Discrete-event simulation can be a useful tool in analyzing complex system dynamics in various industries. However, it is difficult for entry-level users of discrete-event simulation software to both collect the appropriate data to create a model and to actually generate the base-case simulation model. These difficulties decrease the usefulness of simulation software and limit its application in areas in which it could be potentially useful. This research proposes and evaluates a data collection and analysis methodology that would allow for the programmatic generation of simulation models using production tracking data. It uses data collected from a GPS device that follows products as they move through a system. The data is then analyzed by identifying accelerations in movement as the products travel and then using those accelerations to determine discrete events of the system. The data is also used to identify flow paths, pseudo-capacities, and to characterize the discrete events. Using the results of this analysis, it is possible to then generate a base-case discrete event simulation. The research finds that discrete event simulations can be programmatically generated within certain limitations. It was found that, within these limitations, the data collection and analysis method could be used to build and characterize a representative simulation model. A test scenario found that a model could be generated with 2.1% error on the average total throughput time of a product in the system, and less than 8% error on the average throughput time of a product through any particular process in the system. The research also found that the time to build a model under the proposed method is likely significantly less, as it took an experienced simulation modeler .4% of the time to build a simple model based off a real-world scenario programmatically than it did to build the model manually.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





discrete-event simulation, simulation, model building, programmatic, algorithm, supply-chain, manufacturing, GPS



Technology Emphasis

Manufacturing Systems (MS)