Can collaborative simulation models help organisations improve their efficiency?
Over the last 10 years, academics within the School of Business and Economics have been researching and developing ways of involving people from different stakeholder groups in modelling processes which help identify and improve the performance of a whole range of different processes within organisations.
One of the most successful modelling tools we have developed is PartiSim – which stands for Participative Simulation. Through our research, conducted in partnership with Kent Business School, we have developed a framework, stakeholder-oriented tools and manuals, which combined with the support of an analyst and facilitator from our research team, can help organisations build models of their business processes and identify ways to become more effective.
How it works
We use a well-designed process involving tailored workshops, delivered in a non-technical way, to better understand the organisation and to help plan improvements. With the support of experts from our research team, members of the organisation attend workshops co-creating models and analysing outcomes, where they can experiment with different possible options to understand the potential impact on performance or to identify ways to become more efficient.
In PartiSim workshops managers and organisations are supported to turn findings into actionable insights and to ultimately make informed decisions. PartiSim has been used to support organisations within the health, manufacturing and finance sectors, demonstrating the applicability of the approach to different contexts.
PartiSim in action
Most recently PartiSim was used in a small financial services organisation to improve operations in their savings department, this time led by the Information Systems Analyst based within the company, supported by academics at Loughborough University.
The flexibility of our approach and the impact of PartiSim can be summed up by the Information Systems Analyst’s feedback:
“PartiSim provided a comprehensive, agile tool to identify root causes of issues experienced, specifically in relation to efficiency, performance and data accuracy. The nature of the approach is underpinned by collaborative stakeholder participation which I found to be a critical element in achieving staff buy-in, acquiring varied sets of opinions and data in a controlled yet effective manner and justifying a series of phased recommendations to exceed the objectives defined.
“Due to executing the investigation in a live working environment, multiple factors would change on a regular basis and the adaptability of the framework ensured any changes could be considered and embedded immediately, which is a huge benefit of PartiSim.” (Jamie Kirk)
Benefits of a participative approach
One of the benefits of using a participative approach is that instead of simply presenting managers with an answer to their problems, the group goes through a process of idea generation and creative thinking to reach commonly agreed and shared opinions about the action to be taken. We have seen that this approach really works as a way of getting people to buy in into the changes identified through the modelling process and it also gives them confidence to implement the changes in their organisation.
Our work on Partisim has also attracted significant attention from the research world.
Last year, the research team was invited to give a tutorial on PartiSim at the Winter Simulation Conference 2018 in Gothenburg. This was a privilege as the Winter Simulation Conference is an internationally renowned conference in the modelling and simulation field. Attendees found the tutorial inspiring and we were buzzing from the positive response and feedback received at the conference.
Following that we have received more invitations to present PartiSim to different audiences. In 2019 we are due to hold a workshop at the UK’s System Dynamics Chapter Conference and at the Wales NHS Wales Modelling Collaborative event, which we are looking forward to.
How can we help you?
If you are interested in improving the performance of your operational processes and are looking to involve and empower your employees in the delivery of the analysis, do get in touch. We would be happy to discuss how PartSim could help your organisation.
This Blog post was written by Dr Antuela Tako, Reader in Operational Research and leader of the Simulation Practice research interest group. Antuela can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter: @AntuelaTako