Designing Better Care For Your OR

JCowden Profile Pic

Jennifer Cowden – Sr. Consultant

Earlier this year, my family and I took a vacation to a certain kid-friendly theme park.  As we wandered from ride to ride, we couldn’t help but note that, even at the peak times on the more popular rides, you rarely saw crowds standing outside waiting. The long lines were all contained within a succession of fairly climate-controlled rooms that obviously took some thought to plan. This particular company is big into predictive analytics, so I would hazard to say that they didn’t just guess at the maximum size of the line at peak time; they are probably not going to go live with a new attraction or other big change unless they simulate it first.  An interesting dynamic that we observed was that when a wait time for an attraction was lowered on their new mobile app, we could literally see the “flash mob” of patrons converge on that ride, causing the line to go from a 10-minute wait to a 30-minute wait in the blink of an eye.  I turned to my husband, who is also an engineer and a geek, and said “I wondered if their model predicted that.”

Theme parks obviously need to be concerned about a positive overall  visitor experience; after all, they are always competing for discretionary funds with other sources of entertainment.  Now, more and more hospitals are developing that same mindset: being cognizant of the overall patient experience to the point of modeling new spaces before they go live.  How many OR rooms should they outfit for opening day, and how many can wait?  How can they make the best use of the spare rooms?    Is there enough space in the corridors that the patients won’t feel too crowded?  Is there enough space in the waiting areas for the families of the outpatients?  How many staff members do they need for each department to minimize patient wait time?  Are there any unforeseen bottlenecks due to sudden dynamic shifts?  These are just a few of the questions that simulation can answer.

Check out Jennifer’s Ambulatory Care/OR Suite Model:

About Jennifer

Before joining ProModel in 2013, Jennifer spent 15 years in the automation industry working for a custom turnkey integrator. As an Applications Engineer she built simulation models (primarily using ProModel) to demonstrate throughput capacity of proposed equipment solutions for a variety of customers. Jennifer’s experience covers a wide range of industrial solutions – from power-and-free conveyor systems to overhead gantries and robotic storage and retrieval systems. She has also created applications in the pharmaceutical, medical device, automotive, and consumer appliance industries.

Jennifer has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Busy Season at ProModel

Keith Vadas

Keith Vadas – ProModel President & CEO

I am pleased to report ProModel’s second quarter was very positive.  Like many businesses in the US we find ourselves on a serious upswing this Summer of 2014.  Our consultants are working on several projects in a variety of industries, including ship building, power management, retail, manufacturing, food processing, and government contracting.  In all of these projects our experienced team of consultants is working to improve efficiency, save money, and make better decisions for their clients.

ProModel’s DOD projects continue to thrive.  It is hard to believe it has been eight years since we started working with FORSCOM (US Army Forces Command)   on AST (ARFORGEN SYNCHRONIZATION TOOL).  LMI-DST (Lead Materiel Integrator – Decision Support Tool) with the LOGSA Team (US Army Logistics Support Activity) is also going strong.  Our agile team of software developers keeps improving the development process within ProModel and it shows. Just recently the NST Airframe Inventory Management Module was Granted Full Accreditation by the Commander, Naval Air Systems Command.

The time is also ripe for opportunities in Healthcare.  Our patient flow optimization capabilities are perfect for helping hospitals and outpatient clinics improve efficiencies.  Now that the Affordable Care Act has been around for a couple of years, its impact is being felt by healthcare organizations around the country.  The expanded insured-base, and the need for improved processes and different care models is making it absolutely necessary to consider the value of modeling and simulation.  ProModel continues to work with several facilities including Presbyterian Homes and Services, and Array Architects who enhance the flow in Healthcare Facilities design by using MedModel simulation in their design processes.

To better support our base of existing customers, we just released ProModel/MedModel 2014 in July and PCS Pro 2014 at the end of Q1.  EPS 2014 (Enterprise Portfolio Simulator) was released in Q2  and includes a new easy to use, web-based rapid scenario planning tool – Portfolio Scheduler.  You can check this tool out online at – http://portfoliostud.io/#.

There continue to be lots of exciting things happening at ProModel.  We have an outstanding team of consultants and software developers-designers just looking for an opportunity to PARTNER with you to help you meet the next business challenge, or solve the next unexpected problem.

ProModel and MedModel 2014

Kevin Field

Kevin Field – Sr. Product Manager

In regards to this release, I would like to start out by saying, in the words of Nacho Libre, “It’s pretty dang exciting, huh?

