Unlocking the Potential of Simulation Software: A Comprehensive Guide

Erbis
13 min readFeb 10, 2023

Simulation software is an incredibly powerful tool that can help you validate your assumptions, make better decisions, and maximize your operations. It also allows you to visualize your ideas and see how they will work out in the real world.

By using simulation software, you can experiment with different scenarios and observe how they affect your business while making decisions backed by real data. Moreover, you can use it to understand the ripple effect of changes in one area on the others. With the right approach, it can even help you get to your goals quicker and at a lower cost. In this article, we’ll show you how to tap into simulation software’s true potential for your business.

Benefits of simulation software

It is essential to have as much information as possible when making business-critical decisions. Understanding this, organizations are increasingly using advanced technologies in their day-to-today operations, and simulation software is one of such technologies. The benefits of using simulation software are many, below are just a few of them.

Fewer risks

Simulation software allows businesses to model real business processes and situations and get real outcomes. Thus, they know how particular decisions will affect a certain vector of business development and can stop obviously unprofitable operations. Additionally, they can foresee specific issues before they become a reality.

Improved communication

With the help of simulation software, team members can demonstrate to each other what result they expect from making specific decisions and better understand each other.

Reduced costs

Simulation software allows businesses to tap into new business ventures without making investments and facing financial risks. They can see pros and cons of every decision they take and, eventually, choose the most appropriate business model from the price-quality perspective.

Optimized processes

All business processes are built on cause-and-effect relationships. By changing one small detail, you can incur huge losses or make great profits. Simulation software helps you identify the foundations of your success and optimize existing business processes.

More informed decisions

Suppose you are considering launching a new product line — with simulation software, you can try out different scenarios to see how well the product will perform in the market. Will it be a hit or will it fail? How will it affect your bottom line? Simulation software can help you answer these queries and more.

How different industries use simulation software

There are many decisions that go into starting and running a business. How to price your products, what to produce, where to expand — the list goes on. And as a business grows, it becomes more and more complex.

The best simulation software can help you model your operations and identify the most valuable variables in your business ecosystem. Here is how businesses from different industries benefit from using simulation software tools.

Healthcare

Simulation software is used by medical professionals to recreate real-life scenarios. This helps them make better decisions in critical situations and improve patient care.

Here are some examples of how simulation software is currently used in healthcare:

  • Surgery. Surgeons can use simulation software to rehearse complex surgeries and plan out their approach. This helps them be more prepared for the surgery and reduces the risk of errors.
  • Training. Healthcare professionals can use simulation software to train for a wide variety of emergencies. This makes them better prepared for real-world situations and improves patient care.
  • Diagnostics. Physicians can use simulation software to diagnose medical conditions and plan treatments. This helps reduce the risk of complications and improves patient outcomes.
3D simulation surgery software

Automotive

Automotive simulation software is employed to simulate the physics of a car, from its engine performance to the aerodynamics around it. This supports engineers in testing new designs and making adjustments before releasing a car for public consumption.

The technology additionally helps engineers evaluate how the vehicle performs in varying situations and guarantee that the automobile will be dependable and secure prior to being put out into the market.

Moreover, engineering simulation software is also employed to improve manufacturing procedures. By developing virtual prototypes, businesses can evaluate different production scenarios and figure out the most effective way to manufacture their items.

Mercedes uses simulation software to design a vehicle

Real estate

Simulation software can be a powerful tool for creating a photorealistic 3D rendering of a property for marketing purposes or to aid in the sale or lease of the property. Moreover, it can also be used to generate virtual tours of a property, so potential buyers and/or tenants can visualize how the property looks and how it could meet their needs. Additionally, simulation software can be used to model and test different building scenarios; this enables construction firms to assess if a project is viable, as well as the potential risks and rewards.

Simulation software for property management

Supply chain

Supply chains are complex networks of organizations and people that need to work together to get products to consumers. Supply chain simulation software can help companies manage and optimize their logistics by modeling different scenarios and seeing how changes will impact the entire pipeline.

This type of software can be used to model different parts of the supply chain and includes:

  • warehouse simulation software
  • manufacturing simulation software
  • transportation simulation software
  • etc.
Supply chain simulation software

Retail

In the retail business, the customer is always right, however isn’t always available. Fortunately, modeling and simulation software can create real-world scenarios and show retailers what outcomes they can get.

How does this happen? Simulation software creates virtual models of their customers and allows retailers to see how they would react to different products or services. And while today’s programs cannot predict how customers will react to a new line of t-shirts or sneakers, they can tell you how best to design a store layout, place products, or run promotions.

You can also use simulation software in retail to train employees and teach them how to behave in stress situations.

Retail store simulation

The impact of simulation software on business operations

Process simulation software is a powerful tool that can help businesses across all industries streamline their operations and become more efficient. It uses mathematical models to test different scenarios and see the results in real-time.

