Author: mjacksonpalisade

“Ensuring Food Safety with Monte Carlo Simulation” in Risk Management Monitor

In light of last month's events at the Food Safety Summit in Maryland, it seems appropriate to highlight a recent article "Ensuring Food Safety with Monte Carlo Simulation" featured in the Risk Management Monitor.

The article shines light on the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched an interactive web-based tool called iRISK, to combat the seeming endless risks in the "farm-to-table" pathway. Like Palisade's flagship product, @RISK, this tool utilizes Monte Carlo simulation to analyze potential food contamination risk based on a number of factors: the food(s), the hazard(s), the population of concern (for instance, elderly or immune-compromised), the production or processing system being used for the food, the consumption patterns, the dose response (what level of exposure will have a health impact), and how the health effects are to be calculated.

Along the same lines, when Shanghai hosted the 41st World Expo in May 2010, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration relied on Monte Carlo simulation to assess food safety. Organizers wanted to be certain that food distributed to foreign visitors was safe, so it initiated a quantitative analysis of nitrite contamination in cooked meat. The Shanghai FDA conducted 370 random checks of meat products in the city and found four percent of samples exceeded nitrite standards.

The findings indicated that the possibility of passing the threshold for acute nitrite poisoning indeed existed, as well as the possibility for exceeding the allowable daily intake of nitrite. Based on the results, the Shanghai FDA proposed that businesses in the food service industry be forbidden from using nitrite, which eliminated the possibility of nitrite poisoning at its root.

Palisade's vice president, Randy Heffernan, sums up the situation in the article, "It is interesting – if not a little disconcerting – to consider the guesswork previously employed in food safety prior to technological advances such as Monte Carlo simulation. While risk can never be completely eliminated, we can at least dine with less concern when analysts are armed with solutions that dramatically lower risk."

See also: Palisade's Risk Analysis Software Ensures Shanghai Food Supply is Safer

Free Webcast this Friday: The Cure for the Flaw of Averages, Using Palisade DecisionTools Suite to Visualize Risk and Uncertainty

Presented by: Andrew Pulvermacher, Nighthawk Intelligence, LLC
When: Friday, March 21, 2014 at 11:00 am EDT

NightHawk Logo » REGISTER NOW for FREE

The Cure for the Flaw of Averages, Using Palisade DecisionTools Suite to Visualize Risk and Uncertainty will be presented by Andrew Pulvermacher of Nighthawk Intelligence, LLC. On Friday, March 21, 2014 at 11:00 am EDT, Mr. Pulvermacher will take you on a 50 minute journey through historical risk philosophies to today's industrial race to harness the benefits of risk based decision making. This session will cover the finer points of the Flaw of Averages and Probability Managements' cure of the Flaw of Averages. The presentation will wrap up with a demonstration of the immediate benefits that Palisade's DecisionTools Suite provides to the organizational decision making process through the illumination of risk and the interactive risk modeling.

Andrew Pulvermacher is the Founder and Chief Probability Officer at NightHawk Intelligence, LLC. NHI provides risk analysis services to their clients to develop high quality strategies through a better understanding of value in the context of risks and uncertainties. NHI works to transfer focus from descriptive data analytics to predictive analytics – improving insight and driving risk-informed decision making throughout the organization.

With over a decade of experience in analytics with companies such as Amazon, Best Buy, Merrill Lynch, and CUNA Mutual Group, Drew is focused on improving enterprise value through the use of Operation Research methodologies for enhancing productivity, efficiency, and profitability. With specific expertise in probability management, portfolio theory, and continuous improvement, Drew advances complex business processes and delivers innovative business development strategies for Fortune 20 corporations as well as small, community based businesses.

Click here to view his presentation from the 2013 Palisade Risk Conference in Las Vegas.

Learn more about last year's Palisade Risk Conference in Las Vegas here:
Risk Professionals Gather in Vegas for Palisade’s 2013 Risk Conference

This Month: Introductory Risk & Decision Analysis Software Demonstrations in Four Different Languages

Introduction to Risk & Decision Analysis using @RISK & The DecisionTools Suite This month we are offering our Introduction to Risk and Decision Analysis using @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite webcast in a variety of languages including German, French, Portuguese and English.

Our Regional Sales Managers and Trainers have designed these webcasts to provide an entry-level introduction into probabilistic analysis and will show how Monte Carlo simulation and other techniques can be applied to your everyday business analyses. If you build models in Excel then Palisade solutions can almost certainly help you to make more informed decisions, right from your desktop.

