LLamasoft Supply Chain Blog

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Trip Report: Second Annual LLamasoft Tokyo Supply Chain Design Conference

By John Ames    February 22, 2017

The LLamasoft team in Japan was thrilled to host our second annual Supply Chain Design Conference at our headquarters in Tokyo on February 15. (You can read more about last year’s event here.) Nearly 160 attendees took part in the one-day event with picturesque views of the iconic Tokyo Tower and Mount Fuji. The event kicked off with a press conference with LLamasoft President and CEO Don Hicks as he Read More >>

The Limitations of Traditional Supply Chain Planning Systems

By Toby Brzoznowski    February 2, 2017

Every large global company has implemented enterprise planning systems to help keep their supply chains running, and research shows that billions of dollars are spent each year on upgrades and new implementations of these planning systems. So why does nearly every company still do much of their actual “planning” using offline spreadsheets or rely on small groups of data scientists to provide critical insight and business analysis?  Shouldn’t this be Read More >>

Supply Chain Design 101

By Jeff Metersky    January 19, 2017

We at LLamasoft eat, sleep and breathe supply chain design every day and the largest and most successful companies leverage this technology to lead the pack. While more and more organizations adopt design every day, there are still a wealth of companies just learning about the huge gains they can net with design. How is design differentiated from planning and execution, how can I leverage the technology, and how can Read More >>

The Year Ahead: 2017 Supply Chain Predictions

By Toby Brzoznowski    January 4, 2017

Although many people were surprised by the outcome of last year’s US presidential election, one thing that everyone could predict with certainty was that a new administration will take office this January, and with any new administration comes change and some amount of uncertainty. And for supply chain professionals, there are few words that are less welcome than “change” and “uncertainty”. Therefore, these two words/challenges make up the foundation of Read More >>

2016: A LLamasoft Year in Review

By Manda Schweitzer-Miller    December 21, 2016

While the LLamasoft team is already tirelessly at work on plans and activities for the New Year, we always like to take a quick look back at the year that preceded. 2016 did not disappoint for LLamasoft. Here are few highlights. Winter On January 1 LLamasoft officially acquired the supply chain solutions product suite from Barloworld Logistics. We were happy to welcome 100 new employees to the LLamasoft team. With Read More >>

Design Trumps Uncertainty: Leveraging Supply Chain Design to Thrive in Uncertain Times

By Jim Bilotto, Jim Piana    December 7, 2016

LLamasoft has long touted the importance of supply chain resiliency in the face of any unforeseen risk and with volatility and constant change becoming a “new normal” for global business, this need is more prominent than ever. The tumultuous global political landscape has brought renewed focus on supply chain preparedness as businesses consider the implications of potential regulatory changes. Just as we encouraged our customers to re-evaluate their supply chains Read More >>

Digital Divas Trip Report: Educating for a Better Future

By Swati Tyagi    November 23, 2016

On a recent Friday morning  the halls of the Eastern Michigan University Student Center were filled with excited chatter. A group of young girls wearing matching robotics club T-shirts added their names in colorful sharpies to a banner already adorned with the names of almost one hundred other young women in front of the student auditorium. Over three hundred middle school girls and their chaperones excited for what the day Read More >>

Hanjin Troubles and the Importance of Supply Chain Responsiveness and Preparedness

By Bob Kyle    November 9, 2016

The logistics industry has seen its fair share of disruptions over recent years between port strikes, driver shortages and natural disasters. Another such story emerged in recent weeks as a Hanjin shipping vessel spent months sitting off-shore near the Price Rupert port in British Columbia after the financial collapse of the logistics giant. With 800 crates on-board, goods were left sitting off-shore unable to reach consumers and therefore not netting Read More >>

Don’t Let Your Data Hold You Back: Five Ways to Simplify Your Supply Chain Design with Analytics

By Diogo Quintas    October 19, 2016

Access to data is increasing in nearly every field, including supply chain design. In fact,  collecting and leveraging that data is often cited by supply chain professionals as one of the biggest challenges facing their organization. Whereas in the past modelers dealt with spreadsheet sized datasets, they now have access to tera-sized data lakes. This growth has brought much success to supply chain designers allowing them to develop deeper and Read More >>

Trip Report: Innovation and International Supply Chain Best Practices – Medellín 2016

By Angelica Iglesias    October 11, 2016

On September 15 at the Museum of Modern Arts of Medellín in Medellín, Colombia, LLamasoft hosted the Innovation and International Supply Chain Best Practices event. The meeting gathered logistics and supply chain experts from more than 60 companies spanning industries. The goal of the event was to gather international experts to share strategies and best practices that the largest global companies use while facing supply chain crises and challenges, all Read More >>

Are greenhouse gas emissions going to become more important in supply chain design?

