The new normal affects every industry

The ‘new normal’ manifests itself in different ways. And passionate about healthcare, I typically focus on the flexibility and resilience of this sector. The speed with which our health institutions have adapted and will have to reinvent themselves, deserves all credit. But it is not limited to the healthcare sector. Every industry will need the same resilience to rethink or reinvent themselves. The first step has already been taken.
Peter Willen

My first love

And this brings me to my first love. As a young graduate engineer and assistant at the University of Ghent, I was introduced to the field of Operations Research. And so, I learned how optimization and simulation models could help in designing and testing innovative organization and process models. In recent years, these models have evolved further and offer the opportunity to teach us not only in the short term but also in the long term how to deal with safety measures, uncertainties and up- and downsizing scenarios.

Dilemma: safe and economically viable

Safety and health is the number 1 priority, but within the current measures in place, we must also be able to ensure a return and a minimum level of customer experience. Many questions arise:

  • How can we keep our business open on the long term and in a sustainable way, with respect for social distancing rules and an acceptable profitability?
  • How can museums or tourist attractions safely receive visitors?
  • How can an outpatient health centre (also called policlinic in Belgium) receive patients in the waiting room with respect to social distancing measures, bearing in mind different up -and downscaling scenarios? What is the maximum feasible capacity?
  • But also, how can cities be liveable places for visitors and citizens? How do we control these flows?
  • How can education further scale up? And what is a realistic model towards the next academic year?

In continuation of this, we will have to gear the deployment of employees and enforcers to these safety standards and the optimal provision of service in the future. In doing so, working hours will have to be questioned and this will have an impact on how we spread our workload.

Objective and virtual trial runs allow us to find the ideal way to work

It goes without saying that a smart lockdown and (partially) upscaling again raise many questions regarding the application of safety standards, the optimal/maximum utilization capacity, and the required/optimized staff deployment.

Therefore, there is a great need for clear and independent advice from the professional field and policymakers.

The best way to clarify this, is to carry out a trial run in a virtual simulation environment to work out various operating hypotheses or scenarios via crowd distribution analysis.  In this way, one can see, as in a flight simulator, how visitor flows move and when a critical point is reached.

 

True love never grows old: simulation is more than ever the tried-and-scientifically proven recipe for balancing safety and operating profit

Building a simulation model creates confidence and is no longer that complex.  Blueprints of buildings can be loaded to quickly arrive at an efficient and responsible basic model of a building, terrain, or environment. We then add more information about visitor flows, use of space, volumes … so that we can use this simulation model to analyse various scenarios and determine the limits within which safety can be guaranteed. The simulation model gives the possibility to visualize queues and visitor flows on the map (example of a shop in figure).

Based on the results, advice is given, including the optimal occupation per space (and as a whole location), access routes, maximum admission volumes, queuing and the most efficient deployment of personnel and enforcers.

For the scientifically supported simulation models we base ourselves on Incontrol software (pedestrian simulation). Möbius uses these models to provide the necessary substantiation and guarantee for your future activities.

Would you like more information? Feel free to contact us (0032 497 58 28 44) and we will see how we can help you in a fast and efficient way. Because true love never grows old!

Thanks for reading

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