Supply Chain design studies often target understanding the impact of new sourcing options such as switching suppliers, opening or closing facilities, new product line introductions, or business acquisition integration. Each opportunity has potentially great financial advantage, but also carries risks as well. The task then is to understand and quantify the risk – reward trade offs of operating cost vs customer lead time, inventory vs. service, fixed vs. variable cost. Unfortunately the various business goals need to be balanced and the complexities managed of customer demand, product dimensions, geography, shipping modes and rates. Sometimes a spreadsheet will do, often you need a more robust tool.
One complaint of modeling and simulation often heard is that the only one who understands the model is the modeler. Fair enough when the math is dense and the model a bunch of programming code.
Supply Chain Guru by LLamasoft is one of the best of the many logistic network optimization and simulation software packages on the market today. With SC Guru model building is very visual. Sure there is a ton of data to manage; addresses, sales orders, shipment details, product dimensions, sourcing, inventory, and transportation policies. With the visual modeling native to the package you can display and interact with your data easily. As a user you can quickly create views of the supply network based on product or customer groups, geography, shipping lanes. Building the network diagram is as easy as with Visio or any other flow charting tool. Geo maps are easy to populate with built in longitude and latitude lookups. Distances come easily through the PC*Miler functionality.
Making the analysis more visual opens up the network study to greater team participation and leadership comprehension, and hopefully a better business result.