With ProModel and MedModel 2014 we’ve tried to keep our current customers in mind as well as new customers. For current customers, the new logic windows with Intellisense and Syntax Guide should help you build models faster and easier. And being able to import graphics from third party graphic programs like Photoshop, Gimp, Paint.Net, etc. should even be more useful now that you can rotate all graphic types in the application. The improvements to the Debug window are a direct result of our work on the new logic windows.

For our new customers, the redesigned Getting Started panel (formerly known as the Control Panel) brings a lot of model building resources to the forefront. We have added new demo models and refreshed several of our previous ones. Did anyone even know we had a Quickstart video, showing you how to build a simple model and analyze results in 10-15 minutes? The most exciting part might be the How To videos our Support team has been producing for several months now. All of our customers will find these extremely helpful.

In this blog I am going to casually comment on some of the new features with the assumption that you have already reviewed What’s New in 2014 and perhaps even viewed the webinar I gave on this release. If not, you might want to consider doing so, otherwise…you can blissfully continue on with me…

New Logic Windows

It’s amazing what a few simple colors can do to help your logic be more readable. As we were developing version 9.1, I found it more and more difficult to go back to 8.6 and “drag” myself through the dreary old plain black text 🙂 It’s funny how refreshing it was to get back to 9.1! Not only the color but also line numbers really make it easy to quickly get around in the logic.

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And if you don’t like our default color scheme or want to have something a little easier on the eyes, simply customize the colors in the Logic Color Selection dialog.

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We also want to encourage good formatting in the new Logic windows by utilizing white space (spaces, line breaks, etc.) and indentation. Don’t be afraid of it! By automatically indenting and out-denting after begin and end brackets, we hope to make co-workers everywhere more willing to leap in and review your logic with you! Auto-formatting is something we are looking to improve moving forward.

Another thing we have made steps to do is deprecate certain logic elements. Begin, End, and the # comment are the main ones. Don’t worry though, they are not completely gone! They won’t show up in the Intellisense list but they will still compile if used in logic. Begin and End are easier to read and enter in logic if you use the “squiggly” brackets { and } instead. And we want to use the # character for other things like the new #region statement.

In fact, #region is one of my favorite new additions to 2014. I love the ability it gives you to section your logic and collapse it with a label describing what’s inside that hidden portion of your logic. I hope you’ll find it quite useful.

Intellisense and Syntax Guide

These new features are probably the heroes of this release. Intellisense brings every statement, function, location, entity, variable, subroutine (I’m saying every model element!) right to your fingertips. You should almost never have to remember your element names or copy them from one place in logic to another, or even leave a module to go look it up. Besides that, the days of completely typing any logic or element name are gone. This should increase your productivity by at least 10-15% 🙂 Are you with me on this?!

3

Intellisense coupled with the Syntax Guide should nearly make the Logic Builder obsolete. There may be a few things we need to add in order to make that happen. Please feel free to share any suggestions you may have. We tried to make both unobtrusive to your logic creation and editing. Because of this, we didn’t add an option to hide Intellisense or the Syntax Guide.

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Debug Window

MORE THAN 3 LINES!! I think that’s all I need to say on that.

Ok, I’ll also say that debugging should almost be a joyous endeavor as you are now able to anticipate what logic may get executed next and better understand where you came from.

Routing Probability

I’m going to refer you to the webinar I gave on this new feature. In it I give a great example (if I do say so myself) of how simple it is to set up a routing probability for scenario analysis. One thing to remember, in order to use an array in the routing Probability field, the array must be initialized through an import.

Getting Started Panel

The new panel that appears when you start the program may primarily be geared toward new users, however current customers may find it just as useful. Access to the How To videos, online Help, and additional training resources (like dates of future ProModel training classes and a link to ProModel University, our online self-paced training).

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If you haven’t taken advantage of your M&S contract and utilized our Technical Support team then perhaps the Getting Started panel will help facilitate this. They are a tremendous resource to assist you in understanding different techniques for modeling aspects of your systems, troubleshooting your models and helping you get out of the paper bag you may have coded yourself into, or just a friendly person to talk to 🙂 We like to call them your “ProModel Friend”.

Speaking of the Support team, they have done a tremendous job of generating a lot of How To and Solution videos for quite some time now. The short videos range from 2-5 minutes and offer useful insight into modeling techniques and other useful software tips. Let us know if you have any suggestions for more videos!

