This week get to know Mike Watson, a blogger who writes about ILOG and Supply Chain Management. Learn more about Michael and connect with him on his My developerWorks profile
and his blog
. Tell me about yourself and what you're currently working on...
I'm Mike Watson. Our group joined IBM when IBM acquired ILOG in 2009. Our group within IBM focuses on optimization and supply chain solutions. For example, we help companies determine the correct inventory levels, determine the best number and location of their warehouses, figure out the best place to make a product, figure out how to schedule the factory, determine what should be stocked on the shelves at your local retailer, optimally route trucks, and get empty shipping containers back to where they are needed. The IBM community has been very welcoming and right now, we are working with these various groups in IBM so they can bring these solutions to their clients.What is one of the most interesting or creative projects you've seen use ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain management solutions?
We've worked on a lot of interesting problems over the years. What I'm always impressed with is how our projects help companies perform better and how much visibility these projects bring in an organization. For example, we recently helped with a large merger and our results were taken past the Board of Directors and on to the US Dept of Justice. A large retailer recently redesigned their warehouse network and the project was mentioned in the Letter to Shareholders. We've helped several national banks figure out how to move their trucks full of cash around most efficiently (lots of people would like to know where those trucks were going!!), A commodity gas producer had to figure out how to best swap customers with their competitors. Our ILOG optimization was featured on a NBC news piece when it was used to better figure out how to allocate kidney's to patients. Are you noticing any new developments or trends in Supply Chain Management?
It is interesting how the field of Supply Chain Management keeps moving. Over the last several years, we've seen more emphasis on measuring and optimizing the carbon footprint of the supply chain and better incorporating tax rates into strategic decisions. Technically, we are seeing firms apply more advanced analytics on a more regular basis. For example firms used to do advanced analytics on their supply chain every couple of years. Now, they are able to apply this technology on an on-going basis.
But, most recently, we see supply chain managers thinking about flexibility in their supply chain. The founder of our group, David Simchi-Levi, has a book coming out this summer
where he talks to this issue. Specifically, flexibility is a key concept that lets firms link the value they provide to their customers with their supply chain strategy. The products we offer help customers better understand flexibility in their supply chain. Tell me about your blog on developerWorks - the IBM ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain Solutions blog...
With a worldwide set of customers and clients, partners, and IBMers wanting to know what is going on with ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain, we have found that the blog is good way of keeping everyone up-to-date. We get a lot of feedback on the blog and a lot of ideas on what people want to hear about. - Thanks Michael!