Process Playground

Discrete Event Simulation

Discrete event simulation, hereafter just “simulation,” is the recreation of your process as a computer model. You then run the model to examine the process and to experiment with changes. The simulation model allows you to pilot various process changes and predict their outcomes before committing time and resources to making those changes to the actual process.

To better understand how simulation works, let's start with understanding the three basic components of a simulation: blocks, items, and connectors.


Blocks are the foundation of your process, representing its composite steps. Blocks include components such as queues, activities where work is performed, decision points in the process, and various other tasks. The blocks, where process work is performed and items are transformed, are linked to others through connectors, which define the flow of items in the model.

Learn more about blocks here.


Items in the model represent what the process transforms. This can be physical work-in-process (WIP) in a manufacturing process or information-in-process in a transactional process (e.g., loan application, insurance claim). In every process, items move between blocks as they move through the process, carrying various pieces of information (e.g., name, type, quantity, color, etc.). These pieces of information are called parameters, and they define and document the item and the path the item has taken through the process.

Learn more about items here.


Connectors create pathways between the various blocks in the model, allowing items to flow between blocks. The blocks themselves may contain rules about which items can flow through them, blocking or opening the paths various items can follow through the process.

Learn more about connectors here.

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