What is Decision Support?

A Decision Support System is an invaluable business tool, supporting and informing vital workplace 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 help to reduce risk, avoid pitfalls and highlight areas for improvement, in industries such as manufacturing, mining, transportation and logistics.

Our solutions replicate your business – visual, animated and configurable so you can test and compare endless scenarios. What if we had more trucks, what if we has less stockpile capacity, what if this process was faster? With a Decision Support System , you are better equipped to make operational decisions that serve the interests of the whole organisation. At the same time, you can avoid the problems you already know about – and some you may not.

An effective solution draws on both advanced technology and human insight to illuminate system behaviour. At InterDynamics, we complement our animated simulation software, Planimate, with an unrivalled expertise that extends across many different fields and organisations.

It is this proven ability that allows us to develop solutions that address the unique issues of your organisation, while recognising the commonalities that exist between businesses.

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.

Balancing Capital, Operations and Outputs

Most operational or business decisions are a matter of balancing three dimensions:

Decision Support

 

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:

System simulation
A simulation model 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.

Activity variation
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
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, within the solution.

FAID our Fatigue Assessment Tool is a family of scientifically supported modelling solutions that assess the risks of hours of work related employee fatigue.

Find out more about FAID

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