3D simulations help retailers implement processes without restricting their operation

Changing storage processes and testing new approaches in retail are usually time consuming and expensive. The application of 3D simulations is, therefore, an effective solution. Moreover, the simulations allow you to try everything very quickly in a virtual environment without limiting real operation.

Currently, there is a high turnover rate of employees in distribution centres and warehouses. Retailers, therefore, seek ways to increase labour productivity while facilitating the commencement of employees in a new environment. There are many ways to simplify processes, starting from the implementation of voice picking (voice-directed warehousing) through conveyors to robots. Therefore, it is really challenging to choose the optimal solution. By using 3D simulations, the logistic experts can make their decision without having to stop the operation of part of the warehouse for a week.

The modelling software helps the retailer obtain the digital twin of the existing warehouse or its part, a demonstration of a particular process, or a preview of future premises and operations. The retailers can use the software and experiment and determine which solution, based on the entered parameters, have the best impact on productivity. Moreover, they can observe the synchronisation with other processes and identify possible weaknesses. By doing so, they can test different scenarios, such as how a varying number of warehouse workers handle picking goods while utilising staggered work shifts. Consequently, the system processes all the combinations and identifies the best.

From production to healthcare

The principal added value of 3D simulations is that they reduce the time and costs associated with testing any changes that would otherwise occur in the real-world environment. When introducing new processes or entire warehouses, the logistician has the opportunity to set up and test everything and go live only when he chooses the optimal variant.

Such systems can be applied the best in logistics, in the simulation of material movement, in production, to analyse various scenarios, in the distribution of workload, or in the customer areas of stores and call centres. Similarly, it can also be used in infrastructure addressing the issue of car parks distribution or simulating passenger flows at airports or railway terminals, as well as in the healthcare sector, assessing various crisis scenarios to determine personnel planning to reduce the possibility of mixing individual shifts and, thus, limit the scope of any plausible quarantine measures as much as possible.

Main benefits of 3D simulations

  • Simulation of current and future processes and premises in a virtual environment,
  • The possibility to immediately compare changes and different scenarios (workload of operators, location of machines, etc.),
  • Lower time and financial performance in comparison with testing conducted under real-life operating conditions,
  • Adding of 3D drawings in various formats, including AutoCAD,
  • Simulation of situations for limited contact of people, whether warehouse workers or end customers in the store (e. g. when people have to keep social distancing of two meters),
  • A proven and continuously innovated solution that has been on the market for over 20 years.

Models are variable, and you do not need any licenses to work with them. Besides, it is possible to load data from Excel spreadsheets or change parameters as appropriate. Moreover, any non-standard elements can be programmed into the software, which simplifies its application.

The correct data underlies everything

However, the model can work properly only if it uses all the necessary data from the beginning - speed and load capacity of trucks, number of workers, space layout, capacity and productivity of machines, etc. Each model requires a different amount of data; the decisive element is the goal definition. The 3D simulation outputs include detailed analyses, graphs, spreadsheets and statistics, so that you can easily choose, based on the results provided, which innovations and procedures are best for the given warehouse or premises or what still needs to be fine-tuned.

3D simulations are a very powerful and effective solution that helps facilitate decision-making when implementing new processes and changes to maximise the utilisation of all resources and achieve the highest efficiency in various industries, not only in the retail sector. As a result, they significantly reduce the time and costs incurred that would be otherwise associated with testing changes in the real-world environment.

7. 4. 2021

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