Select a topic:
Data Science
Operations and Supply Chain
  • Many businesses lease equipment rather than purchase it.  This has tax and finance advantages since the assets are not listed on the books of the lease.  Also, for equipment with a short life cycle- like computer equipment, leases allow you to keep up with changes in technology.   Although IT equipment is probably the most frequently... Read More »
  • New Release of IBM ILOG LogicNet Plus XE

    Michael Watson Ph.D Oct 17th, 2013
    On Oct 16th, IBM released a new version of LogicNet Plus XE.   This new version contains some nice enhancements to the tool.  These enhancements continue to make the tool easier for business users.  The upgrades include the following: New version of CPLEX– this will allow you to solve larger models and solve models faster... Read More »
  • Comment on “Is Big Data an Economic Big Dud?”

    Michael Watson Ph.D Oct 14th, 2013
    The New York Times recently wrote an article, “Is Big Data an Economic Big Dud?”  Here is part of the article questioning the value of Big Data: For now, though, he acknowledges that most of the raw data flowing across the Web has limited economic value: far more useful is specialized data in the hands... Read More »
  • Lora Cecere recently published an article in Data Informed, The Role of Analytics in the Race for the Supply Chain of the Future.  Here is a slice: For most companies, the word analytics is synonymous with reporting. But despite thirty years of supply chain technology evolution, the most commonly used system for supply chain planning is... Read More »
  • Determining the best delivery frequency for suppliers into your facilities involves trading-off three key factors: First, you need to to consider transportation costs.  If your vendors ship frequently, you end up paying more in transportation per unit.   What makes this analysis complex is that transportation rates are not linear.   As you move from... Read More »
  • Three Types of Buffers

    Michael Watson Ph.D Oct 7th, 2013
    I recently wrote an article for Supply Chain Digest (Three Types of Supply Chain Buffers) that discussed that every supply chain has variability and will buffer this variability with some form of inventory, capacity, or time. What is interesting about this concept is that is applies to every business, not just a supply chain.  The... Read More »
  • Analytics for Small and Medium Sized Firms

    Michael Watson Ph.D Aug 19th, 2013
    A lot of press around analytics is focused on large and exciting projects.  But, analytics can be applied to firms of any size. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management’s recent magazine published an article, “Think you are too small for Big Data?  THINK AGAIN.“ At Opex Analytics, we are providing a variety of analytic solutions for... Read More »
  • We recently did a video interview on Supply Chain Digest (starting at about the 3:20 mark) on the trucking industry’s new Hours of Service Rules (basically increasing the limit on the amount of time a truck driver can drive before resting). In the interview, we make a case that the impact on the total costs of transportation... Read More »
  • Maps Are More Than Eye Candy

    Michael Watson Ph.D Aug 12th, 2013
    We all like to look at nice graphic or visualization.  But, as it becomes easier to create nice graphics and visualizations, some have become more art than conveying information. It is important that we remember the purpose of our visualizations.  Michael Schrage, in his HBR blog, states that visualizations should be “interfaces to interpersonal engagement.”... Read More »
  • IBM recently published a white paper called The New Software-Defined Supply Chain.   We had a chance to participate in this work.  They paper discusses how 3D printing (additive manufacturing), advanced robotics, and open source hardware may have a dramatic impact on the supply chain. The paper argues that…”despite the press coverage that technologies like 3D... Read More »
  • Network Design Book Reviews

    Michael Watson Ph.D Aug 7th, 2013
    If you are involved in a network design project– whether running the software, managing the project or just part of the team, you should consider the book, Supply Chain Network Design.  We wrote the book to help people better understand the field and do better work in this area. You can can check out the... Read More »
  • Using Safety Stock to Buffer Against Variability

    Michael Watson Ph.D Aug 6th, 2013
    Dealing with variability is part of creating a lean supply chain (or lean enterprise).  Ideally, you would like to eliminate the variability.  However, this is not always possible.  When it is not possible, you need to create the appropriate buffers. If you are interested in more details about how inventory can be used to buffer... Read More »
  • IBM put together a nice 3-minute video explaining mathematical optimization.
  • What is a Data Scientist?

    Michael Watson Ph.D Aug 2nd, 2013
    With the rise of Big Data and data in general (see here for a definition of Big Data), there is an increased need for people to analyze that data to turn it into information.  Thomas Davenport and D.J. Patil recently wrote an article in Harvard Business Review about how Data Scientists are going to be the hot... Read More »
  • I recently wrote a blog post on SCDigest about the three definitions of Big Data. It is worth a read.  More managers are under pressure to do something with Big Data.  Before you can do anything with it, you should know what it is. The article covers three different definitions of Big Data: IT definition:... Read More »
  • Transportation is an area ripe for analytics: It is a big expense It is made up of many different shipments You have difference choices to make And, many companies do their transportation analytics in Excel.  This is not a bad thing.  They load up thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of shipment records to analyze.... Read More »
  • In yesterday’s post, we discussed a short definition of Analytics (“the ability to collect, analyze, and act on data.”). Of course, this is a broad definition.  To determine your appropriate analytics strategy, it is important to understand the different categories that make up the field of analytics. A team from IBM published one of the better... Read More »
  • What is Analytics? Part 1: 4 Short Answers

    Michael Watson Ph.D Jul 29th, 2013
    It is clear that analytics is a very hot topic now.  Companies are committed to pursuing analytics and discussing their successes.  Consulting firms talk about their services to help their clients take advantage of analytics.  Software vendors tout their analytics solution. But, what exactly is analytics? Quick searches do not seem to yield good definitions.... Read More »
  • Network Design Case Studies

    Michael Watson Ph.D Jul 22nd, 2013
    At our site for our book, Supply Chain Network Design, we have a blog post that pulls together the following case studies: Mars and Wrigley merger Whirlpool and Maytag merger MillerCoors merger The Home Depot supply chain transformation Pepsi and Multi-site Production Planning Johnson Controls closed loop battery supply chain Südzucker uses network design to adjust... Read More »
  • New “Hours of Service” rules went into effect on July 1st.  These new rules decrease the amount of time a trucker can drive during a week. For more information on the impact, The Wall Street Journal wrote a nice article and Dan Gilmore at SupplyChainDigest wrote an interesting article suggesting that the impact may not be... Read More »
  • Welcome to the Opex Blog

    admin Jun 24th, 2013
    Welcome to the blog for Opex Analytics. We’ll be using this blog to post general educational articles on analytics and Big Data– especially as these relate to businesses.  One of our goals is to help you cut through the hype and keep up with the news surrounding the terms analytics and Big Data. We’ll also... Read More »