New Graphic Libraries

A final word about our new graphic libraries. In order to create new libraries containing EMF (vector-based) files, which scale nicely when zoomed, we had to support the rotation, flipping, and sizing of these image types within ProModel. This makes it so you don’t have to generate an image for every possible rotation or flip you need to have for your animation. This reduces the size of the graphic library and thus your model footprint as well. So with this new capability, you should be using a third party graphics program like Photoshop or Gimp (which is free) to create your graphics. (Or perhaps get your coworker to do it, just don’t tell them that I suggested it.)

I can’t talk about the new graphic libraries without mentioning Laif Harwood, a member of our Support team. Laif gets credit for creating all the new graphics in the libraries. And a fine job he did! So if you want any tips on how to do it for yourself, give our Support team a call!

Well, that’s all I have steam for yammering about today. Remember…you have a ProModel Friend that’s just an email (support@promodel.com) or phone call away (888-PROMODEL).

 

Finding Impartiality in S/W Applications

Rob Wedertz - SME, NST

Rob Wedertz – Director, Navy Programs

As long as I can remember I’ve been a fan of and often used the expression, “I don’t want to build the microwave, I just want to press cook”.  (I’ve never been able to remember when or from whom I first heard it – my apologies for the lack of attribution).  While I’ve sometimes been fascinated by the inner workings and origin of things, in the end I’ve come to adopt the modern world and the pace at which it moves.  I simply don’t have the time of day to dig into the underbellies of things and investigate the underpinnings of how they work nor their interdependencies.  My aversion to such activities was upended when I joined ProModel and led (as a PM) our development team’s efforts to support Verification, Validation, and Accreditation at the behest of our sponsor’s modeling & simulation accreditation agent.  While I do not intend to “build the microwave” here, I would like to describe how I learned that the act of “pressing cook” must be accompanied by complete and total impartiality of the software application.

Software, in a variety of formats, is often used to tell a story.  When it comes to entertainment-based software, and for the sake of the longevity of it, the story should be a very good one.  Thus the reason many folks spend countless hours trying to “level up” (it’s all about the journey, not the destination).  During my college days, I was exposed to Pascal and learned that the methodology (computer language) for telling a story was via if, then, else, while, etc. statements.  Truth be told, I didn’t particularly enjoy trying to figure out how to make the computer say “hello” via that methodology.  Again, I am more of a “show me the story” kind of person, than a “how did you make the story” kind of person.  In that regard I’m quite fond of the software that exists today.  My iPad is a bevy of mindless apps that keep my 5 year old entertained while putting miles on the family wagon.  However, when it comes to decision-support software, the stuff under the hood REALLY does matter and is often as equally important as the story itself.  Through the VV&A journey we’ve traveled to date, I’ve become more and more focused on inner-workings of “the microwave”, both out of necessity and surprisingly out of curiosity.

Our software applications tell stories that often culminate in multi-million dollar and in some cases, billion dollar implications, not necessarily to the good.  Not only must the story be stringently accurate, it must also be 100% impartial (or agnostic) to those who might be directly impacted by the results.  We accomplish that impartiality by ensuring that we never begin our development processes with an end result in mind.  That is not to say that we do not begin with an end-state in mind (i.e. – what is that you want to know?)  The difference is nuanced in print, but significant when it comes to applying the right level of acumen and forethought into software development.  The true genius of leveraging software applications to solve complex problems is that once you’ve figured out “where and why it hurts”, you can use predictive analytics, modeling, and regression analysis to attack the root of the ailment.  In my simplistic mind, our software is being used to treat the condition rather than the symptom.

The rigor that has been applied to the VV&A of our specific DoD program of record is staggering when compared to similar applications.  And it should be.  While many software developers are not particularly fond of documenting source code and defining why a certain script was used, in the end it has made both our customers and us extremely confident about our methodologies, processes, and coding standards.  Frankly, (although I’d never admit it to the folks who raked us through the coals) we’ve become a better development team because of it.  Combine the penultimate requirements associated with VV&A with our use of the Agile/SCRUM development methodology, we’ve accomplished the delivery of an application that withstands painstaking scrutiny and is adaptive enough to answer evolving customer demands and utility.  In the end, the vetting our software application has endured at the hands of the accreditation agent is not the value added propositions our customer demanded, although it was a necessary evolution.  What really matters is that we’ve produced a traceable software application that is impartial.  It may not always give you the answer you want, but it will always give the answer that you need – the truth.

REAL PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER!

One study of the performance of mega projects over the past decade in the oil and gas industry reveals a 78 percent rate of failure. Large projects in the process industries have much poorer outcomes. More megaprojects than ever are being developed and each one brings its own complexity.

