprietary fatigue assessment tool – FAID Quantum.
Managing Risk, by Balancing Capital, Operations and Outputs
Most operational or business decisions are a matter of balancing three dimensions:
Our Decision Support Systems typically include a model of the relationships and behaviours of the system, supporting a wide variety of decisions. These models support exploration of different balances between Operations (rules and constraints), Capital (assets) and Outputs (production, quality and reliability). The system behaviour is seen with greater clarity and the risk of decisions is reduced.
Component features of a Decision Support System
Typically, a Decision Support System from InterDynamics comprises some, or all, of the following components:
A simulation model, or a digital twin of a business’s operations is central to most Decision Support Systems. This ensures that the true physical constraints and interactions are understood when planning or assessing capacity.
Simulation models are far superior to the type of static calculations based on system averages. That’s because a model can simulate how sub-systems interact and influence each other. For instance, a ripple effect from an event in one sub-system can be traced through the system in order to see how other sub-systems respond.
Scheduling or rostering
A scheduling or rostering solution can be included within a Decision Support System. InterDynamics are experienced in this area, and will often apply the scheduling technique of progressive layering.
By using this technique, progressive solutions are found, starting with the most constrained asset or activity and progressing to the least constrained. A simulation model can help determine system constraints, as well as validating the proposed scheduling solution.
Whole of system modelling
At InterDynamics, our practice is to build a ‘whole of system’ model for the business. This guarantees the explicit modelling of operational silos and sub-system interfaces – where total system capacity is often most constrained.
In the case of a bulk product supply chain, for instance, a whole of system model would include mines, rail, port, shipping, stockpiling, process plants, stacking and reclaiming. By assessing the total system capacity, better decisions about the management of silos and sub-system interfaces can be made.
Maintenance and breakdowns
When used as part of a Decision Support System, simulation can explicitly model the effects of maintenance and breakdowns on business operations.
Various maintenance schedules can be assessed to determine the best outcomes for total system capacity. Additionally, the random nature of breakdowns may be assessed by running multiple models with different random outcomes.
Discrete Event Simulation modelling provides an effective way to asses variations in process rates and activity timing. Variations may occur for a number of reasons, including fluctuating seasonal demand and constantly varying process flow rates.
Human factors are important considerations in any Decision Support System. To help take fatigue and the limits of safe activity into consideration, we will often incorporate our proprietary software, FAID Quantum, within the solution.
FAID Quantum, our Fatigue Assessment Tool, is a family of scientifically supported modelling solutions that assess the risks of hours of work related employee fatigue.