Here are three ways process simulation software affects operations across organizations:

1. It simplifies planning and strategy development. Knowing all possible scenarios, you can clearly plan your business processes and expect the minimum or zero deviation from real-life events.

2. It reduces the quality assurance work. Since you eliminate inefficient business processes at the planning stage, your QA engineers can avoid unproductive work. Instead, they can focus on, and test more thoroughly, the processes you have launched.

3. It helps you train employees. When employees know how a process will work in the real world, they’re better prepared to handle it when it goes into effect. This can lead to smoother operations and fewer mistakes.

4. It allows for predicting outcomes. By simulating different outcomes, you can get a better idea of what might happen if a process is changed or updated. This can help you avoid costly mistakes down the road.

5. It makes business process organization more affordable. Business simulation software shows all possible workflow shortcomings and costs that you may encounter. Knowing them in advance, you can launch only those processes that have the greatest value from the price-quality perspective.

Best business process simulation software in 2023

Process simulation software is essential for companies looking to optimize their operations. It allows for testing different scenarios and making better decisions based on data rather than guesswork.

Although ready-made system simulation software may not meet specific business needs, it might be a good choice for companies that want to start process optimization immediately. So, here are our top 10 picks:

Simul8

Simul8 is designed to help model and analyze production systems during the design and production planning phases. It does not have a specific industry focus and is suitable for organizations working in healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, logistics, justice, and more.

The deployment models include cloud, SaaS, desktop, and on-premises. The Simul8 simulation software can be integrated with third-party systems such as Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets for faster data import. A nice bonus is the availability of a free trial.

Simul8 simulation software

Pros

  • smooth user experience
  • helpful training classes
  • easy-to-use tools

Cons

  • occasional technical issues
  • frequent changes in pricing
  • weak animation

Pricing: from $4995 per user per month

Free trial: yes

Arena

Arena simulation software creates a digital representation of your system based on historical data and compares it to the actual results. It uses discrete event modeling, flow event modeling, and agent-based modeling for event prediction.

The industries covered are diverse and range from aerospace to automotive to entertainment. The capabilities provided include industrial automation and control, industrial analytics, smart manufacturing, process modernization, and more.

Arena simulation software

Pros

  • fast and accurate
  • variety of features
  • ability to synchronize with Microsoft Access

Cons

  • large learning curve
  • lack of a relational database
  • available as a desktop app on Windows only

Pricing: discussed individually, depends on the required feature set

Free trial: yes

FlexSim

FlexSim model software works on a discrete-event simulation basis. It uses an optimization engine to find the best possible options for strategic and operational decision-making.

FlexSim may be a big help for manufacturers, warehouse managers, supply chain companies, healthcare organizations, airports, and container terminals. It has a rich educational portal and provides convenient educational options for students and tutors.

FlexSim simulation software

Pros

  • great 3D visualization
  • strong statistics
  • user-friendly interface

Cons

  • more complex features are not intuitive
  • little to no community tutorials
  • occasional stability issues

Pricing: discussed individually, depends on the required feature set

Free trial: yes

SimScale

With SimScale simulation software, you can create digital models of your business and test how they would perform in the real world.

SimScale is a cloud-based platform. This means you can access it from anywhere without installing any software on your computer. All you need is an internet connection and a web browser.

SimScale serves various industries. For example, it provides electronic simulation software, tools for architecture, construction, turbomachinery, valves, plant engineering, and more.

SimScale simulation software

Pros

  • availability of thermal comfort parameter outputs
  • ability to run multiple simulations in parallel
  • ease of use

Cons

  • no way to model composite materials
  • errors during CAD import
  • sometimes works slowly

Pricing: discussed individually, depends on the required feature set

Free trial: yes

AnyLogic

AnyLogic is a handy tool for making simulations of real-world systems to help you optimize and test them. It can be used for a variety of purposes such as designing new products, improving manufacturing processes, studying traffic flows, and more.

With AnyLogic, you can do 3D imaging, continuous modeling, direct manipulation, motion modeling, stochastic modeling, graphical data presentation, etc. However, the software is only available as a desktop app for Mac, Linux, and Windows.

AnyLogic simulation software

Pros

  • diverse software libraries
  • modern interface design
  • helpful support team

Cons

  • slow zoom function
  • Java code skills are required
  • occasionally runs slowly

Pricing: discussed individually, depends on the required feature set

Free trial: yes

Developing custom simulation software: a step-by-step guide

You’re the CEO or founder of a company that could benefit from simulation software. You understand the value of simulations but don’t want to pay the high price tag or be limited by the premade software on the market. What do you do?