By Phil Gibbs    September 28, 2016

In the mid-2000s climate change moved up the list of business priorities and supply chain professionals began to take note. Then came the global financial crisis and most people’s attention moved towards the bottom line and corporate survival.  A number of recent developments indicate that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is moving back up the business agenda, and the impact on supply chains could be significant. On September 3 China and Read More >>

CSCMP Preview: How HP and Other Leading Organizations Overcome Risks

By Toby Brzoznowski    September 14, 2016

I often use words like “volatility” and “change” to describe a key challenge facing today’s supply chain professionals. This constant flux has become the new normal. When bringing up the topic of supply chain risk, many people immediately go to examples of natural disasters like floods or hurricanes, but organizations face the threat of risks from a wide range of sources, from port strikes and driver shortages, to government regulations Read More >>

The Supply Chain Benefits and Challenges for Subscription-Based Meal Kits

By Benjamin Jenkins    August 31, 2016

Millions of consumers are flocking to subscription-based meal kits as a means of simplifying the at-home dining experience. And as a member of one-such service myself, the convenience is not lost on me. But as a professional working in the supply chain technology industry, I can’t help but wonder as I open up my box of organic pea shoots, Chilean sea bass and mango remoulade, how on Earth are they Read More >>

Supply Chain Cage Match – Inventory v. Transportation

By Richard Forrest    August 17, 2016

When a business makes a decision regarding the transportation of their products it can positively or negatively affect the inventory performance of their supply chain.  These transportation decisions are too often made in a vacuum. What is not well known is the extent these transportation decisions have on inventory levels and inventory related costs. The proper question is: “How much more inventory related cost and investment will be incurred by Read More >>

Go Catch ‘Em All Ann Arbor: Using Transportation Optimization for Pokémon Go

By Bhanu Potluri and Alan Pinkert    August 3, 2016

If you’ve walked down the street recently chances are good you’ve seen throngs of people playing the new augmented-reality game Pokémon Go. A location-based game, this opportunity seemed ripe for optimization. So we at the LLamasoft Applied Research Team decided to leverage the transportation optimization functionality within Supply Chain Guru, to find the best route to cover all the Poké Stops here in our backyard in the Ann Arbor area. Read More >>

The Evolving Nature of Supply Chain Design

By Dan Kogan    July 20, 2016

A brief 10,000 years ago, humans were nomadic hunters and gatherers roaming to collect the materials they needed to survive.  Today, one can push a button on his or her smart device and practically anything can be delivered to one’s doorstep, perhaps within the same day.  Humans escaped the paradigm of being a product of their environment to one where they designed their environment. Suffice it to say, we’ve evolved Read More >>

Brexit: After the Vote – What’s Next for Supply Chains and Their Optimisation

By Phil Gibbs    July 6, 2016

To the surprise of many people in business around the world, on June 23 the citizens of the UK voted to leave the European Union.  In my blog in May I predicted that if this happened we would see an increase in volatility, and we are seeing just that.  Politicians in the UK have gone into meltdown and there are battles being fought for control in the main political parties.  Read More >>

SummerCon 2016 Trip Report – Part 2

By Manda Schweitzer-Miller    June 30, 2016

As you saw in my SummerCon Trip Report – Part 1, SummerCon 2016 got off with a bang! And Thursday the activities kept rolling with case study sessions in the morning and keynotes in the afternoon followed by a party of epic SummerCon proportions. Case Studies GM Vijay Bharadwaj and Andrea Budzynski of General Motors kicked the morning off with a session titled, “Building a Global Center of Excellence for Read More >>