Sign up today for the webcast presented in the language of your choice!

Einführung zur Risiko – & Entscheidungsanalyse
mit @RISK und der DecisionTools Suite

11. Februar 2014 – 10:00 am CET
(9:00 am UTC/GMT, 4:00 am EST)
» Jetzt kostenlos registrieren

Introduction a l’analyse des Risques et décisions
avec @RISK et DécisionTools Suite

11 février 2014 – 10:00 am CET
(9:00 am UTC/GMT, 4:00 am EST)
» Inscrivez-vous gratuitement

Introduction to Risk and Decision Analysis
using @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite

13 February 2014 – 11:00 am CET
(10:00 am UTC/GMT, 5:00 am EST):
» Register Now for Free

Análise Quantitativa de Risco Utilizando o
@RISK e o Decision Tools Suite

21 de fevereiro 2014 – 10:00 am Brasília Time
(1:00 pm UTC, 2:00 pm CET)
» Inscreva-se grátis

Também em Português, AMANHÃ:
Simulações de Séries Temporais com o @RISK
7 de fevereiro 2014 – 10:00 am Brasília Summer Time
(12:00 Noon UTC, 1:00 pm CET)

These webinars will explore some of the ways in which organizations are applying Palisade tools. From oil and gas, insurance and finance through to healthcare, defense and construction, @RISK and the other tools in the DecisionTools Suite enhance the decision making capabilities of some of the world’s most successful companies.

For nearly 30 years, Palisade software and solutions have been used to make better decisions. Cost estimation, NPV analysis, operational risk registers, portfolio analysis, insurance loss modeling, reserves estimation, schedule risk analysis, budgeting, sales forecasting, and demand forecasting are just some of the ways in which the tools are applied. The webinar will demonstrate how easy – and necessary – it is to implement quantitative risk analysis in any business.

If you would prefer to join us for a more in depth Training be sure to check out this previous post: Start the New Year Right with Palisade Risk & Decision Analysis Software Training


Custom Solutions within the Insurance Sector: Catastrophe and Large Loss Simulation Model

Insurance companies are now encouraged by regulation to perform assessment of their own risk exposure. Monte Carlo simulation, and particularly @RISK are extremely useful in performing assessments that can be used not only to satisfy regulators, but also to improve financial risk management within the company.

Waszink Actuarial Advisory in collaboration with Palisade's Custom Development Team created this Catastrophe and Large Loss Simulation Model to provide an output that includes the aggregate loss gross and net of reinsurance, and the reinsured loss.

In this example, an application was created using @RISK to generate the aggregate loss resulting from multiple large or catastrophic losses occurring within a given period of time. Aggregate losses are determined gross and net of any Excess of Loss Reinsurance.

Parametric distributions for frequency and severity of loss gross of reinsurance must be specified by the user. Frequency and severity are assumed to be mutually independent.

In addition, the user can specify an Excess of Loss Reinsurance program. The following features of the reinsurance program must be specified:

  • Number of layers
  • Limit and retention by layer
  • Reinsurance premium by layer
  • Number of reinstatements by layer;
  • Reinstatement premium as percentage of reinsurance premium

The output includes the aggregate loss gross and net of reinsurance, and the reinsured loss.

More example of Custom Development:

Custom Solutions: Using @RISK for Oil Field Development Decisions

Oil companies need to assess new fields or prospects where very little hard data exists. Based on seismic data, analysts can estimate the probability distribution of the reserve size. With little actual data available, companies still must quantify and optimize the Net Present Value (NPV) of this asset. The number of wells to drill, the size of the processing facility, and the plateau rate of the field must all be optimized. The following example is a custom application written by Palisade Custom Development using @RISK’s XDK in Excel.

Oil Field Development Screenshots

This analysis can be simplified by representing the production profile by three phases:

  1. Build up: The period when wells are drilled to gain enough production to fill the facilities.
  2. Plateau: After reaching the desired production rate (plateau), the period when production is continued at that rate as long as the reservoir pressure is constant and until a certain fraction of the reserves is produced. In the early stages of development, this fraction can only be estimated, and production above a certain rate influences plateau duration.
  3. Decline: The period when production rates, P, decline by the same proportion in each time step, leading to an exponential function: P(t) = P(0) exp(-c*t), where t is the time since the plateau phase began and c is some constant.

