Plot a clear path to your business future

case studies

Developing a five year asset management plan

Powersim developed a simulation model for the risk management team of a major retail utility company trying to develop a five year asset management plan to conform to a new regulatory regime whilst simultaneously delivering them maximum value. The model allowed them to cope with the constraints and trade-offs inherent in risk management in a utility industry. The simulation also used an advanced optimisation engine to manage the risk reduction coming from the improvements made over the five year planning period whilst ensuring

  • physical and labour constraints inherent in the system are not violated and;
  • important regulatory targets within the system are met in each year of the five year period and;
  • internal cost targets for the organisation are observed.

Once the optimal solution was found the system was able, through a sophisticated graphical interface to help the user to understand the factors driving the optimal solution, which constraints where important and which were not, and to experiment with the parameters to find the sensitivity of the solution to possible uncertainties in data, and hence the robustness of the solution.

The final result of this process was a tool that develops solutions that are both optimal and robust to possible changes within the risk management process, and more importantly develops solutions that are understood and trusted by the risk managers who will have to implement them.

Balancing short and long term requirements to deliver optimal solutions

Gas wholesale companies need to match a set of long-term supply contracts with the demand that they have been contracted to fill. Companies can use a variety of mechanisms to achieve this matching, including the use of gas storage and spot-market trades, each with their own related costs, benefits and contractual implications. 

This matching takes place on a number of levels:

  • Short-term focus on the day-to-day balancing of gas supply and demand;
  • Medium-term focus on the successful management of contracts to ensure that obligations are met and that contracts are successfully exploited; and
  • Long-term focus on sales, storage and production plans to ensure that strategies are consistent and profitable.

At present, gas wholesale companies use a mixture of management experience and some calculation tools to help them make these decisions. But, often decisions that appear optimal on the day may turn out to have sub-optimal effects on the company's strategic plan. With an optimisation tool, however, a company can ensure that a selected solution is indeed optimal according to accepted criteria. The result is guaranteed savings.

The Focal Point Gas Optimiser takes existing knowledge about the gas markets, and assumptions and predictions of the future demands and prices within these markets. Using complex optimisation algorithms, it finds a contract-matching solution over timescales varying from day-to-day operation to 5-year strategic plans which ensures that day-to-day decisions remain consistent with the overall strategic direction and empowers management to construct a more coherent overall plan.

Building the manpower plan to support the development of the 21st century Army

We created two strategy simulations for the British Army, Directorate of Army Personnel Strategy, to evaluate the sustainability of the entire manpower organisation over the next twenty-five years, and the ways in which organisational forecasting and command processes, as well as the manpower dynamics of recruitment, training, progression and loss, determine the organisation’s ability to respond to a changing requirement for staff.

The study involved the analysis of an existing model which the Army used to forecast the effects of manpower policies, highlighting its shortcomings for the purpose of strategy development, as well as showing how the very different interpretations of the results of the model led to confusion and consistently missed, unachievable targets.

The simulations identify the gap between the Army's manpower requirement over a 25-year period and the availability of manpower that would result from simulated policies and environmental scenarios. They also show how varying career paths and manpower policies will change the way in which this gap is segmented between the Army's many career paths and across age profiles, and hence the mix of competencies that will result under alternative manpower strategies.

The tools were used to investigate novel revisions to the set of planning processes that surrounds the actual Army training system, uncovering opportunities for significant cost savings and operational enhancements which are now being investigated by the Army. The Army used our findings from analysis with the tool to define the scope of a multi-million pound procurement from industry.

British Army

Building the manpower plan to support the development of the 21st century Army

We created two strategy simulations for the British Army, Directorate of Army Personnel Strategy, to evaluate the sustainability of the entire manpower organisation over the next twenty-five years, and the ways in which organisational forecasting and command processes, as well as the manpower dynamics of recruitment, training, progression and loss, determine the organisation’s ability to respond to a changing requirement for staff.

The study involved the analysis of an existing model which the Army used to forecast the effects of manpower policies, highlighting its shortcomings for the purpose of strategy development, as well as showing how the very different interpretations of the results of the model led to confusion and consistently missed, unachievable targets.

The simulations identify the gap between the Army's manpower requirement over a 25-year period and the availability of manpower that would result from simulated policies and environmental scenarios. They also show how varying career paths and manpower policies will change the way in which this gap is segmented between the Army's many career paths and across age profiles, and hence the mix of competencies that will result under alternative manpower strategies.