LLamasoft SummerCon 2016 – Takeaways from a Supply Chain Professional

By Hilary Grosskopf    June 29, 2016

Today we're bringing you a guest blog from Hilary Grosskopf, CSCMP Young Professional and Transportation Operations and Analytics Leader at Restoration Hardware and SummerCon 2016 attendee.   As a supply chain professional, I like to consider myself as a pretty skilled planner. I often say to my team, “let’s plan the work and then work the plan”. However, I left SummerCon inspired to “unleash” my creativity and try a different approach Read More >>

SummerCon 2016 Trip Report – Part 1

By Manda Schweitzer-Miller    June 22, 2016

Last week the LLamasoft team was thrilled to welcome 400 customers to New Orleans for a week of training, new product demos, networking, interesting case study sessions, inspiring keynotes and, of course, a little bit of fun. SummerCon celebrated its sixth birthday this year and it was not to be missed! Pre-Conference Training Monday and Tuesday brought nearly half of the attendees down to the Big Easy for two days Read More >>

Brexit: Do You Know the Impact on Your Supply Chain and Optimisation?

By Phil Gibbs    May 25, 2016

On June 23, 2016 the citizens of the UK will vote whether to stay in or leave the European Union.  Politicians are discussing the merits of pooled sovereignty, democratic deficits and the impact on the role of the UK and EU on world geo-politics. Economists are speculating on the impact on growth and employment for the economies of the countries in the EU, or indeed of the whole world.  One Read More >>

Leveraging Centers of Excellence for Continued Grocery Supply Chain Success

By Will Lovatt    May 11, 2016

The grocery sector is facing rapid changes. While the idea of omni-channel shopping is commonly aligned with the retail industry, more grocers are offering alternate means for customers to engage, which is changing distribution models. This is requiring grocers to continuously rethink and improve their approach to supply chains. The modern supply chain is exhibiting greater complexity and volatility than ever, and often stretching across continents, however measuring the impact Read More >>

Trip Report: Mexico Logistic Summit 2016

By Angelica Iglesias    April 27, 2016

Earlier this month LLamasoft participated in the Logistic Summit 2016: Latin America’s biggest supply chain and logistics event, which gathers the industry’s highest level executives to learn about worldwide best practices. With over 13,000 participants, the event was held April 6-7 in Mexico City. Here are a few highlights from the forum. Experiences, Best Practices and Innovation in Supply Chain and Logistics One of the highlights of the conference were Read More >>

Test Outcomes Using Simulation Technology

By LLamasoft    April 16, 2016

Utilize network modeling and simulation together to test different courses of action to mitigate risk and unplanned events and evaluate contingency plans. The Supply Chain Guru network simulation engine enables users to test supply chain designs to make sure they will function as planned in the face of real world variables and business needs. Based on the same supply chain model used for optimizing the network, LLamasoft network simulation software Read More >>

What is a Shop? The Evolution of the Retail Store

By Phil Gibbs    April 13, 2016

Remember the days when a shop was a shop? A customer entered, evaluated items, purchased what they wanted and left with said items in-tow. With the growth of ecommerce, a shops purpose is no longer as clear.  A shop can now be a showroom, a collection point or mini distribution center, with many retailers questioning the role of brick and mortar stores in fulfilling customer orders. Some retailers even have Read More >>

Trip Report – Tokyo Supply Chain Design Conference

By Craig Frankland    March 30, 2016

I recently attended the first LLamasoft Supply Chain Design Conference held in Tokyo, Japan on February 24, 2016. The conference in many ways reflected the early years of LLamasoft’s annual SummerCon conference. The goal of the event was to introduce LLamasoft and supply chain design to the Japanese market. As LLamasoft CEO Don Hicks stated “we are truly a global company, because our customers are global.” LLamasoft has had Japanese-based Read More >>

Analyzing Supply Chain Resiliency

By Aaron Burman    March 16, 2016

In Part 1 of this series on supply chain resiliency, I made the case that despite the current cache and buzz-worthiness of the term ‘resiliency’, there is value that can be found by analyzing the resiliency of the network. But the question is, how do you analyze resiliency within a supply chain network? In this post, I will outline strategies for proactive analytics to better understand the effects of a Read More >>