With only estimates for the total Stock Tank Oil Initially In Place (STOIIP = reserve size) and percent recovery amounts, the objective is to select a production rate, a facility size, and well numbers to maximize some financial measure. In this example, the measure used is the P10 of the NPV distribution. In other words, the oil company wants to optimize an NPV value which they are 90% confident of achieving or exceeding.

As described, the problem is neither trivial nor overly complex. A high plateau rate doesn’t lose any reserves, but it does increase costs with extra wells and larger facilities. However, facility costs per unit decrease with a larger throughput, so choosing the largest allowed rate and selecting a facility and number of wells to match might be appropriate.

This is just one example of how Palisade can provide personalized risk solutions for your business needs. We offer custom software development services as well as software developer kits to create your own applications integrating @RISK, RISKOptimizer, and other Palisade technology. We can also help automate Palisade software using VBA in Microsoft Excel or Project.

» Learn more about Palisade's Custom Development

You may also be interested in the following:

Free Webcast this Thursday: "Exploring Oil & Gas Applications of @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite" – See more at:

Cost Risk Analysis Example Movie: Palisade's Custom Development Team uses @RISK's XDK for this custom application


Risk Professionals Gather in Vegas for Palisade’s 2013 Risk Conference

The 2-day Palisade Risk Conference in Las Vegas brought together around 170 decision-makers from a wide range of industries at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

In the ever-popular Software Presentations track, Palisade developers and trainers covered features of the DecisionTools Suite and @RISK. At the same time, 3 additional tracks featured experts from CH2M Hill, Westinghouse, Lockheed Martin, Intel, Premera Blue Cross, Tennessee Valley Authority, and many others. These presentations covered industry case studies from fields as diverse as aerospace, energy, agriculture, finance, healthcare, and many more.

» View presentations from the 2013 Palisade Risk Conference in Las Vegas

Mark Krahn presented at 2013 Palisade Risk Conference in Las Vegas

Conference attendees were also able to meet with Palisade consultants in one-on-one Expert Sessions. The Expert Sessions were well-received by both conference participants and Palisade consultants and trainers. Participants get a chance to bring their own models for the consultant to review, while consultants get a chance to discuss interesting applications of Palisade software in detail.

As always, the Risk Conference events are invaluable opportunities for networking and learning. "As an introduction to the software, I thought this conference was eye-opening. As I get more familiar with the software, I can see future conferences being valuable in honing my skills and learning new tricks and different perspectives on using the software," said Cory Forgrave, Economic Analyst in the DOI Division of Energy and Mineral Development. See more quotes from participants below.


Keynote focuses on successful BorgWarner
project with Palisade Custom Development

Brian Maturi, Director of Risk Management at BorgWarner, delivered the keynote address. Mr. Maturi described the successful implementation of a capital appropriations model that is used by around 300 financial analysts, controllers and program managers in 17 countries around the world.

Maturi and BorgWarner worked with Palisade’s Custom Development team to incorporate @RISK functionality into their model so that non-expert users could easily input data, and obtain standardized reports for business managers. The users of the system are not statisticians, so the model needs to be powerful, yet simple. “We wanted a system that could model 90% of the risks rather than an overly complex system that tries to model everything,” said Maturi. Palisade developers were able to take his instructions and build a flexible model with the user interface he was looking for.

Explains Maturi, “We have educated about 2,000 managers over the years in how to interpret the @RISK outputs, and more importantly, how they can use the information to design business strategies to manage, mitigate and even exploit the risks using real options thinking.”

“We are with Palisade for the long haul,” adds Maturi. “My company is very, very good at engineering leading edge automotive products. Palisade is very, very good at building risk based models.”

» View Brian Maturi’s keynote presentation
» View presentations from the 2013 Palisade Risk Conference in Las Vegas


A Global Series

The 2013 Risk Conference series took place in over a dozen cities covering 6 continents, and brought together hundreds of risk analysis professionals. We have announced dates for the EMEA region for 2014, with more dates coming soon. We hope you will be able to join us.

