ATTENTION

This FlexSim Community Forum is read-only. Please post any new questions, ideas, or discussions to our new community (we call it Answers) at https://answers.flexsim.com/. Our new Question & Answer site brings a modern, mobile-friendly interface and more focus on getting answers quickly. There are a few differences between how our new Q&A community works vs. a classic, threaded-conversation-style forum like the one below, so be sure to read our Answers Best Practices.


flexsim.com

Go Back   FlexSim Community Forum > FlexSim Software > Competitive Comparisons
FAQ Downloads Calendar Search Mark Forums Read

Competitive Comparisons An open discussion of Flexsim's strengths and weaknesses compared to competitive products

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-16-2008
Cliff King's Avatar
Cliff King Cliff King is offline
Vice President Technical Services
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 272
Downloads: 158
Uploads: 14
Thanks: 102
Thanked 304 Times in 110 Posts
Rep Power: 409
Cliff King has much to be proud ofCliff King has much to be proud ofCliff King has much to be proud ofCliff King has much to be proud ofCliff King has much to be proud ofCliff King has much to be proud ofCliff King has much to be proud ofCliff King has much to be proud ofCliff King has much to be proud of
Default An "unbiased" opinion (ya right!)

I thought I would start off the discussions in this new forum with what I personally view as the strengths and weaknesses of Flexsim today (version 4.32). I will start by listing what I feel are Flexsim's greatest strengths compared to the competition, and then I will admit what I feel are Flexsim's greatest weaknesses. Are you more amazed at the fact that Flexsim has weaknesses, or that I'm willing to admit it?

First the strengths of Flexsim:
  1. Game Quality Graphics - Flexsim allows you to import standard 3D models as well as create your own animated 3D graphics within the package using a standard graphics language (OpenGL).
  2. No Fences - You will never have to throw up your hands and say "Dang, Flexsim can't do that!", because of Flexsim's open architecture and integration with the most powerful programming language available C++. You're not forced to be a C++ programmer because there's also a simple scripting language available, but at those times when you might meet a brick wall with competitive packages, Flexsim gives you a door.
  3. Standard Object Library - Flexsim has a very capable library of class objects that can be used right out of the box to build a lot of different models very quickly and quite often with little or no programming required. In addition, the source code for all classes in the library is open to the user to see and use freely.
  4. Kinematics - Flexsim's kinematics capability is a very powerful tool for advanced users to be able to create their own complex machine or product motions, and not just animation, but physics-based simulation.
  5. TaskExecuters - Flexsim's approach to mobile resources using taskexecuters and the concept of a tasksequence is elegant and extremely powerful. When you have to queue, dispatch and control a complex sequence of movements and coordinated tasks of people and machines, the TaskExecuter object class in Flexsim makes an otherwise insurmountable job doable.
  6. Customization - No one compares to the level of customization that Flexsim provides. Flexsim users may create their own classes, libraries, GUIs and entire applications if they so desire. Hardly anything is "off limits" to the user. Flexsim opens up what most competitive products protect as source code. When a user has a question about how it works "under the hood", they can go and take a look.
  7. Reusability - Users may save their work in what are called user libraries, and then either reuse it later themselves or share it with others to reduce future model building time.
  8. Head Start Objects - The BasicFR, BasicTE and BasicConveyor objects are available in Flexsim to give users who would like to design their own custom objects a head start when creating new object functionality.
Now for the weaknesses of Flexsim:
  1. Documentation - Although Flexsim has about 700 pages of online help, it still lacks examples and theoretical explanations. The company simply does not do a good job of telling and showing people all that Flexsim can do. I would be willing to bet there is not a single person inside or outside the company that knows everything Flexsim can do!
  2. Training - Very little has been published related to the Flexsim software. You can not buy text books, training videos, etc. about how to use Flexsim. You are somewhat dependant on collegues, Flexsim's own training and technical support, or this Community Forum to get the training and help you might need.
  3. Case Studies - Very few true case studies are available with Flexsim to give new users a head start when starting their new model.
  4. Software User Interface - It can be difficult to manage all the windows, and to navigate the GUI's within Flexsim. Many of the terms used in the user interfaces are often not intuitive to inexperienced users.
  5. Connections - The graphical connections between objects (i.e. input, output and center port connections) can be difficult to create and manage in very large models.
Here's my closing remarks. Flexsim will never have all the modeling objects, and all the software features required to satisfy all the needs and all the wants of every user. It just won't. We knew that when we first designed Flexsim. This is the very reason why we developed such a flexible and powerful product. It's power lies not in its current library set, although there definitely is some power available there. It's power is in the fact that developers and users alike can create any new functionality or custom visualization that they can possibly imagine or have the skills to produce. In other words, Flexsim has No Fences!! We at Flexsim need to make it easier, faster and funner to do through a combination of software development and creative training methods.

