Applying Computer Simulation to Study a Multi-Modal Transportation Problem
One of the problems encountered in planning a multi-modal transportation problem is due to the randomness of weather condition. This translates to uncertain transportation time and uncertain schedule of arrival. When the transportation time changes, its effect is ripple throughout the supply chain planning. To make a good plan, the planning procedure should be somewhat adaptive to this uncertainty. Mathematical formulation is very hard and intractable due to the random nature of some parameters and its complexity when incorporating all parameters together. Computer simulation seems to be an outstanding tool of choice under this setup. The goal of a multi-modal transportation problem presented in this paper is to create a feasible schedule in a timely fashion for two types of barges to deliver the product within a time window at the destination and avoid the late penalty. Parameters in this problem are transportation cost for each mode, vehicle availability, transportation time, transferred rate, distribution capacity, weather condition, etc. We model this system and test it using the ProModel 7.0 as the simulation package. Even though data gathering for making a valid simulation model were overwhelming and the model itself was highly sophisticated, the effort was very rewarding. The outcome of this study helps decision makers to understand the actual operation, generate a multi-modal schedule that copes with the changing situation in a responsive and systematical fashion.