  • Projects close to the margin must be dropped
  • Resource constraints must be part of the project selection process

The disadvantages to these very large projects are huge, but of course, so are the rewards. Therefore these projects must be scrutinized and evaluated very carefully. Need to make an accurate risk/reward determination for each “mega project” in your portfolio? Learn how one petroleum pipeline organization did it with Portfolio Simulation.

Check out Portfolio Scheduler:

http://portfoliostud.io/#

Project/Portfolio Risk Evaluation:

http://www.promodel.com/pdf/ML-ProjectReview-PipelineRiskEvaluation.pdf

Staffing Simulation Model Helps Transitional Care Nursing Home

In the May 2014 Edition of IE Magazine (Institute of Industrial Engineers) ProModel client Gavin L. Collins features his groundbreaking simulation work in the Elder Care field using MedModel software to improve staffing and overall care at Boutwells Landing Care Center, a transitional care unit which is part of Presbyterian Homes and Services Continuing Care Campus in Minnesota. In the case study Collins details his work in building an effective model, how ProModel helps you visualize the system you’re working with, and how the proper solution becomes a model for future efficiencies. The Healthcare industry is just starting to realize the importance and value that predictive analytics and simulation holds for both patient care and the industry as a whole, and unfortunately the Elder Care field has even less experience utilizing this innovative solution technology.  Both Mr. Collins and ProModel sincerely feel that simulation can improve the care that we offer our elders when they need it most.

Read the full IE article here:

Simulated Staffing by Gavin L. Collins

Copyright 2014 by the Institute of Industrial Engineers

Gavin Collins has done special projects for Presbyterian Homes & Services, served as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, and worked as a resident assistant, trained medication aide, engineer and administrator at Crestview Lutheran Home.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance and his doctoral degree in economics from the University of Iowa.

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

rprice@promodel.com

801-223-4667

Enhancing Flow in Healthcare Design with Simulation

Guest Blog Post  - Written by Noah M. Tolson - AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Lean Green Belt -Principal and Practice Area Leader, Planning

Guest Blog Post by Noah M. Tolson – Array Architects Principal and Practice Area Leader, Planning – AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Lean Green Belt

Discrete Event Simulation (DES), which has been utilized across industries for several decades, provides a virtual environment to track and visualize patients, equipment and providers as they move through the steps of care. It is an important tool in supporting Lean Design in the healthcare environment.

In order to achieve the desired physical environment, healthcare architects rely on a vast amount of data – and the tools for harnessing that data are becoming more advanced. Just as BIM (Building Information Modeling) optimizes early decision-making in the design phase, so to can Discrete Event Simulation (DES) influence the design of workflow and patient flow prior to construction.

At Array, we have found that this virtual environment gives us the ability to test a multitude of ‘what if’ scenarios with our clients to understand the impact that different layouts have on workflow, patient flow and resource utilization. The result is an increased confidence that the design will support current needs, as well as provide insight on incorporating flexibility into the design to accommodate the inevitable changes that will come in the future.

There are three key advantages DES provides over other methods of analysis:

 

1)      Real life variability can be applied to critical key measurements such as:  patient demand, times to complete key tasks, wait times for key resources or simply waiting for care, etc.

 

2)      Naturally occurring constraints exist when the demand for services/resources exceeds capacity. DES models allow constraints to be included by identifying the interdependencies between resources available and resources required.

 

3)      DES models simulate the passing of time (into the future) and record key metrics such as wait times, processing times, resource utilization and equipment utilization as they relate to varying patient demand and varying patient acuity. This helps with the daunting task of attempting to predict when the care is to be provided and by whom.

 

Utilizing Lean Design, architectural teams appropriately spend time observing and recording work flow and patient flow to document and understand the current state. Accurately predicting the future state work flow and patient flow has always been difficult to project and arrive at consensus because workflow analysis has traditionally been based on averages. While averages are a good place to start, they don’t tell the entire story. This is where DES, due to the advantages described above, is highly valuable. Using a DES tool like ProModel’s MedModel, Process Simulator or Patient Flow Simulator to model the various hospital processes in the new structure, we can provide much more insight into the effectiveness of potential designs. DES helps evaluate the workflow, resources and patient demand more realistically and simultaneously which allows healthcare decision-makers to be more confident in the design solutions.

