Publication Abstract

Simulation Modeling: Obstacles Faced by Small and Medium Manufacturing Enterprises

Hill. T. W., Greenwood, A., Holt, R., & Walden, C. (2010). Simulation Modeling: Obstacles Faced by Small and Medium Manufacturing Enterprises. In T. Doolen and E. Van Aken (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2011 Industrial Engineering Research Conference. Reno, NV.


Simulation modeling has been acknowledged as one of the key engineering tools of the 21st century and many large enterprises such as automotive and aerospace have taken advantage of its benefits. Unfortunately, these benefits have not been generally available to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) due to various barriers. An example of one of these key barriers is the time and level of expertise it takes to build a valid simulation model of even a relatively simple manufacturing operation. This is particularly true for SMEs which are often engaged in "low volume, high variety" manufacturing environments which are complex to model adequately. This paper provides an overview of the importance of SMEs to the nation's manufacturing base and develops a prioritized list of obstacles that SMEs face in terms of tapping into the power of simulation modeling. In addition, recommendations are developed regarding how these obstacles can best be overcome and a research agenda is defined that targets both the issue of preparing a SME’s maturity level and readiness for the technology as well as technical simulation modeling issues that need to be resolved in order to make the technology more accessible.