Aerospace & Def Mfg

    Rocket Booster Transport Schedule & Supply Chain Analysis

    Thiokol PropulsionSituation

    At T minus six seconds, the space shuttle's three main engines ignite and pilots prepare for launch. At T minus three seconds, the main engines reach 90 percent of thrust. At T minus zero, flight computers ignite two of the world's largest segmented boosters. Boasting a combined thrust of nearly six million pounds, these leviathan motors heave the shuttle from the earth and hurl it into orbit.

    As you might guess, these 149 foot tall, 12 foot diameter, 1.3 million pound (when loaded) boosters are quite expensive to build and maintain. To combat the high costs associated with the boosters, our engineers designed the rocket motor segments to be recovered, refurbished, and reused as many as 20 times each. This complex task requires special facilities and equipment.

    To transport the booster segments to Utah for servicing, we use special rail cars. These cars are lined with uniquely developed insulation and carry instruments necessary to monitor temperature and climate for each segment. Since we own a limited number of these cars, we must carefully plan every transport to ensure that the cars are available and accessible. To do this, we adopted the use of simulation modeling.


    Master schedulers assemble a schedule of how often we need to ship loaded motors to Cape Kennedy and how often we have to bring burned out flight hardware back to Ogden. If we can maintain that schedule, we can maintain the flight rate NASA needs. Our question was how could we make certain we had enough rail cars to support the flight schedule? If we took these rail cars in and out of the shipping fleet for maintenance actions, how could we make sure we always had enough cars available to transport rocket segments?

    If schedulers increase the number of flights per year, it poses a potential problem. Since the cost of purchasing additional rail cars is enormous, we must look at other options. Rather than purchase new cars, we could pay huge premiums to one of several different railroads to put the car on a fast train instead of making the boosters wait at several different sites. Alternatives included finding a way to expedite the maintenance activities performed on rail cars or constructing additional service facilities. The problem was that we could not assess the impact of any of these options on the entire system—the supply chain is complex and contains much variation.


    With this model, we can take new launch schedules from NASA and immediately determine the most cost-effective way to meet that schedule. Now we have an alternative to purchasing $600,000 rail cars.

    The bottom line is that we are able to save time and money, NASA can meet their flight schedules, and management can feel confident with proposed changes.
    This model will be used on an ongoing basis to test possible ways to improve or completely revamp the supply chain when NASA requires a major flight schedule change. In our next project we will look at synchronized scheduling scenarios to reduce inventory and overall span time.

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    Government and Department of Defense

    Salt Lake Olympic Committee Utilizes ProModel Simulation to Help Design Logistics Systems for the 2002 Winter Games

    SALT LAKE CITY, Utah—The Salt Lake Organizing Committee has selected ProModel, a global leader in the simulation industry, as the provider of computer-generated simulation for the Olympic venues. ProModel will provide simulation tools and consulting services that will allow the Organizing Committee to evaluate a variety of areas, including spectator flow, emergency planning, and transportation systems.

    ProModel offers simulation as a method for SLOC to validate its plans and preparations for the 2002 Games. Founded in 1988 and based in Orem, Utah, ProModel will initially provide modeling for the venues in the Park City area, E Center, downtown Salt Lake City and the Snowbasin Ski Area.

    For example, the Snowbasin Interactive Transit Simulation model tested a variety of scenarios involving different numbers of buses, numbers of spectators, travel distance from park and ride lots, weather conditions and security checks. The study showed how the optimal number of buses, managed and scheduled appropriately, can reduce spectator waiting times at parking areas and security entrances, resulting in quicker venue access for increased capacity.

    "ProModel's technology allows the Organizing Committee to view the impact of real-life changes in a risk-free environment by testing and evaluating new ideas in our logistical plans," said Grant Thomas, SLOC senior vice president of venues. "The animation gives us an insightful look and valuable feedback before we go into a live, operational mode at the venues. We sincerely thank ProModel for providing this cutting-edge service."

    "ProModel is proud to have the opportunity to apply its own cutting-edge technology to visualize the logistics of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games," said Peter Kalish, president of ProModel Corporation. "Through ProModel's software, SLOC will test different operating scenarios so that the best logistical decisions can be made, well before the event begins. We are thrilled to be a contributor to the success of our hometown Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games."

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    Project ER One - Emergency Preparedness

    "I was very pleased. The simulation certainly enhanced Project ER One. ProModel's team and approach ensured our work was complete, meaningful and able to contribute to other large emergency services providers facing related issues. We now know we have the capacity for optimal medical management."

