IBM Decision Optimization
IBM is hosting the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in San Diego from Sept 19 to 21st. Click here for more details on the event.
This event will be very educational with deep dives into:
There is a strong track for those interested in the supply chain. But, IBM is strong in other new areas that eventually (if not already) will impact the supply chain. For example, companies need to react to the proliferation of data on customers, the consumers greater user of smart phones, and the rising importance of social media. These topics will all eventually impact managers in the supply chain. This event will help you understand and get out in front of these trends.
If you are planning on attending, let us know. We have a team of folks from the ILOG supply chain group who will be there. We would like to hear from you.
A public training class for LogicNet Plus XE will run from August 16-18 in Chicago. We have limited seating, so please sign up early.
David F. Carr of Forbes Magazine recently wrote an article based on an interview with Steve Sashihara, the author of the new book called "The Optimization Edge: Reinventing Decision Making to Optimize all of Your Company's Assets".
The article does a great job of explaining how firms need to embed mathematical optimization deep into their organizations to really take advantage of their investment in IT and data.
The article mentions that IBM and IBM's ILOG CPLEX have the ability to address the need for more automated optimization. This article confirms the value we've seen in Optimization:
And the list could go on. We are finding that firms who push optimization deep into their organizations see significant returns on their investment.
As a complement to the Forbes article, we have just released a short educational video to explain the value of mathematical optimization to business leaders. Click here for a link to that video.
We were recently interviewed by Tom Andel, Editor-in-Chief for Material Handling & Logistics magazine for their edition on how the concepts of 'Lean' apply to the warehouse. We were quoted in the Editor's Note on page 4.
Lean techniques started with Toyota's manufacturing system and have moved into many other types of operations over the last two decades.
Often, though, it is difficult to take the concepts of 'Lean' and apply them to operations that do not look much like Toyota. Often, these efforts will just focus on waste reduction. However, a careful study of the fundamentals of lean reveals the importance of creating optimal (and minimal) buffers to protect against variability. This is where optimization can come in. Optimization can often reveal new strategies for minimizing the buffers you have in your supply chain. For example, the article quotes:
"Of course, another great way to reduce inventory at the warehouse is if the product just skips the warehouse entirely. That requires determining which products should touch every warehouse, which should bypass the warehouses, and which should be cross-docked."
IBM just released a nice video introducing the concepts of mathematical optimization to business. This is a great video to help you convince others in your organization of the value of optimization. Click here to view the video.
One example of this type of optimization is strategic network design. To get more information on this, click here for a video on this technology.
In addition, within IBM this all fits under our umbrella of Smarter Commerce. Smarter Commerce, in part, is about taking advantage of new data about customers and the market and creating new processes throughout your business to better meet customer demand. Click here for a video introduction or go to this website for an overview of Smarter Commerce.
The new "hours of service" rules were discussed In a recent Wall Street Journal article. The article mentioned that the hours a truck can drive in a day is proposed to be dropped from 11 to 10. The final decision is expected to be made in October.
This represents a potential 9% decrease in the number of miles that can be covered in a day by a truck. This obviously has a large impact for the supply chain. Some orders that could be met within a day will now be two days. You may have to shorten routes or change modes. And, this will drive up your transportation costs.
To mitigate the increase in transportation cost, you should re-evaluate the structure of your supply chain to make sure you have the right number and location of your warehouses, to make sure you are making products in the right locations, and to make sure your routes and modes are correct. By re-optimizing your supply chain, you may be able to offset much of the cost of the new rules.
Although the new rules are not yet in place, it is a good idea to get ahead of the situation so you are ready if they are enacted. Even if the rules are not enacted, the supply chain optimization scenario may yield other savings.
The new supply chain news aggregation site OpRules, reported on on an article about Australia's new carbon tax. According to the article,
"Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday announced a $23 dollar per tonne price on carbon emissions to be paid by about 500 of the country’s biggest polluters from July 1, 2012."
Supply chain optimization can help firms help minimize the impact of this tax and reduce carbon. For example, with this tax, it may make sense to change the number of warehouse locations, manufacture or procure products from different locations, develop different routes for the trucks, switch transportation modes, and evaluate different inventory policies.
By re-analyzing the supply chain to include this new tax, firms should be able to find strategies that dramatically decrease the total cost of the carbon tax by developing new strategies in other areas of the supply chain.