The tools were used to investigate novel revisions to the set of planning processes that surrounds the actual Army training system, uncovering opportunities for significant cost savings and operational enhancements which are now being investigated by the Army. The Army used our findings from analysis with the tool to define the scope of a multi-million pound procurement from industry.

Clear, communicable and cost effective strategic pipeline management

The aim of Training Group Defence Agency (TGDA) is to contribute to the achievement of military capability across all branches of the services through the provision of an efficient and effective training system. The system itself is highly complex, with multiple career paths, simultaneous operations and a propensity for delays to build up between elements of the pipelines.

If the organisation fails to meet the output levels forecast for each stream, very expensive assets are underutilised and the nation’s security is potentially put at risk; if it over-achieves, it incurs unnecessary training costs and manpower churn and causes operational risk due to over-reliance on inexperienced pilots. Specifically, following a series of policy changes and changes in the demand for output in different parts of the system, backlogs were building in the pipeline and TGDA recognised the need for radical new policies but found itself ill-equipped to evaluate their consequences.

We created the Strategic Pipeline Planning Tool to foresee and appraise the knock-on effects of proposed changes to any part of the system on trained output and other performance measures for each training stream. It ensures that today's policies in this time-lagged and interdependent manpower system will achieve their objectives over a period of years, offers the British forces significant cost savings by predictably and verifiably minimising backlogs of students in the flying training pipeline, and enables effortless and robust explanation of the need for various manpower policies and resources to senior military management.

Ministry of Defence

Clear, communicable and cost effective strategic pipeline management

The aim of Training Group Defence Agency (TGDA) is to contribute to the achievement of military capability across all branches of the services through the provision of an efficient and effective training system. The system itself is highly complex, with multiple career paths, simultaneous operations and a propensity for delays to build up between elements of the pipelines.

If the organisation fails to meet the output levels forecast for each stream, very expensive assets are underutilised and the nation’s security is potentially put at risk; if it over-achieves, it incurs unnecessary training costs and manpower churn and causes operational risk due to over-reliance on inexperienced pilots. Specifically, following a series of policy changes and changes in the demand for output in different parts of the system, backlogs were building in the pipeline and TGDA recognised the need for radical new policies but found itself ill-equipped to evaluate their consequences.

We created the Strategic Pipeline Planning Tool to foresee and appraise the knock-on effects of proposed changes to any part of the system on trained output and other performance measures for each training stream. It ensures that today's policies in this time-lagged and interdependent manpower system will achieve their objectives over a period of years, offers the British forces significant cost savings by predictably and verifiably minimising backlogs of students in the flying training pipeline, and enables effortless and robust explanation of the need for various manpower policies and resources to senior military management.

Clear and coherent planning of manpower resources at individual operational stations

Based on a legacy spreadsheet planning model, with many hidden and ill-understood assumptions, we created the Dynamic White Ticket, a fully dynamic simulation and resource-planning tool used by RAF training stations.

The tool is used to set and monitor the manpower and equipment resource requirements of every RAF training station in the UK, and has resulted in significant cost savings, clear and common thinking about the interpretation of planning assumptions, a fresh ability to ramp up levels of highly trained manpower at the times they will be required, a fresh clarity of communication between the planning HQ and the stations themselves and swift, effective justification of the necessary resources to meet alternative future scenarios.

We also created a variant of the same manpower planning tool for Strike Command (STC), which manages the operational squadrons including the operational training of military aviator students.  With only spreadsheet-based planning tools, planners were finding it increasingly difficult to justify the future size of their training establishment and the level of resources such as airframes and simulators that they should invest in.

STC has adopted the tool across the organisation. Their benefits result from managing the fleets of existing training squadrons to better achieve the planned requirement for future activity, in helping a range of stakeholders around the organisation to understand why it has been continually missing targets, and in planning the size and shape of future training squadrons over a period in which changing technology will impose radically different operating methods.

Royal Air Force

Clear and coherent planning of manpower resources at individual operational stations

Based on a legacy spreadsheet planning model, with many hidden and ill-understood assumptions, we created the Dynamic White Ticket, a fully dynamic simulation and resource-planning tool used by RAF training stations.

The tool is used to set and monitor the manpower and equipment resource requirements of every RAF training station in the UK, and has resulted in significant cost savings, clear and common thinking about the interpretation of planning assumptions, a fresh ability to ramp up levels of highly trained manpower at the times they will be required, a fresh clarity of communication between the planning HQ and the stations themselves and swift, effective justification of the necessary resources to meet alternative future scenarios.

We also created a variant of the same manpower planning tool for Strike Command (STC), which manages the operational squadrons including the operational training of military aviator students.  With only spreadsheet-based planning tools, planners were finding it increasingly difficult to justify the future size of their training establishment and the level of resources such as airframes and simulators that they should invest in.