You build your own custom simulation software. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Here are the steps:

  1. Define your requirements. What does your perfect simulation software look like? What functions and features are essential?
  2. Find a software development partner who understands your needs and has the experience to bring your vision to life.
  3. Once you’ve assembled your team of software engineers and developers, it’s time to create a plan. Include milestones and deadlines, and make sure everyone understands their specific tasks and roles.
  4. Next comes the design phase. Designing a simulation means not only understanding how the user will interact with the software, but also how to create a simulation that is accurate and produces relevant results. This is where a team of data scientists and engineers create the code and algorithms that will power the simulation.
  5. Finally, it’s time to implement the simulation. This is the process in which the software is tested and the bugs are fixed. After the approved version is released, it’s time to assess the performance analytics.
  6. Once you have the simulation working, you can deploy it across your team or organization. Make sure to include user training and feedback loops to ensure that everyone is using the software effectively.

Building your own custom simulation software may seem like a daunting task, but with the right partner, it can be an affordable and efficient solution for your business.

What tech stack is needed to create custom simulation software?

When it comes to simulating a real-world process, it’s important to have accurate and reliable software. But creating such software can be tricky — it takes a lot of technical knowledge and experience.

So, what expertise should you look for when creating a custom simulation program? The answer depends on your project needs and expectations. However, here are some key skills your team should have:

1. Experience with 3D graphics. This will help you create realistic and accurate simulations.

2. Strong programming skills. Your team should be able to write code that accurately models the behavior of the system you’re simulating.

3. Knowledge of physics and mathematics. This will give you the ability to create simulations that will accurately reflect reality.

Below is a quick rundown of the tech stack that you might use to create your software:

  • Java to write code and create a graphical user interface
  • JavaScript to create interactive 3D models
  • HTML5 to display 3D models in a web browser
  • OpenGL to render 3D models and create graphic effects
  • Qt to create a user interface and manage the application’s lifecycle

If you’re interested in learning more about the simulation software tech stack or want to discuss a potential partnership, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you!

What features should simulation software have?

When you’re creating process simulation software, you want to make sure it has the features you need for success. Here are some of the must-haves:

1. The ability to mimic real-world processes. The software should be able to accurately model how a process works, taking into account things like fluid mechanics, heat transfer, chemical reactions, etc. depending on the company’s needs.

2. The capability to modify variables. Users should be able to change variables like materials or amounts of input material and see how they affect the process.

3. Multi-format support. Depending on your project’s needs, you may need the software to be able to read/write HTML, PNG, JPEG, RTF, XML, Schema, DTD and other data formats.

4. Third-party integration capabilities. Essential integrations for process simulation software include ERP systems, CAD software and database systems.

5. Usability. It should be easy to learn and use for those not tech-savvy and easy to set up simulations with minimum user input.

Features of simulation software

Challenges associated with implementing process simulation software

Even though simulation software has many advantages, it also carries a few drawbacks. When exploring the possibility of implementing such software, it’s important to understand and be prepared for these challenges.

For instance, investing in simulation software can be costly due to initial outlay costs and ongoing investments to cover maintenance and upgrades as technology advances.

Furthermore, training employees to use the software can be difficult due to the complexities of its features. Companies should anticipate investing many hours in training employees to use the software efficiently and effectively so they can get the most out of it.

Lastly, keeping up with tech trends is essential for the optimal use of simulation software. Companies must stay updated on tech developments, and also on their competitors’ software usage, to maintain their advantage in this rapidly changing landscape.

How to optimize costs while crafting your simulation software

Here are a few tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your simulation software.

Set goals. You should have a clear understanding of what your software is supposed to do, what processes it should simulate, and what deliverables to provide.

If possible, leverage existing platforms. If you have standardized software processes, you may use off-the-shelf solutions available on the market. There is no reinventing the wheel and investing in custom software development of the existing software meets your needs.

Understand long-term costs. No matter, if you develop custom simulation software or use an out-of-the-box solution, you will bear long-term costs. These include paying to the software development team or buying paid subscriptions. You should weigh the pros and cons of each option and decide what is best for you.

Consider open-source and closed-source software. Open-source software may be more affordable than closed-source software, however, it requires more effort and expertise to maintain it. On the other hand, closed-source software is generally more expensive, yet, less demanding maintenance.

Look for investors and grants. Developing simulation software is a costly affair. However, if you create a catchy pitch deck and a working MVP (minimum viable product), the chances are that investors will allocate money for the further development of the project.

Outsource software development. If you decide to make custom software, it’s better to partner with an experienced software development company rather than hire in-house employees. An outsourcing team will save you time and money as you will instantly get access

Conclusion

Simulation software development is a big and challenging project. It requires a deep understanding of the target market, proven expertise in using advanced software technologies, and a strong commitment to excellent results.

The Erbis team meets all these requirements. We’ve been in the industry for 10+ years and know how to develop products that solve real-world problems.

The majority of our clients stay with us for years, as we work on long-term projects and allocate dedicated teams which work exclusively on one-client needs.

We also undertake short-term projects which aim to implement specific product features, modernize existing solutions, or develop not big apps from scratch.

So, if you are looking for a reliable technology partner to turn your challenging idea to life, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to help.

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