We are hosting a 2-day Proof of Technology workshop in Cologne, Germany on September 19th and 20th. The meeting will be held in our local IBM office.
This proof of technology workshop enables participants to understand the potential of supply chain optimization tools.
The workshop emphasizes hands-on experience with the product and will highlight various ways these products can help you run a smarter supply chain.
If you are interested in the session, please contact us or your local IBM representative.
The Supply Chain Digest's editorial staff recently wrote an editorial on the "Out of Stock" problem faced by Consumer Goods companies. They noted:
"In fact, inventory levels in consumer goods manufacturers stayed flat throughout most of the 2000s, and out-of-stock levels at the shelf have also been resistant to improvement. A well-publicized 2007 study by Dr. Thomas Gruen of the University of Colorado and Dr. Daniel Corsten of the IE Business School Madrid, based on funding from Procter & Gamble, estimated that manufacturers lose something close to $100 billion in sales annually due to out-of-stocks at the shelf.
The editorial discusses areas where IBM is helping firms solve this problem by better optimizing inventory.
"In fact, according to Remzi Ural, a supply chain lead in IBM's global consumer packaged goods practice, one beverage company IBM recently worked with was able to increase its sales by 12.3 million cases by significantly reducing its out of stocks, in this case throughout its distribution network that served local stores "
This was based on a videocast we did with SCDigest.
Ahold USA and IBM to Talk About Network Analysis with Strategic Souring, Inventory Optimizaiton, and Route Optimization
MichaelWatson 270002K5FS Tags:  network_modeling transportation_optimizati... ilog inventory_optimization 2,765 Views
Joseph Shaw from Ahold USA and Alex Scott from IBM will speak at the 2011 Material Handling and Logistics Conference. The conference is Sept 18-21 in Park City Utah.
Ahold is an international retailing group based in the Netherlands. Ahold had revenues of 29.5B Euros in 2010. Ahold USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ahold. Ahold USA operates Stop & Shop, Giant, and Giant Martin's stores as well as the on-line grocer Peapods.
The title of the talk is "Beyond the Traditional Network Analysis."
"So you are challenged with managing a large portfolio of products and a complex set of vendors, customers and distribution locations. How do you make sense of this all and streamline your supply chain? This session takes you beyond the pin-on-a-map network analysis and examines factors such as sourcing strategies, inventory optimization, route planning and more. We will also review a grocery case study that involved the analysis of sourcing effectiveness, evaluation of DC investment opportunities, and relocation of legacy facilities to get the most out of their supply chain network. "Click here for the link to the conference tracks and a full bio of each speaker. This talk is in Track 3, Session 2 at 10:15 AM on Monday.
MichaelWatson 270002K5FS Tags:  optimization transportation_analyst transportation ilog 2,750 Views
We have a new release of IBM ILOG Transportation Analyst.
This is a major release for this product. It has a new interface, improved run time performance, additional constraints and settings, and enhanced optimization capabilities. The product embeds IBM ILOG CPLEX Optimizer. Specifically, the optimization engine takes advantage of our powerful constraint programming engine which is well suited to these types of problems. All of this allows you to more easily solve larger problems and address other routing problems.
IBM ILOG Transportation Analyst is a strategic tool that allows you to determine the best routes, size your fleet, determine best backhauls, determine how to best use hubs, and make mode selection choices between private fleet, commercial carriers, multit-stop routes, and LTL.
This product is a nice complement to IBM ILOG LogicNet Plus XE. When designing a network, it is often important to understand the implications to routes, fleet sizes, hubs, and modes. The product also complements Sterling TMS by providing a strategic complement for doing what-if analysis.
At the May 2011 Manufacturing Leadership Summit, The Dow Chemical Co. won a Supply Network Mastery award for their global supply chain optimization initiatives.
The award sited a few examples of the type of work they did:
"One Pacific-area team used a Network Optimization Work Process to evaluate tank usage. Optimizing tank usage for multiple products cut costs, improved service levels, and reduced GHG emissions; the latter has become a key performance metric in the Network Optimization Work Process. Each network project looks not only at cost and customer service, but also provides key carbon footprint data to reveal opportunities for GHG reduction.
