How to Determine the Utilization of Shared Resources

Often, in both business and manufacturing processes, there are resources that are shared by multiple product and service lines.  Determining the overall utilization of these shared resources can be difficult, particularly when the demand for the products and services that need these resources varies.  As with many business problems, a solution can be found in the application of process modeling and analysis techniques.

The first step is to define the processes that compete for the shared resource(s).  Once the triggers, activities, decisions, and outcomes of each of these processes are clearly defined; the next step is to quantify the demand for each process, the time required to complete the activities that make up each process, and to determine the probabilities associated with decision outcomes.  While the activity processing and cycle times may be relatively easy to quantify, understanding the demand will take more study.  For each process, nominally, the peak, normal, and slack demand levels should be determined. 

Once the process activities and decisions are identified and key metrics have been quantified, a process model can be composed.  The application of a process analysis engine can then allow a user to quantify the overall performance of each process independently, at each of the defined demand levels. 

To understand the performance metrics associated with resources shared across multiple processes can be complex, but, with the right solution, can be relatively painless once these preliminary activities described above are complete.  ProcessView, Bluespring’s add-in to Microsoft Visio, is one such analysis solution.  ProcessView provides a mechanism to identify shared resources by simply assigning activities to a station with a common name.  Once activities have been assigned to these ‘named stations’, a standard report is available to quantify the average processing time, queue time, and cycle time; additionally, the throughput capability, minimum work in process, average utilization, and more are also automatically calculated.  As ProcessView leverages native Visio functionality, the creation of alternative scenarios (changing demand quantities and mix, for instance), can be modeled quickly by simply changing shape attribute values and running new reports.  The ProcessView solution gives users the ability to understand the impact of changing variables (like demand) on these shared resources and to make more informed decisions about resource allocation and demand planning.

To see how ProcessView can help you improve you resource and demand planning, contact us for a demonstration.  To obtain a ProcessView Professional trial, click here.

About Bluespring

Bluespring is a software development arm of Ascendum Solutions with a singular focus on helping organizations make work flow in Microsoft SharePoint.  We provide software and services that boost an organizations use of SharePoint to get critical information to the right people at the right time ... Read More

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