The ProModel Training Experience

RPriceHere at ProModel we realize that successful use of our tools usually begins with great training. To that end, we have a variety of training options available. The course you choose will depend on your product and situation. These options are described on our Training page. This post is about our classroom based trainings, our facilities, and what you can expect if you choose to join us! Regardless of your experience with business travel, it’s usually nice to know what to expect when you reach your destination.

We have regularly scheduled classes held in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Orem, Utah. These classes usually last two or three days (depending on the course) and run from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm local time, with an hour break for lunch.

Our classrooms are set up with a computer for each student and a projector screen at the front. Your instructor will demonstrate and explain new concepts and then allow you time for hands-on implementation of the exercises on your training computer. If you bring your own laptop or wireless device, you are welcome to use our classroom Wi-Fi connection to access the internet during breaks.

Usually we have between three to six students in a class at a time, so you’ll have plenty of time and attention from our instructors, as well as an opportunity to get to know other ProModel customers and hear of their experiences and applications of the tool. We provide drinks and snacks throughout the day, but then “set you free” to grab lunch on your own. Frequently students will explore new restaurants together, but we understand that some clients need time on their lunch hour to catch up with business at the office.

We’ll start with a walkthrough of the Orem Training Facilities. You’ll want to fly into the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). Our office is less than an hour south of the SLC airport. For a Google map with directions to our office (and other local amenities), click here. You know you’re in the right place if you see this building:

It might be white and covered with snow, but don’t worry about the weather, that just means good skiing in the mountains. Seriously, though, Utah is well prepared for snowy conditions and getting around in winter weather is not usually a problem. The snow typically melts within a day or two in “the valley” (where we are) and sticks around up in “the mountains.” Our offices are in the east side of building C. You can take the elevator or the stairs to the third floor. As you exit the elevator (or stairs), you’ll be in our lobby. The entrance to our Orem training room is right there in the lobby.

The training room is equipped with computers for each student.

And a beautiful view out the window of Mount Timpanogos (which rises to 11,749 ft):

Allentown Office

If you plan on joining us in Pennsylvania, you can view a Google map with our location and surrounding amenities by clicking here. If flying, you may want to consider flying in to Lehigh Valley (ABE) – a very short drive to the office, Philadelphia (PHL), or Newark (EWR).

You know you’re in the right place when you see this building:

Our offices are on the third floor (just like in Orem–we must like the third floor). Just head down the hall and you’ll see the entrance to the Allentown training room on your left.

In both offices we have kitchen facilities you are welcome to use, including a microwave, fridge, K-cup coffee machine, and complimentary snacks.

We hope this information helps you feel welcome and excited for a visit to our training facilities. If you have any questions about travel, accommodations, training content or schedules, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

General Training course information can be found here and additional company facility and travel information can be found here.

Rochelle Price, Director of Training Services


Higher Learning with ProModel!

It’s that time of year again… Back to School!  Many parents will be celebrating this joyous occasion very soon.   So it’s with the back to school spirit that we would like to provide you with a new and improved online library of our modeling and simulation resources as well as to remind you of our training and academic programs.  The ProModel Online Library includes a variety of documents, videos and links to customer success stories, testimonials as well as white papers and value propositions all related to simulation-based predictive analytics.  You can access the library from the links in this post, as well as from the “Quick Links” section in the footer of every page on

Where to find the online library

In addition, if you are looking for training be sure to check out the following resources:

It’s also back to school for professors as well, so if you want to provide a leading-edge simulation experience for your students, ProModel now has five unique academic packages including ProModel, MedModel, ServiceModel, Process Simulator  and our new EPS (Enterprise Portfolio Simulator) module for project and portfolio planning.

Stop back next week to check out a blog post by our Director of Training Services to learn more about ProModel product training programs!

Mastering Complexity – Dave Tucker

Dave TuckerA recent article highlighting the top ten manufacturing trends for 2012 projected by the International Data Corporation (IDC) stated that “success in the intelligent economy will be achieved through engaged corporations.” The article goes on to specify that engaged corporations are those “that will master complexity.” Bob Parker, group vice president of IDC said that “If you are better at mastering complexity, you’ll have a competitive advantage.” So how does a company excel at mastering complexity?

Part of my experience dealing with complexity comes from having invested over 20 years working on the Space Shuttle Program. The Space Shuttle is the most complex aircraft in the world. And until recently, the Shuttle fleet served as the primary launch vehicles for sending American astronauts into space. The Space Program is full of complexity not unlike manufacturing and most other businesses. Through hundreds of improvement projects spanning across two decades, I had the privilege of assisting many dedicated aerospace workers that were eager to streamline and improve cumbersome processes.

In order to ensure success and remove complexity, I saw that teams and successful companies needed several things:

1. A focus on instilling simplicity
2. Champions that provide guidance
3. Robust tools that assist with analysis
4. Innovative ideas and the power to implement them

Today the focus on instilling simplicity is called “Lean.” One of its basic tenets is to identify and eliminate waste within a process. You can’t get any simpler than that. And while there are many Lean concepts and techniques, my experience is that they all come back to that very basic concept: get rid of stuff in your processes you do not need — remove the waste!

It is a given that some improvement Champions are needed in Senior Management within a company. Without at least one high level Executive leading the way towards process improvement, many “bottom-up” programs quickly die when pushed only by “front-line” employees frustrated with the lack of change. Besides Senior Champions, companies successful at process improvement also provide specially trained staff to assist project efforts throughout the organization. Some companies call these professionals various titles including: Improvement Coordinators, Process Specialists, Black Belts, Master Black Belts, Master Champions, etc.