After the April 2009 acquisition of Rohm and Haas, D&MSC Work Processes helped teams capitalize on synergy opportunities and optimize the company’s Europe warehouse network. The evaluation identified savings through consolidation of shipments to warehouses and reductions in freight and warehousing costs. "
The award mentioned that these projects and others saved the firm $5 million during 2009-2010.
The article mentions that LogicNet Plus was part of the toolkit. For the a link to the full article, click here.
Consumer Products companies (and others) face pressure to reduce costs, have customers demanding better availability, and have an ever-expanding global supply chain. In this environment, managing inventory is difficult. However, by optimizing inventory by determining the best buffers, the location of the push/pull boundaries, and the correct amount of inventory and safety stock at each location for each SKU.
To address these needs, IBM has pulled together a solution to help firms optimize inventory on an on-going basis. This solution pulls together IBM's optimization technology (IBM ILOG Inventory and Product Flow Analyst), our expertise in inventory optimization, our expertise in integration to ERP systems, and other capabilities such as SPSS's predictive analytics. Click here for a paper on this solution.
The benefits of inventory optimization can be significant:
A public training class for LogicNet Plus XE will run from May 24-26 in Chicago. We have limited seating, so please sign up early.
Click here to enroll.
If you have any questions, please let us know.
MichaelWatson 270002K5FS Tags:  supply_chain network_design ilog production_sourcing 2,861 Views
Deciding where to locate your manufacturing plants or where to make a product can have significant impact on your overall cost and your ability to serve your customers. However, this is not a trivial decision and depends on many factors.
Over the last several years, the press has reported on the move of manufacturing from the US to China. However, two recent in articles in The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek, show that the issue is much more complex.
Both articles point out that rising wages in China erode the labor cost advantage. And, the rising cost of commodities and especially oil, tip the scales even further. Both articles indicate that there will be a speed up in new manufacturing capacity being built in the U.S.
Certainly, moving production to China was not the answer for many firms. The Wall Street Journal article points out that rising productivity has allowed US manufacturing output to actually double from four decades ago. And, many firms chose to keep manufacturing in the U.S. to protect intellectual property, to be closer to the market, or to minimize inventory investments.
At the same time, over just the last five to ten years, we have seen firms build manufacturing capacity in China for the China market. So, as consumer demand increases in China, more manufacturing capacity is needed to service these markets. This new demand must be accounted for in decisions on where to locate manufacturing capacity.
Deciding where to locate manufacturing capacity becomes even tougher when you factor in the impact of taxes, inventory, and risk.
So, how should you determine where to locate your manufacturing capacity? The answer is not simple, but should consider the following:
This type of analysis is not a one-time event. You have a chance to mold your strategy everytime you make a capital investment in your supply chain. And, the more facilities you have, the more opportunities you have to adjust your supply chain when market conditions change.
MichaelWatson 270002K5FS Tags:  tms network_design optimization inventory ilog routing sterling 2,947 Views
IBM's ILOG and Sterling supply chain teams have been named to the Top 100 Logistics IT Providers for 2011 by Inbound Logistics.
This echos the comment from last year from SupplyChainDigest that" Somewhat quietly, IBM is building a formidable portfolio of supply chain software solutions that has the potential to shake up the existing market."
aeortiz 2700024WMF Tags:  in virtal commerce supply chain scm linked optimization linkedin user group ilog ibm management 3,803 Views
Join our monthly IBM ILOG Supply Chain Management Virtual User Group (VUG) sessions. These 1-hour meetings are a quick way to brush up on your IBM ILOG supply chain modeling skills, meet other people using the products, ask questions to the community, and learn about what's new. These sessions will be led by our experts and have plenty of time for discussions and Q&A.
May 4th 2001:
Topic: "Applying Supply Chain Analytics: Benefits of a Central Group"
This talk addresses the value firms can achieve by deploying advanced supply chain analytics and how a group should be structured. We will use case studies and recent events to highlight the value from business analytics such as network and inventory optimization. We will discuss how 3M Corporation is organized to deploy this capability.
Join our LinkedIn Community to receive updates, more detailed information, and Dial-up/Web Meeting access.
