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  • A transportation specialist needs to determine the best plan for shipping the customers’ orders on a daily basis. One important aspect of the decision is knowing the cost of each shipment, based on the their weight, origin-destination, transportation mode (TL, LTL, rail), etc. Now let’s assume you, the transportation specialist, have 100 orders to ship... Read More »
  • As previously published in SC Digest. In my class on Operations Excellence, we briefly cover the rise of Toyota and all the innovative operational practices they gave us. In retrospect, we can cite the lessons from Toyota from Lean, to set-up reduction, to variability and waste reduction, and on and on. But, at the time... Read More »
  • Is Simple Load Consolidation that Simple?

    Ehsan Khodabandeh PhD Jun 15th, 2017
    Whether we know it or not, at some point we have all dealt with variants of transportation routing problems. Consider a time when you and a group of friends (7 people total) are having dinner and have decided to transition to some drinks at a bar too far to walk to. You all agree to... Read More »
  • The above picture is one I took while on vacation in Costa Rica.  We were going to a remote beach at the end of a 3-mile pothole and rut-stricken dirt road.  We happened to be following a truck making a delivery.  The truck got stuck by an overhanging tree.  The driver immediately got out, with... Read More »
  • There has been a lot of talk about how driverless trucks may reduce the need for drivers and how will our economy replace these 2 million good blue collar jobs. The same conversation is going on for the larger economy with all the buzz around artificial intelligence. Lots of smart people and deep thinkers are... Read More »
  •   Driverless trucks could have a large impact on the design of your supply chain. Jeff Potts of LeanLogistics wrote a nice blog post that hit on some of these ideas. He gave us a few good insights: Driverless trucks promise to reduce transportation costs by avoiding getting more use from each truck without having... Read More »
  • The Four Myths of Supply Chain Risk

    Larry Snyder, Ph.D. Sep 30th, 2016
    In over 15 years of studying supply chain risk, there is a common set of comments that I often hear from both supply chain researchers and practitioners. Whether they would admit it or not, the people making these comments are basically using them as an excuse to say, “Meh. I’m not going to bother dealing... Read More »
  • A couple of years ago while working on my PhD and before joining Opex Analytics, I had the privilege of working with some amazing people as part of solving a customer product delivery and transportation problem for GE Appliances & Lighting. The results of this collaboration is published in a journal paper and we believe... Read More »
  • “Baseline Validation” is as elemental to a network modeling workplan as “creating good jobs” is to a candidate’s economic plan. It has to be there. You can’t be against it. But it’s not always clear whether there is any real meat to that part of the plan. A baseline scenario is the first model run... Read More »
  • (This is the second article in the series on Profit Maximization that was first published at SCDigest.) In a previous post, I discussed two big reasons why you shouldn’t build your supply chain model to maximize profit. Hopefully, I convinced you and prevented needless extra work and heartache. However, even if you have a cost... Read More »
  • (We recently were interviewed on weekly The Supply Chain Television Channel and CSCMP– click on the above picture and go to the 3:55 mark for the interview.  The interview was based on the following blog post which also appeared on SCDigest.  We received a lot of feedback on the post and will write more. Without further... Read More »
  • I just came across an article in Inbound Logistics on the 6 Steps you should go through in a network model.  This article serves as a good reminder on what it takes to do a network design project.  The six steps are: State your goals Assemble the data Clean up the data Create scenarios Run the... Read More »
  • Top 3 Predictions for Network Design in 2016

    Michael Watson Ph.D Feb 2nd, 2016
    Last week, Dan Gilmore of Supply Chain Digest asked us to provide predictions for what would happen in the field of network design.  Here is his full article with predictions in other areas. Here our Top 3  predictions for 2016: 1.  Modeling will become more collaborative.  Modeling has always required data and feedback from many different... Read More »
  • On Dec 15th, Snapfish, a photo services company, found themselves on the front page of the USA Today. Unfortunately, the reason they made the front page was that they were very late in shipping Christmas cards to customers.  And, customers were upset. We saw something similar during Christmas 2013 when UPS and FedEx could not... Read More »
  • Simple Models for Next Day or Next Hour Delivery

    Michael Watson Ph.D Dec 2nd, 2015
    (This article first appeared on SupplyChainDigest) When we wrote the book Supply Chain Network Design, we intentionally started with a very simple model to help people build intuition on how the math works.  This simple model optimized the location of facilities to minimize the distance to the customers.  This model did not consider costs, capacities,... Read More »
  •   (This article first appeared on SC Digest.  It was a report from the annual CSCMP Conference) With the current low price of diesel fuel and the expected continuing drop in the price of oil, I was wondering how much interest there would be in the CSCMP talk on natural gas trucks.  My question was... Read More »
  • At CSCMP’s annual meeting, I got the chance to listen a talk from Benjamin Moore on how they redesigned their supply chain.  Here were the top five lessons I gleaned from the talk (you can find this list and more details in the full article on Supply Chain Digest): Expect a study to take 3-4... Read More »
  • Two Supply Chain Design Lessons from Starbucks CEO

    Michael Watson Ph.D Oct 19th, 2015
    The Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, spoke at the annual CSCMP event in San Diego a few weeks ago. He made two key observations about the the supply chain: First, you won’t be able to scale your business unless your supply chain can handle it.  (As a side note, he also mentioned that if your HR department... Read More »
  • (This article first appeared in Supply Chain Digest) Let’s start with an example of multi-objective optimization.  The map you see is all the towns and cities in Germany where your product is sold.  Let’s assume you want to to determine how many warehouses you need so that you are within 75km of every customer. This... 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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 »