A growing number of business process management software vendors are offering simulation capabilities to extend their modeling functions and enhance their analytical proficiencies. Simulation is positioned as a means to evaluate the impact of process changes and new processes in a model environment through the creation of “what-if” scenarios. Simulation is promoted to enable examination and testing of decisions prior to making them in the “real” environment. This paper begins with a discussion of the drivers behind and improved results stemming from the merging of optimization and simulation technologies. Next, two detail case studies are provided (one involving hospital emergency room process and one involving staffing a personal claims process at an insurance company) to clearly illustrate the power of simulation optimization. This paper concludes with a description of the various approaches utilized to date for simulation optimization, including OptQuest, OptTek’s state of the art black box optimizer based, in part, on metaheuristic methodologies.
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