I welcome your opinions,

Cliff King
VP Technical Services
Flexsim Software Products.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Cliff King For This Useful Post:
Efrain Marchena (06-01-2012), tobias.biemueller (03-17-2008)
  #2  
Old 03-17-2008
qin tian qin tian is offline
Flexsim User
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Shanghai, China
Posts: 137
Downloads: 115
Uploads: 0
Thanks: 59
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 159
qin tian is on a distinguished road
Default

Yes, Documentation is a big problem. I asked many problems in this forum, and cliff gave me many sollutions. But many techniques of the sollutions are not mentioned in the Documentation. I donn't know why. will you improve in this aspect?

And another improvement I need is statistics function, I think you can enhance it greatly so that users do less work.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-17-2008
Anthony Johnson's Avatar
Anthony Johnson Anthony Johnson is offline
Manager of Product Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 440
Downloads: 86
Uploads: 4
Thanks: 171
Thanked 899 Times in 288 Posts
Rep Power: 732
Anthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond repute
Default

Qin Tian,
I don't think you understand the point of this discussion. This discussion isn't just a place to post your gripes and ask Flexsim to fix them. This is meant for Flexsim users to provide other users or potential users with the positives and negatives that they see in the software. If you are going to post here, please post at least one positive. Since you are a Flexsim user yourself, you or your company must have chosen Flexsim over other software for some reason, right? What is that reason or reasons?

We are certainly open to criticism of the software, but this discussion should not devolve into a simple list of things that should be improved in Flexsim (Gripes and Goodies is the place to discuss bugs and suggestions). This discussion is meant to provide people with an overall view of Flexsim, both the good and the bad.

Last edited by Cliff King; 03-18-2008 at 04:06 PM. Reason: included reference to Gripes and Goodies
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-17-2008
Anthony Johnson's Avatar
Anthony Johnson Anthony Johnson is offline
Manager of Product Development
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 440
Downloads: 86
Uploads: 4
Thanks: 171
Thanked 899 Times in 288 Posts
Rep Power: 732
Anthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond reputeAnthony Johnson has a reputation beyond repute
Default My positives and negatives

For my part, here is what I think are some strengths and weaknesses of Flexsim, in addition to Cliff's comments:

Strengths:
Active Development - Flexsim is very active in improving and maintaining the software. Each year there are new improvements and features that make the software significantly better, and we try to be very open to feedback from our users.
User Forum - This Flexsim user forum itself is very active and there's a lot of information that can be gleaned here.

Weaknesses:
Ditto on Cliff's Comments - Documentation, Training, Case Studies, User Interface. I agree that there are significant improvements that need to be made there.
Concurrent Model Development - One weakness I have found in a recent project is that Flexsim doesn't have very good tools to help multiple people work on the same project at the same time. I was able to jury-rig my own tool together using user libraries (ditto on Cliff's flexibility advantage), and it was sufficient, but even then it wasn't very user friendly and was prone to errors in some cases.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-17-2008
qin tian qin tian is offline
Flexsim User
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Shanghai, China
Posts: 137
Downloads: 115
Uploads: 0
Thanks: 59
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 159
qin tian is on a distinguished road
Default

Sorry, Anthony. Maybe I am not express my idea appriately.

What I want to say is that I like flexsim very much.

At the beginning, I don't understand its advanced function because of its poor document. But when I go deep into it, I find it very powerful and flexible. That's why I say that document is a big problem.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-20-2008
Anthony Timmiss Anthony Timmiss is offline
Flexsim User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sunderland - UK
Posts: 78
Downloads: 41
Uploads: 0
Thanks: 65
Thanked 45 Times in 28 Posts
Rep Power: 184
Anthony Timmiss will become famous soon enoughAnthony Timmiss will become famous soon enough
Default

I am more experienced using Witness than I am at using Flexsim. I have several positives and opportunities regarding Flexsim.

Positives

The forum - A place that is obviously very popular with users of al levels and has helped me several times in the past; very quickly.

The 3D graphics - The simulations look fantastic compared to those in 2D.

Basic models are also very easy to put together using the drag and drop method of connecting elements. As stated above this can become awkward with more complex models.

Opportunties

Documentation and standardisation - Flexsim appears so powerful that you can do anything, which can be a problem sometimes when you aren't so experienced, it would be nice to be directed down a particular route more clearly by the structure of the program rather than needing to know how to write a great deal of code.

I also find that becasue the graphics are so good it often makes the simulations more difficult as people expect to see the process exactly the same on the screen as it is in real life. Hence it is important to choose the right tool for the job or simulate at the correct level of detail. Do you just want an answer to a problem? (In which case graphics aren't important). Or do you want the simulation to look like the process? (In which case you can spend a great deal of time making it look nice).