Warehouse Inventory Optimization

By LLamasoft    March 16, 2016

In addition to understanding pre-build or pre-buy inventory in LLamasoft Supply Chain Guru, users may wish to understand safety stock and cycle stock impacts for warehouse inventory management. The Supply Chain Guru incorporates multi-echelon safety stock optimization as well as product flow optimization, to help users understand SKU-level impacts of safety stock and cycle stock costs for inventory planning. Companies can also use simulation technology to predict the service rates, Read More >>

Order Execution: A Vital Component of Improving Demand and Supply Planning Activities—Don’t Entrust it to Spreadsheets

By LLamasoft Editorial Team    March 15, 2016

Replenishment order calculation is fundamental to the success of supply chain planning. You need to quickly incorporate data from cross-functional, global demand planning processes and inputs from finance and procurement as well as inventory policies. Using Optimiza order execution, you can simplify this complex process and move away from spreadsheet-based tools and subjective decision-making. Focusing on both the inbound and outbound orders, Optimiza takes into account all internal and external Read More >>

Trip Report – European Supply Chain Directors Forum

By Michelle Newton    March 9, 2016

I recently attended The European Supply Chain Directors Forum in Prague, an invitation-only event that connects senior-level supply chain professionals from throughout Europe to discuss emerging industry trends and issues. The event brings together a number of members from the manucoreCONNECT community for two days of debate, interaction, networking and thought leadership. The focus of this year’s conference was Transformation, Culture and Collaboration. Here are a few key takeaways from Read More >>

Coupling Art with Science in Supply Chain Design to Overcome Major Disruptions

By Oscar Torres    March 2, 2016

Supply chains come in all varieties depending on their structure and organization, but even the most simple supply chains are inherently complex. That complexity, coupled with the multitude of disruptions and unplanned events of our world, can quickly derail a global supply chain. Most companies dedicate numerous resources to combat these disruptions, which also vary by industry, but here are several examples that nearly every business will have to address Read More >>

Amazon in Brick and Mortar: The Retailer’s First Move into Omni-channel

By Brett Thiessen    February 24, 2016

In late fall Amazon announced they were diving into traditional retail by opening their first stores. In January, the first Amazon Books store opened in Seattle. Amazon has announced plans to open 300-400 other bookstores across the nation. But are bookstores really the only focus for Amazon in this new effort? And why is this ecommerce giant now moving to an old model that by some accounts is a dying Read More >>

Accurate Inventory Levels are the Key to Balancing Supply and Demand

By LLamasoft Editorial Team    February 20, 2016

Does your business still swing between periods of high and low inventory depending on business priorities? Smart inventory planning determines the optimal quantity and timing of inventory and aligns it with sales and production capacity. Your job is to empower and your teams to regularly review safety stock levels and amend policy parameters to provide the elasticity required to yield the quickest return. AgustaWestland Uses Optimiza to Identify and Redistribute Read More >>

Trip Report: SMC3’s Jump Start Conference

By John Trestrail    February 18, 2016

In January I attended Jump Start, SMC3’s annual conference, this year held in Atlanta. SMC3 is a long-time partner of LLamasoft and their annual conference gathers together representatives of nearly 300 shippers, trucking companies, third-party logistics providers, and technology companies to discuss the latest tech trends and examine trucking industry challenges on the horizon. There were many break-out sessions on a wide range of topics including a great session from Read More >>

Our Take: The Post-Holiday Retail Inventory Strategy Reset

By Mike Detampel    February 17, 2016

Every year, like clockwork, within the first few weeks of the New Year stories trickle in about retailers’ inventory fiascos during the busy holiday shopping season. This year was no different, from big box stores to shoe and other specialty retailers, many faced challenges implementing the right inventory strategy to carry through the industry’s busiest and most profitable season. Arguably the worst thing that can happen to a brick and Read More >>

Transportation Route Planning Software

By LLamasoft    February 16, 2016

LLamasoft Transportation Guru transportation network design software is an ideal tool not only for network optimization and simulation, but for route scheduling as well. You are able to compare optimal multi-stop routes to less-than-truckload shipment costs to find ideal mode mix for your fleet routes. You can use this route optimization software to develop alternate routes based on various vehicle sizes and carriers, and designate vehicle routes as round-trip or Read More >>

