Aiming for the optimum of each separate department often does not give the optimum result of all departments combined. Technical simulation is one of todays most advanced tools to obtain detailed information on any process. The Enterprise Dynamics Logistics platform introduces technical tools to simulate company's internal material flow, while providing common process elements which can be specified by certain parameters. Recreating a copy of the processes in ED does not only analyze current material flows but contains the possibility to calculate through a variety of alternatives, on which progressive company decisions can be based.

A company's optimum, the result of all departments working together successfully, is a production chain beginning with any purchase of a customer, not starting with the order of resources but with the demand of the final product or service. This system of customer or demand driven production chains is based on a so called "Kanban-process", whereas pre-installed production parts and, finally, resources are not ordered until the previous chain member request them.


This project aims to create a new link in the process which results in a better simulation of the actual material flow of a Kanban-managed system. In the development there were two major structural aspects of the simulation in ED which had to be considered. First: processing based on event-triggered actions. If information is sent to another atom in the model, a related action may have to be taken at a later time. For this to happen, the simulation designer has to determine what events trigger an evaluation process of the available information and what kind of circumstances lead to actions. Concerning a Kanban-simulation this means that the atom controlling the Kanban process on one side has to keep track of the used and requested Kanbans, and on the other side needs to listen to every event that could result in the transport of a product. Second: a push-based transport of atoms.

Almost every basic atom in the ED libraries was programmed to simply open its input channels when it has free capacity and to let previous atoms "push" product-atoms into it. This is problematic for the design of a Kanban-driven simulation, as the latter involves the process of requesting products at a former atom in the model, thus it may be referred to as "pull"-based transport simulation. This difference might seem subtle but it highly influences the way an atom has to be designed which on one hand has "pulling" transport functions, but on the other hand is supposed to be easily integrated into a simulation model with predesigned standard atoms.



These two factors were mainly responsible for the concept of the "Kanban-Switch" which may be described as a complex "product traffic light". As already mentioned, it is able to keep track of the used and requested Kanbans and possesses a variety of functions that are activated at various times to evaluate the available information. That way it checks at every relevant moment if for example production material has to be ordered from a supplier, according to the Kanban rules. It can be used with every standard or custom transporting atom and needs only slight code additions to be integrated into a simulation model.

Ms. Hildebrandt and Mr. Schönteich started their dual degree at the Nordakademie in 2009. The Kanban project was an assignment which they wrote together with Professor Ahrens and Mr Hieronymus. More details about Kanban simulation in ED can be found in the research report "Abbilden von Kanban-Lagerprozessen anhand computergesteuerter Simulation". For more information please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .