Business Process Simulator – free tool to diagram & simulate models

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The Business Process Simulator is a free, web-based tool to create diagrams of business processes and run simulations of them.

Business Process Management Simulator tool - Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.30.12 AM Business Process Management Simulator tool - Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.29.50 AM Business Process Management Simulator tool - Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.29.40 AM

Introduction

Business Process Simulator is a web application of simulation software class for the analysis of business processes.

Purpose of the Service

  • Search for bottlenecks in the business process where lack of resources or of performers;
  • Evaluation of the resource utilization such as performers of the business process functions;
  • Estimation of cost of a process instance;
  • Determination of the actual operation time from task statement until its completion;
  • Testing of “what if” hypotheses – what specifically is affected by quantitative and qualitative changes of the input process parameters.

Key Benefits

  • Simple visual modeling of business processes;
  • Step-by-step and automatic simulation of the business process course at any time interval;
  • Monitoring and analysis of the data on real-time dynamic simulation;
  • Combining the possibility of EPC visual modeling notation and ABS-costing analysis;
  • Ability to work both online and offline.

Principle of operation of business simulation doesn’t differ from existing analogues: business activity is first “drawn” (modeled) on the working canvas (workspace) gradually filling previously known business activity parameters and then the process of online business simulation starts whereupon the data required to analyze the efficiency of the business process is calculated.

Simulation Modeling

 

Model objects

In the service www.bpsimulator.com for visual modeling using the original simplified task-oriented notation of business process modeling, compatible with modeling notation such as IDEF03, eEPC and BPMN.

To add a new object to the model you need to press or move of his image from the Control Panel. Objects can be moved over the entire of application workspace. The following table provides a description of all possible objects of the model:

Object Description Example Properties
Function Set of targeted actions to be performed by one or more executors in one role
  • Repair of water supply
  • Acceptance payment
  • Sending a message
Event Cause or an intangible result of a function
  • Client’s visit
  • An error was detected
Execute Position or role of those responsible for the execution of the function
  • Motorman
  • Board member
Resource Service or tools needed to perform the function
  • Machine-tool
  • Software
Regulate Regulate document directly related to the order, conditions or results of the function
  • Manuals
  • Federal Law
Input Material or information necessary to perform the function
  • Blank
  • Statement
Output Material or information generated or acquired additional properties as a result of the function
  • Part
  • Conclusion
Procedure Set of performance features for a particular purpose
  • Applications processing
  • Approval of documentation
Tasks Generator Generator global tasks of the business process of a certain type with a certain interval for the simulation purposes
  • Client request for a loan
  • Received customer complaint
Checkpoint Auxiliary element for monitoring the process parameters at different stages its execution and control of tasks flow
  • Completing the approval stage
  • Completion of the process in due to inconsistencies detection
Comment Auxiliary element model for clarifications or comments
  • Temporary condition
  • Proposed improvements

Detail level when modeling depends on the purpose of the simulation. For example, to generate regulations of a process required in almost all objects modeling, except Tasks Generator, but for calculating the the costs enough functions and resources: executors and resources.

To delete or copy an object to press the “Delete” or “Copy” on its Properties screen described in the next section.

Object properties

the Properties screen is opened in the Control Panel by double-clicking on the object of model. Listed below are all available properties.

Property Type Description
Name Text Text description of the object. Example of function name: “Payroll preparation”
Duration Number The minimum and maximum duration of the function. For example, the duration of the function “Processing of details” is from 20 to 30 minutes.
Rule distribution of tasks from suppliers AND/XOR Logical rule for processing of tasks, received from its predecessors function. If the value is XOR function will be assigned to the execution of tasks on delivery from any predecessor on model. If the value is AND function will not be executed until by a links of all predecessors functions do not will come the same task. Example:

Example

Rule distribution of tasks to consumer AND/XOR Logical rule for distribution of completed tasks to consumers of the function. If the value is AND a completed tasks will be distributed to all function’s customers. If the value is XOR task will be distributed to the consumer with a certain Probability distribution of tasks to consumer. Example:

Example

Probability distribution of tasks to consumer Number Percentage that determines the probability distribution of tasks to a consumer of the function. The sum of all percent probability distribution of the output of one function must be equal to 100% with value of Rule distribution of tasks to consumer is XOR.
Time of delivery a task to consumer Range Minimum and maximum value of the time required for transporting completed tasks to the next consumer of the function. For example transfer time from the back-office signed copies of the contract to the customer is from 12 to 24 hours.
Cost of the resource per task Currency unit In case of set up determines the costs of resource use to perform a single task, regardless of the time spent. For example the delivery of goods by courier to the city costs 200 currency unit.
Number of employees Number The actual number of staff positions in the organizational structure or appointed as an executive of the functions. For example, 5 employees of call center to answer the incoming calls.
Cost of using of the resource Currency unit Pay rate hours of operation of the resource. For example, the make-up artist working hour is worth 1000, and lease of cloud storage just 0.0001 of currency unit.
Operating periods Range The time period available resources to perform the functions. For example, to account for the availability of dinner break necessary two periods: 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-18:00.
Tasks count Number The number of tasks formed by the generator at a certain period of work. For example, to simulate the arrival rate of new tasks 1 times per minute necessary to set the frequency to 60 tasks per hour.
Global priority Number Priority of task assignment subject to availability of queued for processing multiple tasks of different types. Such as priority of tasks for debt collection of customers, who the first time overdue.
Local priority Number Priority of task assignment subject to availability of queued for processing multiple tasks from different previous functions. For example priority for tasks returned for revision.
Joint fulfillment Boolean To perform a function necessary to assign one by one employee from available resources. For example for piano four hands require two pianist (left and right) together.
Filter tasks List The list of Tasks Generators tasks of which will be transported to the next object of flow. An empty list allows passing any tasks.

Not necessarily immediately to fill all the available properties of the object. For example, if there is no need to calculate the cost of the process instance then cost parameters of resources do not need to complete.

All objects in the model should be at least one link to another object. To create a link between objects, you must first double-click on the object – the source of links, and then click on the object – the recipient, link will be created with an arrow on the side of the second object. Link means a direct impact or relationship of one object from another. Not all objects can be linked to each other. The group of objects: Tasks Generator, Function, Events, Procedure and Check Point can be suppliers (predecessors) or consumers (followers) of each other. Other objects only as the impact on function, as shown below the diagram:

Exemplified compound of objects

An “X” and “+” at the beginning or end of the link means allocation rules “XOR” or “AND” accordingly. The numbers at the beginning of the arrows correspond to the value of the Probability distribution of tasks to consumer.

To delete an existing links must be selected by double-clicking one of the objects, all of his links will be displayed as dotted line. When you click on such a link, it will be deleted.

All manipulations with the objects of the model are reversible and can be reversed by a visual component at the bottom of the screen or pressing Ctrl+Z on the keyboard.

Cancel model changes

 

 

usiness process simulation modeling is a experiments on the business model by interaction of her with the model of the environment. As a business model used by a business process model, as a model of an environment – the service of bpsimulator.com platform through the introduction in the model external entities – Task Generators. The platform simulates the the occurrence of certain time in the real world, and calculates the state of the business process in the the time slice. To collect of complete data necessary to carry out such an analysis for each point in time during the term of the task execution, the work shift or the duration of the project. The service provides the most simple tool for simulation, available for users with any qualification.

How does it work

By the time of the process (time of model of the environment) occurs a consistent calculation of model states of objects, such as:

Example

  1. At 9:00 AM of the process time
    • Tasks Generator generates a task №1 “Customer contact”
    • The function “Checkout” checks for incoming tasks, one task is №1 “Customer contact” and checked availability of all necessary of resources.
    • For the resource “Manager” a working shift started at 9:00 AM so it is free and is assigned to perform the function “Checkout” with duration of 2 minutes.
  2. At 9:01 AM of the process time
    • Tasks Generator generates a task №2 “Customer contact”
    • Not have free resources to perform the function “Checkout”, task is assigned to the waiting queue of the function “Checkout” until the process time will be 9:02 AM
  3. At 9:02 AM of the process time
    • Tasks Generator generates a task №3 “Customer contact”
    • Task №1 “Customer contact” completed in the function “Checkout” and transferred to perform in the following functions of the process
    • The resource “Manager” is assigned to execution of the function “Checkout” with the task №2 “Customer contact”
    • Task №3 “Customer contact” is transferred to the waiting queue of the function “Checkout”

Start time of the process and duration of the simulation are set before the simulation and the time period between steps simulation is calculated automatically.

Simulation control

Control panel “Simulation” is placed in the Control Panel of the service.

Simulation control

The panel contains:

  • Initial settings
    • Start – starting time of the process in the a simulated environment
    • Duration – the duration of the simulation to the time scale of the process
  • Control buttons
    • Next – moving to next time period of the process
    • Play – automatic gradual moving to the next time period for the duration of the simulation
    • Forward – similarly Run operation with acceleration
    • Pause – pause of automatic moving to the next time period
    • Stop – full stop of the current simulation
  • Monitoring (displayed during the simulation)
    • Time of the process – state time of the business process
    • Simulation progress – ratio of the process time to the simulation duration

The first time of move button is pressed or complete stop the previous cycle of simulation time of the process is set to the time specified in the “Start” input. When moving to the next time period of the process changing its external and internal state and calculation are repeated.

To reduce the statistical error of the simulation results duration of the simulation should be increased.

Indicators of the object

During the simulation, the state of the model objects changes constantly. Some of the key status indicators of the object displayed on it during the simulation:

  • Function
    1. Tasks in the delivery – the number of tasks in the process of delivery to function
    2. In the processing queue – the number of tasks in the wait queue of free resources
    3. Tasks in the work – the number of tasks assigned to execution
    4. Tasks executed – the number of completed tasks
  • Executer
    1. Utilisation ratio – the percentage of amount of assigned employees to the total amount of employees of the resource
  • Resource
    1. Tasks executed – the total number of tasks which use the resource
  • Task Generator
    1. Tasks executed – the number created tasks
  • Checkpoint
    1. The average time from the start – the average lifetime of tasks that have passed through the checkpoint
    2. Amount of costs – the sum of the costs of execution of tasks that have passed through the checkpoint

Checkpoints

Inclusion in the model of the auxiliary object “Check Point” allows to solve the following practical tasks:

The full and phased time of task execution:

Example

The result of the simulation shows that despite the fact that the credit decision known 72 hours after сustomer contact, the customer will obtain credit only after 96 hours.

Estimating costs per unit of production:

Example

With the cost of issuing a credit equal to 6010/5=$1202, operational expenses to issue a credit equal (6010+3010)/5 =$1804.

Simulation log

Simulation log viewer is located on View section of the Control panel for detailed monitoring of progress simulation.

Log

By clicking on the link with the name of the object in the Simulation log will be selected all lines containing the name of the of the object.

 

 

As a result of simulation collects a lot of data about the business process such as function states, statuses of resources and tasks. These data allow to analyze the efficiency of the process. For convenience of analysis to user already provided consolidated data, displayed in one place – on the Dashboard. The dashboard located in View section of the Control panel. Data on the dashboard are available as during the simulation and at its end.

Dashboard

Chart of created / completed tasks

The chart is designed to analyze the timing receipts of new tasks and their completion as a business process execution result.

Chart of created / completed tasks

Using this of char can be identify the time periods when the tasks arrives more than capable of handling.

Throughput Time

The diagram “Throughput Time” shows the distribution of total operating time on a task from its creation to completion.

Throughput Time

  • Processing – average amount of a functions executions duration
  • Transportation – average amount of the transfer time from function to function
  • Queue time – average amount of time spent to the waiting of task processing

This diagram shows the possibility for improvements when necessary to reduce the runtime of a business process.

Performance

Indicator “Performance” reflects the overall performance at time of the business process.

Performance

At 100% the value of the indicator are no problems with the overall performance of the business process.

Chart of queue length

On the graph shows the distribution of the sums the number of tasks in the queue for days.

Chart of queue length

Availability and growth of the queue length means that there is performance bottlenecks of a business process in these periods.

Summary

The summary results of of simulation of a business process:

  • Tasks created – amount of the generated tasks;
  • Tasks completed – amount of tasks which have reached to the end of the business process;
  • Total Costs – amount of costs of executors and resources during the execution of the business process;
  • Takt time – calculation period between the generation of new tasks of a business process, analog of indicator of the Lean methodology;
  • Cycle time – average period between tasks which have reached the end of of a business process, аanalog of indicator of the Lean methodology.

To export all elements at the Dashboard to graphics format push the “Save as Image” button.

 

The identification of business process stage

For use a model of existing or development business process it is necessary for modeling correctly. Before modeling must first identify the business process, i.e. to determine it begins and ends (process boundaries), a result (process goals) and the role of its participants (resources of a process) that from the beginning of the business process by interacting progressively reach the process targets.

The following diagram shows an example of an incorrect identification of the functions of interaction with the customer:

Incorrect example of identification

Disadvantages of such a model:

  • It is impossible to understand the goals of the process;
  • No continuity of the process;
  • Disrupted function execution sequence;
  • Different periodicity of functions performing.

Let’s try a little change the model:

Correct example of identification

List of changes:

  • Identified three procedures (a gray figures): Сustomer engagement, Sale and Contract Follow-up, each function refers to the its procedure;
  • Event “Customer call” transformed into the “Incoming call acceptance” function;
  • The Sale procedure follows the event (a red figure) “Customer agrees to sign a contract”, which is a boundary of procedures;
  • Performance of functions of the Contract Follow-up procedure depends on various conditions.

This sample identification is not complete and correct, it serves to illustrate the results of step. For detailed information on how to identify the business processes of the organization can be found in specialized literature on Business Process Management or to receive consultation online from www.bpsimulator.com.

Combining actions in a function

If the actions are performed by one person continuously, you can combine them into a single function. For example, application procedure:

Example

Both actions can be combined into a single function because they individually have no value for a process:

Example

Examples of when combining may be unacceptable:

Example

Yet another example:

Example

Separation of a function

Another kind of errors that can be found only by instrumental – failure to comply an agreement on the level of detail of a business process model. For Example:

Example

If the operating time on the preparation of an act cannot be more than an hour, why the answer comes just a day (24 hours)?

Example

Only at this detail level can be seen where most of the time is spent on the task.

ABC costing

When conducting Activity-based costing analysis is necessary to clarify from a consultant what kinds of costs should be included in the calculation of the process’s cost. This affects the model:

Example

In this case the licenses of software refers to the capital costs, however such resources should not be included in a model.

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