» 2014 Conference dates

Chris Albright presenting  at 2013 Palisade Risk Conference in Las Vegas

» See more photos from the 2013 Vegas Risk Conference


Quotes from the 2013 Las Vegas event

"Very good conference with good usage of time."
— Mark Mendonca, Program Risk Management, Ernst & Young

"Excellent opportunity to explore all aspects  of risk analytics!"
— Kurt Carson, Senior Quant Analyst  in ERM group, Chelan PUD

"Excellent conference. Very informative.  Great topics."
— Laurie Rutherford, Director, Enterprise Risk Management at CenterPoint Energy

"Great conference!"
— Matt Rosenberg, RoseCap Investment Advisors

"A valuable and educative experience."
— Richard Horsfall, Consultant

"Excellent learning and networking opportunity."
— Mike Wallace, Consultant

 “As an introduction to the software, I thought this conference was eye-opening. As I get more familiar with the software, I can see future conferences being valuable in honing my skills and learning new tricks and different perspectives on using the software.”
Cory Forgrave, Economic Analyst in the DOI Division of Energy and Mineral Development




“Risk Analysis and Oil Production Curves” in ‘Oil & Gas Monitor’

Oil & Gas Monitor

The use of risk analysis in the oil and gas industry can take many forms. Whether it’s safety risk, economic risk or schedule-based risk, it is critical to know what risk factors exist and the likelihood that they may occur. Doing so allows decision-makers to plan in a manner that will ensure the highest attainable rate of success.

In his most recent Oil & Gas Monitor article Risk Analysis and Oil Production Curves, Palisade's Oil and Energy Industry Consultant, Rafael Hartke, invites us to learn more about modeling oil production curves in face of uncertainty. He focuses on the production curve risk of a single oil well by exploring how risk factors affect the production curve and some common mistakes one should avoid when modeling production curves of oil projects. Read the full article to find out how deterministic models using most likely values or using expected values, compare to a probabilistic method using distribution functions and Monte Carlo simulation.


Risk Analysis and Oil Production Curves


In his next Oil & Gas Monitor article, Rafael will discuss what happens when dealing with the production curve of a group of wells and the statistical differences between a single well and a portfolio.

See also:

"Decision Trees and the Value of Flexibility II"  in Oil & Gas Monitor: Taking another look at "Bad" projects

"Application and Benefits of Risk Analysis for Decision Making in the Oil Industry" in Oil & Gas Monitor

"Practical Challenges of Implementing Risk Analysis in Oil Companies" in Oil & Gas Monitor

Looking for inspiration for your models? Palisade just added 5 new Example Models!

Palisade provides a collection of example spreadsheet models that highlight different applications of @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite. These example files demonstrate a variety of risk analysis solutions, including credit risk analysis, financial risk analysis, energy risk analysis and more! Below are a sample of five of our newly posted example models.

5 New Example Models from Palisade

Price Evolution in Markov Chain (Minimum edition: @RISK 6.0 Standard)
A Markov chain is a process observed through time where the probability distribution of the next state of the process, given the current state, is independent of the past states. When dealing with Markov chains, it is always interesting to see whether future statistics depend much on the starting state.
» Download Example Model

Projecting Oil Prices (Minimum edition: @RISK 6.0 Industrial)
This model illustrates one possible way oil prices might change through time, as influenced by the market. @RISK's distribution fitting tool is used to simulate future absolute price changes based on historical daily oil prices.
» Download Example Model

Hydroelectric Power (Minimum edition: @RISK 6.0 Standard)
This model illustrates one possible simulation of hydroelectric power generation for a 120-month horizon. There are three sources of uncertainty: monthly desired power (as a percentage of the maximum possible output), monthly rainfall, and monthly evaporation. This model is based on Roy L. Nersesian's book Energy Risk Modeling.
» Download Example Model

Solar and Wind Power 1 (Minimum edition: @RISK 6.0 Standard)
This model illustrates the daily output of a combination of solar and wind energy units. The solar unit is affected by cloud cover with a temperature adjustment. The wind unit is modeled by a random wind speed and an ouput function of this wind speed. The @RISK outputs include hourly and total daily output values for solar, wind, and combined solar and wind. This model is based on Roy L. Nersesian's book Energy Risk Modeling.
» Download Example Model

Solar and Wind Power 2 (Minimum edition: @RISK 6.0 Industrial)
This example extends the previously listed Solar and Wind Power 1 model. Its goal is to use RISKOptimizer to find the best combination of solar and wind units to match uncertain energy demands for a 100-day period. This model is based on Roy L. Nersesian's book Energy Risk Modeling.
» Download Example Model


The above example files deal with risk analysis solutions in the marketing and energy sectors.  Palisade also offers example models in a variety of other industries including academia, agriculture, construction, pharmaceutical, transportation and more!