    —  Mark Smith, M.D, FACEP
    Chair, Emergency Medicine Washington Hospital Center Principal, Project ER One


    Project ER One was a federally funded initiative, developed in conjunction with Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC to design an emergency department facility and the necessary processes capable of handling sudden patient volume increases due to terrorist attack or natural disaster. Through active guidance from Hospital Center Physicians Mark Smith MD, FACEP, Craig F. Feied MD, FACEP, FAAEM, and Michael P. Pietrzak MD, FACEP, and the work of architects, Pickard Chilton, Frank Zilm, and HKS Inc., a unique spatial design was developed.

    ProModel Healthcare Solutions was retained to develop and assess the required processes to make the facility productive, and to validate the overall functionality of the design.


    • Analyze the efficacy of the facility design

    • Develop optimal processes and staff utilization patterns to enhance patient safety and increase patient flow well beyond initial expectations.

    • Test various disaster and patient care process scenarios showing an extensive variety of patient types and volumes

    • Determine throughput and bottlenecks, staffing requirements, wait times and possible morbidity rates

    • Evaluate alternative processes and procedures for patient flow and processing

    The results of Project ER One include, but are not limited to, revolutionary design concepts, patient processing concepts, and unique insight into mass casualty situations. Due to the success of this highly flexible and transferable simulation model, the ER One Institute planned to use the simulation in the future as ER One concepts of space and process design are used by facilities around the world to prepare for worst case scenarios.

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    Service Level Improvement through Chain Optimization


    A $900 million division of a leading appliance manufacturer was not meeting customer delivery level requirements even though inventory levels were high, product was available, and manufacturing capacity was not an issue. The new management team believed that if this division could become more responsive to customer requirements, without increasing inventory, there would be major financial benefits as well as increased customer satisfaction.

    The management team felt that the root cause and potential resolution lay in the current supply chain strategy. In an effort to improve service levels, a new supply chain network strategy was designed. Due to the complexity and impact of the changes under consideration, and to understand the true workings of such a network, it became necessary to study it in great detail prior to implementation. Management concluded the only adequate tool was business simulation.


    The management objectives for undertaking this project were to:

    • Improve service levels by implementing a new supply chain network strategy

    • Maintain or decrease current inventory levels and carrying costs

    • Increase revenue from this division


    Analyses from the simulation solution showed that higher service levels at lower total costs could be achieved by closing the factory warehouses and shipping directly to regional distribution centers.

    Conservative estimated results were as follows:

    • Improved service level

    • Lower projected lost sales due to product unavailability

    • Direct savings $12,000,000 annually, and 12% reduction in inventory carrying costs due to closing three factory warehouse locations

    • Gained capability to evaluate potential future changes to the supply chain including costing, delivery timing, truck fleet sizing and supply chain maximum performance against hypothetical factory output

    • ROI >1000%

    Manufacturing Results

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    The pharmaceutical firm's cost of outsourcing the production of its API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) requirements, already millions of dollars annually, has been increasing dramatically and was expected to rise in the future. Therefore, management had requested that Clinical Pharmacology reduce the cost of API production while maintaining the appropriate Clinical Trial supply service levels.

    In an effort to meet management's request, the Clinical Pharmacology team needed to understand the true production capability and costs of its high-level supply chain over the next ten years. Additionally, the team was opening a new Kilo Lab to provide increased internal capacity.

    ProModel was engaged to develop a simulation solution which would allow the firm to determine the optimal way to reduce API supply chain cost, while still maintaining the required service level.


    The overall client objective was to minimize the cost of the API supply chain, both now and in the future, while maintaining the appropriate Clinical Trial service levels.

    Cumulative Outsourced Dollars per Year


    • Helped determine how to reduce the number of outsourced batches by more than 90%, which saves the company millions of dollars annually.

    • Helped identify how to increase the overall service level from 75% on-time deliveries to well above 90%.

    • Provided a solution to continually predict the demand of the company's drug development pipeline on their API Supply Chain.

    • Helped determine process capacity for each of the global API facilities.

    • Helped identify and eliminate supply chain bottlenecks.

    • Helped determine the optimal plan for global load sharing (region to region).

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    Passenger and Baggage Flow Optimization at JFK Airport

    Passenger and Baggage Flow Optimization


    A major airline needed to modify current operating procedures for passenger and baggage flow through the airport terminal. Due to escalated security, procedures needed to be revised to make sure that passengers and baggage would not miss flights due to systemic delays from check-in through boarding.

    ProModel's ServiceModel application was considered the best option because it takes into consideration the tremendous variability of both the passenger arrivals and the security scanning process times required.


    Evaluate impact of layout, staffing, queue size and security processes on passenger and baggage processing


    From the model, the carrier was able to determine how to best accommodate the impact of new security measures on the various stages of the process. They could take into account patterns in shifting passenger volume and show which additional resources would have a positive impact on service levels. In addition, the model can be used to experiment with changes in staffing and layout design in the future as security policies change and passenger volume increases.

    JFK Baggage Flow

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