May 4th - Wednesday
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August 2nd - Tuesday
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October 7th - Friday
November 2nd - Wednesday
December 2nd - Friday
aeortiz 2700024WMF Tags:  products commerce ilog consumer scm inventory chain analytics supply business smarter optimization cp cpg stockouts ibm 3,636 Views
How Smarter Inventory Analytics Solve the "Out-of-Stock" Scenario for CPG Supply Chains
Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Time: 11:30 ET, 10:30 CT, 9:30 MT and 8:30 PT
Place: Your PC
Fulfilling the Three A's: Adaptability, Agility and Alignment
In the recent years, we have seen a transformation in consumer behavior. The use of social media allows consumers to exchange thoughts; the migration from controlled media and monitored media. Easy information access combined with more educated consumers is making promotion planning more important. Finally, the chase for "value" is not only changing the timing of purchases but also location and brand. All these changes on the demand side are forcing consumer products companies to think about supply side in terms of: Demand Driven Supply Networks.
The supply chains are being transformed into complex supply networks with the introduction of co-packers, co-manufacturers and service providers. Commodity price increases and fluctuations are adding to volatility and margin pressures. Overall, changing consumer behavior, and increases in complexity, globalization and cost reduction pressures all force consumer products supply chains to fulfill the three A's: Adaptability, Agility and Alignment.
The crux of these strategies relies upon the application of Business Analytics to help close the gap between planning and execution. In this case, Closed-Loop Dynamic Inventory Optimization is leveraged to set appropriate inventory targets throughout the global supply chain and ensure that the right products are positioned in front of the right customers at the right time.
Closed-Loop Dynamic Inventory Optimization is a core process that regularly tunes policies across the supply chain to keep inventory closely aligned with changing conditions. But, the organizational value of such an approach goes beyond the more obvious metrics of improving service levels, order lead times, and inventory positioning. For example:
The application of Business Analytics on top of traditional supply chain planning and execution solutions gives CP Manufacturers the unprecedented ability to continuously improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance the customer experience.
Michael S. Watson, Ph.D., WW Optimization & Supply Chain Lead at IBM,
Remzi Ural, Global Supply Chain Management Solutions Lead, Consumer Products Industry at IBM
SCDigest Editor Dan Gilmore.
DC Velocity Videocast: IBM Cloud Computing Optimization and Analytics in the Transportation Industry
aeortiz 2700024WMF Tags:  chain ilog smarter logistics optimization transportation ibm commerce distribution supply scm 3,045 Views
Question: What is IBM Cloud Computing Optimization and Analytics?
IBM Watson Answer: Learn how companies are dealing with transformative events in their logistics network and managing uncertainty in a turbulent market.
Despite the turmoil of the transportation market there are advanced technologies to help steward firms through rate hikes, oil prices, driver shortage, congestion, and capacity constraints while managing today's network complexities.
The imperative for companies who want to outpace competitors is to reconsider how they apply optimization to take advantage of limited resources. Executives are looking to technology solutions to provide the tools they need for daily execution and long term strategic transportation decisions.
Executives Walter Heil and Dan Vanden Brink will discuss how the application of business analytics in conjunction with "as a Service" (SaaS) Transportation Management Systems helps optimize distribution and logistics decisions capabilities to:
This webcast was recorded on the show floor at ProMat 2011.
Registration is not required for this free event.
aeortiz 2700024WMF Tags:  sterline scm management ibm optimization transportation execution ilog planning group commerce aberdeen 3,199 Views
On April 26th, Sterling Commerce, an IBM Company is sponsoring an Aberdeen Group webinar on Inbound Transportation Management: The Convergence of Planning, Optimization, and Dynamic Execution. Register today!
Inbound Transportation Focus –
· WalMart’s Inbound supply chain collaboration initiative is one additional factor driving change- (Kelly Abney, WalMart VP Corporate Transportation presented a keynotes on this initiative during Aberdeen’s 2010 and 2011 Supply Chain Summit).
· Gaining visibility and control of inbound transportation management is prerequisite and central to…
· Organizations lacking inbound control are blind to shipment details within the transportation pipeline.
Learn how leading companies (those with highest percentages of Inbound Freight under control) are focusing on new Inbound Technologies to address challenges and take action. They are:
· 2.8 to 5.8 –times as likely to leverage enhanced planning optimization –leading companies are converging planning processes with robust automation to support on-the-fly decision-making
· 1.2 to 2.5 –times as likely to automate dynamic optimization and near real-time visibility with optimization of execution within their processes.
and as we look for insights around best practices and review specific examples
of strategic technology advancement around inbound collaboration.