Applications

Automating Supply Chain Analytics

Supply chain analytics span a wide range of applications from strategic network design to production planning, transportation routing, demand planning and many more. In addition, there is a growing need for innovative supply chain analytics capabilities beyond spreadsheets, business Intelligence, and enterprise system reports. One example is price and promotion optimization which links into demand Read More »

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Case Study: Forecast and Production Planning

Network optimization has traditionally been used to make decisions about where to locate plants and warehouses, how to best ship products and where to source. This has expanded into decisions around production planning at a high level. These include which plant should produce which product and when, given capacity and cost constraints. This type of Read More »

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Inventory Optimization Complements Lean

For many, there was a point in the past when the idea of “optimization” used to summon images of Greek letters juxtaposed in odd arrangements kept in black boxes that spewed out inscrutable results.  Optimization was sometimes considered a subject best left to impractical theorists, sequestered in small cubicles deep in the bowels of the building to Read More »

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Optimization to the Rescue

We recently attended and presented at the Informs Analytics conference.  While analytics includes many areas from machine learning, to dynamic programming and simulation, the main focus of the conference was optimization technology, provided by vendors who sell core solvers such as Gurobi, Lindo and CPLEX (IBM) as well as modeling languages such as AMPL and AIMMS. Read More »

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Analytics Done Right

The awareness that analytics is beneficial for business is widespread and not entirely new. In fact, analytics are recognized as a competitive advantage by Mike McNamara, Chief Information Officer, Target Corp., who was quoted in the WSJ: “That I have better supply-chain algorithms than [my competitors] really matters.” However, implementing new analytics technology is not Read More »

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Why Do You Need a Supply Chain Analytics Platform?

Analytics tend to be the realm of data scientists and operations research experts who do not have a good way to share their methods and results with business users. This is especially important during modeling or prototyping stages when feedback from business users is critical for making the right assumptions and understanding the model. Deploying Read More »

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How to Avoid Vendor Lock-in

The IT world has come a long way from the days of “Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM”, although that sentiment is probably still true of most IT purchases where it’s safer to go with the market leader, even if that means  foregoing innovation. Today, companies worry about “vendor lock-in” where the vendor’s technology Read More »

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Five Common Objections to Deploying Supply Chain Analytics

Deploying Supply chain analytics – in particular as applied to strategic decisions – can provide enormous benefits. The typical Network Design analysis can recommend  strategies that enable 5 to 15 percent cost reductions. Multi- Echelon Inventory Optimization (MEIO) analysis can reduce inventory exposure by as much as 30 percent. In addition, major changes in taxes, policies, Read More »

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Deploy Machine Learning Outside the Box

Everyone is talking about and doing something that involves Machine Learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence that covers many analytic techniques.  Each one of these is sensitive to how its parameters are set and must be applied to the objective at hand with skill and care.  Some common targets include fraud detection, marketing Read More »

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Analytics for Sales and Operations Planning

The process of Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) has been deployed and implemented primarily to align different business functions around a plan that reconciles opposing trade-offs in order to achieve the best results for the business as a whole.  For many years, S&OP systems have focused on creating a system of record to support the Read More »

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