IBM Decision Optimization
Here are conferences and events we will attend this year. If you are going to be at any of these events, please let us know.
IBM Impact2011, April 10 - 15, Las Vegas, NV
INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research. April 10 - 12, Chicago, IL
SCOPE East, April 17-19, Orlando, FL
SCOPE West, Aug 29 - 31, Las Vegas, NV
CSCMP Annual Global Conference, Oct 2 - 5, Philadelphia, PA
IBM Information on Demand, Oct 23 - 27, Las Vegas, NV
MichaelWatson 270002K5FS Tags:  sterling_tms ilog optimization transportation_analyst 2,116 Visits
Finding good routes can reduce transportation costs by 5-15%.
Finding great routes can reduce costs by a further 5-10%.
These savings can add up fast.
However, finding these great routes can be difficult.
On one level, routing seems trivial. If you have 75 shipments to make, you can easily look at a map and come up with routes. If analyze the routes, you can probably make changes to reduce costs. But, how do you know if you've found good solution? How do you know if you've found a great solution?
What is not obvious at first glance is how many total possible routes exist in a routing problem. In a problem with just 75 shipments, if you allow up to 10 stops per truck, the total possible routes exceed 10 to the 100th power (10 followed by 100 zeros)! Even with today's computing power, there is no way to evaluate each of these options.
And, the problem becomes harder when you consider delivery windows, different types of trucks, the ability to do backhauls, making making multiple trips with the same vehicle, and so on.
This is where IBM's optimization expertise comes in. Both the IBM ILOG Transportation Analyst and Sterling TMS use the ILOG CPLEX Optimizer to find great routes. The ILOG CPLEX Optimizer product contains a module for Constraint Programming (CP). CP is well suited for tough scheduling and routing problems, especially routing problems with time windows. It is this optimization technology that allows to you to find great solutions.
In the January 2011 edition of Inbound Logistics, Navistar's Ed Melching, Director of Global Logistics discusses their supply chain transformation and selection of Menlo as their 3PL partner.
In 2008, after undergoing a grueling third-party logistics provider (3PL) selection process, Navistar chose San Mateo, Calif.-based Menlo Worldwide Logistics, the global supply chain management subsidiary of Con-way Inc., to support it in improving its global logistics network, including managing global transportation providers and regional warehouses, planning lead times, and modeling net landed costs.
He reports that one of their goals was a 25% reduction in supply chain costs. He reports that at "the end of the partnership’s second year, we will have achieved 11-percent cost savings, out of the 25-percent goal we set for the next five years."
When discussing the reasons Navistar selected Menlo, he mentioned their "global coverage, cross-network planning, and optimization capabilities."
This is a very interesting article discussing the challenges of building a new global supply chain from the ground up. It is also interesting that modeling net landed cost and optimization capabilities were mentioned as key factors in the transformation of the supply chain. This mirrors some other findings that leading supply chains are relying on optimization-based technology to help drive improvements.
Many S&OP processes stop with the sales planning. When you extend your S&OP process to include optimization through a tool like LogicNet Plus XE, you can reap many benefits.
The picture to the left is shows some highlights from an S&OP case from a beer company. On a monthly basis, as part of the S&OP process, the operations of this beer company are modeled and optimized in LogicNet Plus XE. The details below the map provide information on how much beer, by product by month, is shipped to each of warehouses and how much product is produced in each month. The graph shows the inventory build up in the supply chain by warehouses.
Besides providing insight into the operational cost and capacity implications of a given sales plan, the results also show the impact on total revenue, operational gross profit, and total pre-build inventory.
These results can also provide insight into the sales plan. For example, it can determine the cost and feasibility of promotions, it can suggest additional demand shaping activities by looking at under-utilized capacity.
In this case, the firm analyzed different demand plans around the implications of a marketing program to grow demand in a region, the implications of a promotion for a specialty product, and the implications of a price increase.
aeortiz 2700024WMF Tags:  events supply impact informs ibm optimization scm ilog chain 1,761 Visits
Don't miss ILOG Optimization and Supply Chain at these must attend IBM and INFORMS events: http://www.kingfishmedia.net/emails/IBM/2.24b.html
MichaelWatson 270002K5FS Tags:  analytics ilog inventory_and_product_flo... inventory_optimization invenory ipfa 1,958 Visits
Smarter inventory analytics is about using your investment in inventory wisely. This means optimizing your inventory-- setting the right inventory levels for each SKU at each location, optimally positioning and buffering inventory in the supply chain, setting the correct service levels, and determining the correct flow paths.
With optimized inventory you can:
To reap the benefits of inventory optimization, it is not just about the optimization technology. You need to integrate into your ERP system for on-going updates and build the capability into your processes.
If you are interested in more details, contact us for a white paper on how to achieve better performance with your inventory.
This blog has often commented on the price of oil. Oil prices have a big impact on the supply chain. As oil prices change, it impacts the cost of raw materials, productions, and transportation. The change in these costs impacts the trade-offs that a firm needs to make.
For example, as the increase in oil prices drives up transportation costs, it can change where product should be made, the mode of transportation used, and the inventory strategy.
Several years ago during the big run up in oil prices, we wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal that discussed how the supply chain strategies needed to adjust to the new prices. As oil prices fell, we wrote an reminder that it was still important to analyze the impact on the supply chain. In both cases, it is important to understand the trade-offs between transportation costs, sourcing decisions, and inventory and adjust the supply chain accordingly.
As oil hit $100 a barrel this week, it is worth recalling these lessons. More firms have invested in more flexible operations, but the basic lessons remain. It is important to adjust your supply chain to fit the realities of the market.