The third requirement to master complexity and be successful is to have robust tools for data analysis. As a process improvement professional with over 30 years’ overall experience, I can honestly say that the most impressive tools I have used for process improvement are discrete-event simulation applications. These tools allow the user to create a “model” of a process that simulates a real process using a personal computer. The model is loaded with actual process data and once validated, it provides a vehicle for the user to run various “what if” scenarios and help determine the best actions to make improvement. This has been called “predictive analytics.” Simulation tools are appealing because frankly it is much cheaper and easier to try out ideas on a computer than in the real world.

A fourth thing companies need to master complexity is innovative ideas and the power to implement them. In my experience, every employee already knows a lot of ways to improve their key processes and streamline their job. We have very smart workers in U. S. businesses today. The challenge is getting their management to listen to them and empower them to make change.

Organizations that learn how to reduce and master complexity in 2012 will likely find themselves prosperous and successful for many years. As Mr. Parker at IDC has said “We are changing to the engaged organization.” Will your company make the change?

Looking Back: ProModel Goes to the Olympics!

With the 2012 Summer Games in London currently captivating the world, you might wonder how such a massive spectacle is put together and properly performed. Well, ProModel knows firsthand what it takes to pull off the Olympics!  Join us as we take a look back at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and the ProModel Solution that made it all possible!

Click on the video below to view a news broadcast detailing ProModel’s involvement in the 2002 Winter Olympics

The 2002 Winter Olympics were one of the most complex logistics challenges ever. ProModel products and services were used to design security systems and bus transportation for most of the venues. The predictive technology enabled the Salt Lake Organizing Committee to model and test various scenarios related to security operations, weather, and transportation system design.

Click below to read the full story in IIE Solutions Magazine
IIE Solutions: The Simulation Games
IIE Solutions: The Simulation Games

Welcome to the New ProModel Blog

Our first post comes from Dr. Charles Harrell, Founder of ProModel Corporation.

Dr. Charles HarrellWelcome to the ProModel Blog, a blog dedicated to disseminating useful information on predictive analytics and process improvement using ProModel technology and services. The overall goal of the blog is to provide real world insight around simulation and how to get the most value from it, as well as to have some fun and give some personal glimpses into what makes us tick. To this end, subsequent posts will be provided by ProModel professionals who will share their thoughts and experiences on how to better plan processes and portfolios. Readers may comment on a post using the comment section which appears at the end of the post thread. This blog is intended to complement the ProModel LinkedIn groups, which are more Q&A discussion/help boards.

ProModel LinkedIn Company Page

ProModel LinkedIn Simulation Group

ProModel LinkedIn Healthcare  Group

As the original founder of ProModel Corporation, I thought it would be appropriate to post a bit on how ProModel got started, especially since that is the question that I invariably get asked when speaking to groups about ProModel. Although I suspect it is often asked out of idle curiosity, I believe the answer to this question helps explain what makes ProModel so unique.

The origins of ProModel go back to my time as a manufacturing engineer with Ford Motor Co. in 1976. The plant I worked for was gearing up for a new model year and I was tasked with planning three production lines for building transmissions components. The challenge for each line was to determine the right balance of machine capacity, buffer storage and resource allocation so that production target levels could be attained. Of course keeping cost to a minimum was also crucial. That was the first time I had been introduced to computer simulation. At the time, simulation models were often “programmed” by computer programmers in Fortran, a scientific programming language. There were two major drawbacks to this approach: (1) simulation studies took way too long (often up to one or two years to program and fully debug—too late to provide useful answers), and (2) programmers weren’t engineers and therefore had a difficult time understanding the process and knowing what solutions were feasible.

Recognizing these two drawbacks, Ford management decided that if simulation was to be a beneficial tool, it had to be much quicker and easier to use. So they decided to recruit a manufacturing engineer who had knowledge of production systems and then train that person in the art and science of simulation. They thought it would be easier to teach an engineer how to program than to teach a programmer how to engineer. As fate would have it, I was the person they selected. After a quickie course in GPSS, a leading simulation language of the day, I began working with Harry Truax, a seasoned programmer, to develop a simulator that could be used by manufacturing engineers to model Ford’s production lines. The result was a product called GENTLE (GENeral Transfer Line Emulator), and it literally cut months off model development time.

GENTLE gradually became widely adopted at Ford to model synchronous and non-synchronous transfer lines. As its usage increased, certain limitations started to become apparent. For one thing, it was designed from the outset to handle only a narrow class of production systems, so its flexibility was limited. Secondly, it required simulation runs to be made in batch on a costly mainframe computer sometimes taking a day or more to make it through the queue.

As I began to look at what it would take to provide a more flexible manufacturing simulator, I ran up against my own knowledge deficiency in material handling, which is the glue for any manufacturing system. To learn more about material handling systems, I hired on with Eaton-Kenway, a major material handling systems provider. While there, I completed a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering where my research focused on modeling material handling systems and I gained the insights I felt I needed to develop a general purpose manufacturing simulator.

I realized that if I was going to have an opportunity to develop such a simulator it would be best to do it as part of a PhD program, so I dragged my family to Denmark and began a PhD program in manufacturing engineering. I spent the next three years researching and refining a simulation tool that was quick and easy to use (desktop PCs were chosen as the target platform), yet flexible enough to model virtually any kind of production system. And as an added feature, I decided to incorporate a graphical user interface and runtime animation. The finished tool, the first of its kind, was dubbed ProMod (later ProModel). With a PhD in hand, I began teaching manufacturing and simulation courses at Brigham Young University and in 1988 established ProModel Corporation, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward to the present and ProModel Corporation continues to build on the vision of providing powerful, easy-to-use simulation solutions. At the same time the ProModel team has developed a reputation for providing unrivaled customer support and simulation consulting services. I can honestly say that I am very pleased with what ProModel has become…and the future looks just as bright.