Case Study

MedModel was recently used to help one healthcare organization evaluate a newly constructed 220,000 SF outpatient facility. The facility was intended to centralize the services of affiliated specialty practices and education & research centers. This five-floor clinic would allow 65 providers from 13 different practices throughout a specific region to converge in one patient-friendly location. Quality and service was expected to increase greatly by having referring physicians in one collaborative environment. Spreadsheet models were initially used to study the consolidation and facility design project, but provided only static information that relied heavily on the use of averages. This made it hard to accurately study the many complex processes that occur continuously in an outpatient setting. With the limited data available, physicians and administration had difficulty reaching consensus on space requirements and efficient room utilization. At issue, could the newly consolidated practices operate comfortably on the first and third floors, or did they need additional space? A MedModel solution proposed first and third floor designs of the clinic in order to analyze capacity and resources against the current data on patient flow from all the converging practices. The simulation examined the individual practices over a five day period (Monday through Friday) during regular business hours. The measuring criteria consisted of the following:

Exam room utilization

Physician and staff utilization

Number of patients in check-in

Time spent in check-in queue

Patient activity times

Number of patients in imaging queue

After multiple scenarios were run, the output data confirmed there would be sufficient room for the consolidation of practices on the first and third floors. In fact, the analysis showed that on certain days of the week there were not enough providers to fill the capacity on those two floors.

This is one example that illustrated the advantages of DES. Array and ProModel have used similar methods to more accurately project operational outcomes and compare design solutions.

Mitigating the Hawthorne Effect with Bruce Gladwin

Bruce Gladwin, PMP - Vice President, Consulting Services

Bruce Gladwin, PMP – Vice President, Consulting Services

With over 25 years of experience in the simulation field, Bruce has worked with major corporations worldwide developing hundreds of models across a wide range of industries. In his 19-year tenure with ProModel, he has served as a Product Manager, Senior Consultant, and Simulation Trainer. Bruce was named VP of Consulting Services in 2005 and has oversight responsibility for ProModel’s Consulting and Customer Service Operations.

Bruce received a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Brigham Young University. He is a certified expert in Lean production principles and received his Six Sigma Black Belt certification while employed at General Electric’s Power Systems division.

Key projects include:

  • Capacity analysis for GE Energy Products Europe – determined the maximum production capacity for gas turbine components at GE’s European manufacturing facility resulting in a savings of $9.6M  in capital avoidance.
  • Design of a green-field manufacturing site for production of GE industrial generators – resulted in a savings of $1.2M in capital avoidance and identified the need for an accelerated operator training program.
  • Design and analysis of a disassembly process for the Russian-built SS25 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) in support of the 1991-92 START treaties between the US and the Soviet Union

Check out Bruce’s presentation on the Hawthorne Effect from the 2013 Winter Simulation Conference and his work with a major home improvement retailer…

To Expand or Not to Expand? Medical Clinic Simulation with Jennifer Cowden

JCowden Profile Pic

Jennifer Cowden – Sr. Consultant

Less is More

I once worked with a programmer whose motto was “Pay me by the line of code,” and, not surprisingly, his code was often lengthy, inefficient, and hard to follow.  I’ve always preferred the opposite approach;  it is an interesting challenge to try to get the same functionality into as few lines of code (or alternately, as few process records) as possible.  Also, employing reusable blocks of code cuts down on the opportunities for mistakes and overall debugging time.   When I was an applications engineer at an automation company, I often had to get assembly lines modeled in a very short turn around.

Luckily, ProModel’s macro and subroutine modules made implementing reusable code very simple.  For the medical clinic model demonstrated in this post, we took flexibility a step further by using the “ALL” option in the process edit table.  Even though this model was built to simulate eleven different clinic layouts individually, and contains over 500 patient locations, this model contains a total of only seven process records.  Adding new clinic layouts now takes a fraction of the time and can be done with minimal code adjustments.  If you have a repetitive process, or one that needs to be flexible to add workstations quickly, this methodology could save you modeling time as well.

Check out Jennifer’s work on the Medical Clinic simulation model:

 

About Jennifer

Before joining ProModel in 2013, Jennifer spent 15 years in the automation industry working for a custom turnkey integrator. As an Applications Engineer she built simulation models (primarily using ProModel) to demonstrate throughput capacity of proposed equipment solutions for a variety of customers. Jennifer’s experience covers a wide range of industrial solutions – from power-and-free conveyor systems to overhead gantries and robotic storage and retrieval systems. She has also created applications in the pharmaceutical, medical device, automotive, and consumer appliance industries.

Jennifer has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.