In recent years, computer simulation has become a mainstream decision support tool in manufacturing industry. In order to maximise the benefits of using simulation within businesses simulation models should be designed, developed and deployed in a shorter time span. A number of factors, such as excessive model details, inefficient data collection, lengthy model documentation and poorly planned experiments, increase the overall lead time of simulation projects. Among these factors, input data modelling is seen as a major obstacle. Input data identification, collection, validation, and analysis, typically take more than one‐third of project time. This paper presents a IDEF (Integrated computer‐aided manufacturing DEFinition) based approach to accelerate identification and collection of input data. The use of the methodology is presented through its application in batch manufacturing environments. A functional module library and a reference data model, both developed using the IDEF family of constructs, are the core elements of the methodology. The paper also identifies the major causes behind the inefficient collection of data.
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