STC has adopted the tool across the organisation. Their benefits result from managing the fleets of existing training squadrons to better achieve the planned requirement for future activity, in helping a range of stakeholders around the organisation to understand why it has been continually missing targets, and in planning the size and shape of future training squadrons over a period in which changing technology will impose radically different operating methods.

Plotting the path to successful brand growth in FMCG

The success of an FMCG brand in a developing market depends on more than just marketing and advertising spend. Brand owners need to sustain awareness within the population, build loyalty to the brand and hence manage consumer retention, recruit and incentivise stores to stock the brand in prominent places and maintain the supply to the stores. A brand is only successful if all of these levers are managed holistically – build awareness with consumers when the stores can not be supplied or refuse to stock the product and you waste money. Timing is everything.

Our client wanted to significantly increase market share following a stall in the growth of its brand. Plans abounded but there were inconsistent point solutions. Conventional market analysis could not determine how much of which advertising, promotion and retention campaign to run and when to run them. They faced significant risks and potential missed opportunities.

With our interactive simulation enabling brand managers to experiment with the dynamics of supply, sales and promotional influences and competition, the client was able to observe market dynamics at both a macro and micro level. The simulation yielded radical conclusions about the profitability of the brand, and an enduring ability to build on existing sources of consumer research data.  The brand owner made significant changes to its investment strategy for the brand following these insights.

FMCG Company

Plotting the path to successful brand growth in FMCG

The success of an FMCG brand in a developing market depends on more than just marketing and advertising spend.  Brand owners need to sustain awareness within the population, build loyalty to the brand and hence manage consumer retention, recruit and incentivise stores to stock the brand in prominent places and maintain the supply to the stores. A brand is only successful if all of these levers are managed holistically – build awareness with consumers when the stores can not be supplied or refuse to stock the product and you waste money. Timing is everything.

Our client wanted to significantly increase market share following a stall in the growth of its brand. Plans abounded but there were inconsistent point solutions. Conventional market analysis could not determine how much of which advertising, promotion and retention campaign to run and when to run them. They faced significant risks and potential missed opportunities.

With our interactive simulation enabling brand managers to experiment with the dynamics of supply, sales and promotional influences and competition, the client was able to observe market dynamics at both a macro and micro level. The simulation yielded radical conclusions about the profitability of the brand, and an enduring ability to build on existing sources of consumer research data.  The brand owner made significant changes to its investment strategy for the brand following these insights.

Profitably delivering what the customer wants in a dynamic environment

The selling of financial services products to the public is changing rapidly. Customers are getting more selective about the channels that they want to use to buy and service their financial products with a significant move towards direct channels such as the internet, ATMs and telephone and away from mediated channels and the high street. But their channel choice is affected by the product complexity and the customers perceived familiarity with the product. It is getting much harder to balance what the customer wants with what can be delivered profitably.

This major building society wanted to continue its impressive rate of growth in its major product lines but was unsure about how to deal with the fast changing customer requirements and its own capacity constraints. It commissioned a Powersim simulation of their growth strategy to explore options for maintaining its desired growth rate and for evaluating the necessary resource investments and their long term implications on the organisation’s customer base.

The Powersim simulation enabled non-technical senior managers to experiment with the effects of varying the product and channel mix on its human and technological resources whilst considering the face changing market. The society is currently using the simulation to derive its new retail strategy

Building Society

Profitably delivering what the customer wants in a dynamic environment

The selling of financial services products to the public is changing rapidly. Customers are getting more selective about the channels that they want to use to buy and service their financial products with a significant move towards direct channels such as the internet, ATMs and telephone and away from mediated channels and the high street. But their channel choice is affected by the product complexity and the customers perceived familiarity with the product. It is getting much harder to balance what the customer wants with what can be delivered profitably.

This major building society wanted to continue its impressive rate of growth in its major product lines but was unsure about how to deal with the fast changing customer requirements and its own capacity constraints.  It commissioned a Powersim simulation of their growth strategy to explore options for maintaining its desired growth rate and for evaluating the necessary resource investments and their long term implications on the organisation’s customer base.

The Powersim simulation enabled non-technical senior managers to experiment with the effects of varying the product and channel mix on its human and technological resources whilst considering the face changing market. The society is currently using the simulation to derive its new retail strategy

You have not selected a case study to view.

Back to top

For more information on how our business process simulations can enhance your business future, contact a Powersim consultant on 01483 467220

Call Us: 01483 467220