Anth
Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Anthony Timmiss For This Useful Post:
Bill Nordgren (03-29-2008), Cliff King (05-01-2008), Phil BoBo (03-26-2008), Ron Lavoie (04-21-2008)
  #7  
Old 03-30-2012
Sebastian Ferrada Sebastian Ferrada is offline
Flexsim User
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1
Downloads: 8
Uploads: 0
Thanks: 2
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Sebastian Ferrada is on a distinguished road
Default

I would like to share my thoughts on Flexsim (currently on Version 5.1.2) so far..

Good things
· 3D-interface
My feeling is that traditionally DES has seen and used as a powerful tool for statistical analysis on the impact on a KPI of a policy change. With the 3D support that Flexsim offers it enables for other opportunities such as increasing the understanding of your system and the interaction of the subsystems (one thing is knowing that the change will mean a change in a KPI with X % with Y % confidence, but another thing is being able to see how the system will react and interact to the change), training and vertical start up of an implementation.
· Customisation of objects
I find it very good being able to develop objects that resembles the process in your facility
· Possibilities
Connected to the above, but so far my experience is that Flexsim (compared to other DES-tools) offer almost any possibility for simulation and it is ultimately down to the developer to set the limit.
· Forum
Great support and for “free”!

Less good things
· Documentation
Even though some of the functions are documented in the user manual some still need to be better documented. Also documentation of success stories, like how have companies successfully used Flexsim/simulation
· Price
I am not responsible for license purchases so I really don’t know about price levels, but I am guessing that with a powerful tool price increase also, which could make it difficult for a smaller company to invest in a license and instead continue with spreadsheet simulation.
· Vision of next generation simulation
I am missing a bit (maybe forum and/or portal) with those crazy ideas of how simulation/Flexsim can evolve in the future, like including human factors, agent-based model etc (just throwing out some buzz-words in the air)

/Sebastian
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-02-2012
Sebastian Hemmann's Avatar
Sebastian Hemmann Sebastian Hemmann is offline
Flexsim User
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Braunschweig (Germany)
Posts: 439
Downloads: 52
Uploads: 0
Thanks: 472
Thanked 217 Times in 154 Posts
Rep Power: 316
Sebastian Hemmann is a splendid one to beholdSebastian Hemmann is a splendid one to beholdSebastian Hemmann is a splendid one to beholdSebastian Hemmann is a splendid one to beholdSebastian Hemmann is a splendid one to beholdSebastian Hemmann is a splendid one to beholdSebastian Hemmann is a splendid one to behold
Default

Quote:
· Price
I am not responsible for license purchases so I really don’t know about price levels, but I am guessing that with a powerful tool price increase also, which could make it difficult for a smaller company to invest in a license and instead continue with spreadsheet simulation.
@Sebastian

So you don´t know the price of a license but think it´s to expensive!?
As a hint for Software companys: what do you think would be a good solution for this? Or did you mean something else?
__________________
Hemmi
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-16-2012
Jens Mühlheimer Jens Mühlheimer is offline
Flexsim User
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Posts: 140
Downloads: 8
Uploads: 0
Thanks: 40
Thanked 35 Times in 27 Posts
Rep Power: 171
Jens Mühlheimer will become famous soon enoughJens Mühlheimer will become famous soon enough
Default

I did a bit of market research about a year ago when the company I'm working for thought about buying the full license and I can assure that - even from a neutral point of view - Flexsim offers the best cost-benefit ratio on the market. And still the total price is quite a bargain compared to other simulation software.

Besides that, here a my pros and cons (which haven't been mentioned already):

Pros:
- Intuitive concept, good documentation to get started (excellent tutorials in my opinion) and thus a relative short training period
- Direct modeling in 3D environment - no waste of time by first creating a 2D model for functionality and then a 3D version for eye-candy

Cons:
- Only available in English - which might discourage some potential costumers to working with Flexsim. Althought personally I think this shouldn't be a barrier anymore in these days
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Jens Mühlheimer For This Useful Post:
Jörg Vogel (09-08-2013)
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
can "do not release item" commend be used in source? KelvinHo Q&A 2 03-10-2008 12:30 AM
Which variable stores "Properties -> General ->Flags -> Protected" information? KelvinHo Q&A 1 03-06-2008 06:18 AM
"Getting Started" and "Tutorial" models for v4.01 Cliff King Product Announcements 0 12-10-2007 07:34 PM
Fluid "Pallet" Flowitems Maurits Brandt Q&A 4 11-12-2007 12:37 PM
Canceling "Set Object Reset Position" AlanZhang Q&A 8 10-15-2007 12:04 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:46 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright 1993-2018 FlexSim Software Products, Inc.