Archive for optimization

Achieving Energy Savings through a Digital Transformation: The Vopak Case Study

Vopak, a leading operator of tank terminals, is undergoing a digital transformation. One of their projects occurred at their Savannah terminal. New sensors, machine learning, and optimization drove significant energy savings.

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Price Optimization Finally Becomes a Tool for Integrated Business Planning

Price optimization could be a powerful tool for demand shaping. It could be used in Integrated Business Planning to help balance supply and demand. It’s rarely used this way. Why?

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The Internet of Things is Nothing New

I’ve made the argument before that the Internet of Things is nothing new. In the logistics space, for example, we’ve been taking RF scans and using that data to improve warehouse processes since at least 1975 when McHugh Freeman, an early warehouse management system supplier, began business. Internet protocols make it easier to communicate that sensor data to applications. This is a big advance, but I don’t think we are seeing fundamentally new types of applications; just […]

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Revisiting Supply Chain Planning

I chose “Revisiting Supply Chain Planning” as the title for this blog post because I believe the phrase captures both the current focus of my research agenda (what I am doing) and the heightened priority SCP has taken on the agenda of many supply chain executives (what practitioners are doing). Earlier this week, I began updating ARC’s Global Supply Chain Planning (SCP) market study, last published in 2013. It’s worth noting that the SCP study […]

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Improving the Transportation Solve: Jointly Optimizing across Inventory and Transportation

When a company is looking to reduce their freight spend, while maintaining or improving service levels, there are two main paths they can take.  They can buy and implement a transportation management system (TMS).  Or they can outsource transportation planning and execution to a 3PL that provides managed transportation services (MTS). I talked to Wietse Cornelissen, who works in the Global Customer Service and Logistics department, at Heineken, on August 28th.  Then the very next […]

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Optimizing Today’s Automated Warehouse

Warehouse Automation to Optimization Warehouse automation vendors are placing increased emphasis on the ability of their software solutions to take warehouse performance to the next level. For example, the term warehouse execution system (WES) is being used to describe the next generation, more advanced warehouse control systems (WCS) that coordinate disparate warehouse systems while also dynamically routing work based on priorities and availability. Intelligrated’s WCSPlus is an example of such a solution. It uses a points-based […]

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Omni-channel Last Mile Logistics

The top two guys at FreshStart Logistics, Allen and Bill Ho, came to visit me. Their company sells an optimization engine for TMS. I have a geeky fascination with optimization. I’m don’t have a Ph.D in Operations Research, but I’ve seen the way a number of TMS solutions approach optimization. There were several things I liked about FreshStart’s real-time engine, including the way it can use GPS and traffic data for dynamic routing. But the […]

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Guest Commentary: Algorithms, Optimization and Constraints

I think it’s time we stopped using the word “optimization” in our transportation management conversations. I believe this because when we talk about optimization, we usually apply the term toward solving rating and routing problems. For example, “We have many separate orders going out on the same day, to many different locations. Let’s run it through the Optimizer to find the best solution and create shipments in the way that saves the most money and […]

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Guest Commentary: Transportation Network Design: Are You Optimizing an Inefficient Supply Chain?

Many supply chains are the product of history, put together over time as a company grows with expanding product lines and emerging markets. In larger successful companies, supply chains can grow to enormous complexity, encompassing billions of dollars in assets and deeply ingrained processes. If an organization continues to gain market share, acquires other companies and strengthens its brands, you might assume that its supply chain and transportation network are functioning pretty well, right? But […]

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TNT Express Reaps the Benefits of Operations Research

The important role of operations research in driving supply chain benefits was in full display at last month’s OPTIMUS 2012, ORTEC’s annual forum in Atlanta, GA. Many of the company’s key clients were there, including Walmart, Coca-Cola, General Mills, and Clorox. In the case of Coca-Cola, for example, the company has saved $500,000,000 in ten years through a variety of initiatives, including improved loading and routing of its 10,000 trucks (see “Coca-Cola Enterprises: Better Trucks, […]

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