» View other @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite example models

» Download a free trial version of the DecisionTools Suite to view the models in full


See also: New in DecisionTools Suite 6: New Examples and Tutorials



Cost Risk Analysis Example Movie: Palisade’s Custom Development Team uses @RISK’s XDK for this custom application

Here is an example of a custom application written by Palisade Custom Development using @RISK's XDK in Excel. In this example, @RISK is used for cost risk analysis and estimation.  The application prompts the user for a three-point estimate for each cost item in the project as a way to recognize uncertainty in these cost elements.  A risk register is created using a simply colored grid interface.  Next, because in real life costs are seldom independent of each other, the user is able to set up correlations between related cost elements.  Finally, the user can define external risk events that will affect the total cost of the project. Automation takes the shape of an Excel add-in, which is shown to the user as a new Excel ribbon.



Custom Development in Excel

Palisade Custom Development has written applications for insurance, cost estimation, retirement planning, oil and gas prospecting, portfolio risk management, schedule-cost risk analysis and more – all utilizing @RISK technology in Excel. This means we can create risk analysis solutions for you using a range of powerful analytics, including Monte Carlo simulation, decision trees, statistics, neural networks, and optimization. In each case, the interface is customized to include only what the users need, hiding unused @RISK functionality and preventing user access to the underlying model logic. You can also automate processes like reporting, generating only the charts and data you want. The result is a tailored application ready to roll out to your workgroup. 

New XDK Functionality and Documentation in version 6.2

Excel Developer’s Kits (XDK) automatically come as part of the DecisionTools software which includes, @RISK, PrecisionTree, Evolver, StatTools, and NeuralTools. XDKs allow you to automate and customize the tool within Excel using Excel’s built-in VBA programming language. In @RISK 6.2, the XDK has been updated to include new functionality for the automation of @RISK graphs and simulation filters, as well as several additional improvements. For most  products, the XDK now includes a new “Automation Guide” to help you get started quickly. In addition, new videos and example files have been added to the XDKs to help you use this powerful feature.

» See XDK videos


2013 Palisade Risk Conference Series – Three stops coming up in November: Paris, Milan and Las Vegas

We have three cities left to go in our 2013 Risk Conference SeriesParis, Milan and Las Vegas! We have spanned the globe and stopped in 11 cities in the past 7 months. Last week at our Moscow Risk Conference we were able to present our latest versions of @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite programs which have been completely translated into Russian. According to Craig Ferri, Palisade's EMEA & India Director, "The speakers were of very high standard, and attendees were excited about the software and looking forward to being able to download the presentations. It was a great success and we look forward to new partnerships in Russia."

2013 Palisade Risk ConferenceThe Moscow conference, as well as the others in the 2013 Palisade Risk Conference Series, are beneficial for both novice and experienced users of our risk and decision analysis products. If you are a new user and unfamiliar with @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite, we invite you to see why 93% of the Global Fortune 100 are using Palisade products to make better decisions. If you are an existing user, this is your opportunity to network and be exposed to some useful hints and tips to get more out of our software.

In general, Palisade software enables clients to be more confident in the decisions that they make, in a wide variety of industries and applications. Clients use Palisade software in industries ranging from oil & gas, mining, and finance, through to utilities, insurance, and banking, along with government, manufacturing, and logistics. So, if one of your responsibilities is to create or base decisions on a credit risk analysis, financial risk analysis, or maybe a pharmaceutical risk assessment, or if you are looking to improve your project risk management strategies, we invite you to join us in one of the following cities to learn how other people utilize our software.

Palisade Conférence régionale sur le risque
Paris – 12 novembre
Voir le programmeInscription

Palisade Regional Risk Conference Milan
Milan – November 14th
View ScheduleRegister Now

Palisade Regional Risk Conference Las Vegas
Las Vegas – November 20th-21st *
View ScheduleRegister Now

* 2-day event with 4 tracks for each day.


Previous 2013 Palisade Risk Conferences

An advantage of our software being available in 8 different languages is the Palisade's ability to provide risk analysis services throughout the world. The following is a list of the cities Palisade Risk Conferences were held this year. If you missed us in a city near you, be sure to look for us in 2014!


See also: Palisade Global Risk Conferences Advance Best Practices in Risk Management