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Simulation of Production and Inventory Control using the Computer Game Factorio

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Conference

ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference

Location

Waco, Texas

Publication Date

March 24, 2021

Start Date

March 24, 2021

End Date

March 26, 2021

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36402

Download Count

124

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Paper Authors

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Bonnie S. Boardman The University of Texas at Arlington

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Bonnie Boardman is a Professor of Instruction in the Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Arlington. Her primary research interests are in the engineering education and resource planning disciplines. She holds a B.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from The University of Arkansas and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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biography

Caroline C Krejci

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Dr. Caroline Krejci is an Assistant Professor of Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington. She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington. Her research is focused on the development of quantitative methodologies for the analysis and sustainable management of sociotechnical systems, including supply networks and production systems. Her email address is caroline.krejci@uta.edu.

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Abstract

This paper describes the development and testing of two online lessons on the subject of inventory and production interactions, including visual simulations of the mathematical cause and effect between important production metrics. Little’s Law is a theorem studied by students in many different disciplines. It defines the relationship between the throughput, work in process, and cycle time of any system. The theorem is interesting because it is applicable to any number of systems with a queue. An assembly line of parts, a line of customers at a bank, a backlog of planes in a holding pattern over an airport, all follow the mathematics of Little’s Law. It’s often difficult for students to imagine the interactions between these metrics and how the entire system operates. The computer game Factorio, was used as a simulation tool to help students visualize and measure the interactions and verify optimization algorithms that were reviewed as part of the lesson plan. The lesson plans were developed for junior/senior level students who were studying production and inventory control specifically. The lesson plans were developed for use both in the classroom as well as stand-alone online modules for students to work through on their own.

Boardman, B. S., & Krejci, C. C. (2021, March), Simulation of Production and Inventory Control using the Computer Game Factorio Paper presented at ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference, Waco, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/36402

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