Managing Excess Maintenance and Repair Costs while Covering Overall Demand

By LLamasoft Editorial Team    February 15, 2016

The aerospace and defense industry is affected by a changing business environment; shrinking budgets, changing acquisition models, globalization and increasing customer demand. The industry is faced with increased pressure to create sustainable results for equipment uptime while delivering improved financial performance to the bottom line. Increased service issues, often a direct result of inefficient supply chains, has resulted in enormous cost overruns, delayed product rollouts and missed delivery dates. Many Read More >>

Trip Report: Automotive Logistics Mexico

By Salvador Murguia    February 10, 2016

The second annual Automotive Logistics – Mexico Conference was held at the Hotel Marquis in Mexico City January 27 and 28 and brought together the highest level executives in the industry to discuss trends, main challenges and future investments in public and private sectors to boost growth, as they pertain to the Mexican market, but also more broadly. Here are a few key trends and takeaways from the event. Rapid Read More >>

Supply Chain Resiliency: Beyond the Buzzwords

By Aaron Burman    February 3, 2016

Resiliency has become an overused buzzword. Every field seems to have their own need to talk about being resilient. In the last week alone, I  talked with my mom about new resilient energy grid technologies, reviewed proposals from cities looking to be more resilient to a changing climate with my wife, and  spoke with fellow parents about how best to ensure the resiliency of our children as they grow up. Read More >>

Trip Report: The NRF Big Show 2016

By Jim Bilotto    January 27, 2016

Every January the National Retail Federation hosts the retail industry’s biggest tradeshow of the year, aptly called “The Big Show” at the Javits Center in New York City. Thousands of retailers, technology vendors, and supply chain professionals provide thought leadership on the current and proposed future state of the industry. The quantity and quality of powerful presentations is massive, but there were pervailing themes that resonated throughout. Here are a Read More >>

Creating a Supply Chain Design Center of Excellence (CoE)

By LLamasoft    January 16, 2016

Establishing an Internal CoE Expands the Benefit of Supply Chain Modeling Enterprise-Wide Some of the best-run supply chains in the world are making supply chain design a core business function, and using this competency as a competitive weapon for their business. They are establishing internal supply chain design centers of excellence which utilize modeling technology to continuously optimize the end-to-end supply chain and stay ahead of other companies in their Read More >>

Logistics Optimization Software and Tools

By LLamasoft    January 16, 2016

Simplified Logistics Optimization and Simulation In the past, network design initiatives were performed every one to three years to help a company realign its manufacturing and distribution center locations and minimize transportation costs. These logistics optimization projects could take four to six months or longer, and model accuracy was limited by the need to limit the number of products and sites. Logistics Optimization: Supply chain design is now an essential Read More >>

Building a Business Case for a Supply Chain Optimization Project

By Glenn Wegryn    January 15, 2016

Supply chain optimization can enable businesses to keep up with the pace of change and sustain a competitive advantage by significantly improving in the areas of cost, service and risk. You may recognize possible benefits and savings for your organization, but getting there can be a challenge. Executives are short on time and resistant to commit resources unless they can clearly see resulting value. And without those resources, your project Read More >>

Collaboratively Build and Maintain Demand Forecasts Across Functional and Regional Teams

By LLamasoft Editorial Team    January 15, 2016

No matter your level of maturity in formalizing and structuring your demand and supply processes, the need to generate a forecast is constant. Forecast accuracy can yield the greatest equivalent returns on a company’s financials than any other planning activity, yet many businesses still struggle with multiple versions of a forecast for multiple purposes: financial and budget planning, incentive management, procurement planning, warehouse sizing or production planning. Case Example: Carnival Read More >>

Our Take: Preparation the Key to Smooth Software Implementation – Finish Line’s Recent Challenge

By Jim Piana    January 13, 2016

In the news last week, Finish Line announced a rough performance in the competitive and dynamic athletic apparel market.  The company president pointed to two major supply chain-related causes to the poor performance in the fourth quarter:  inadequate inventory of key items in important categories, and problems with a new Warehouse Management System (WMS) deployed in October of 2015.  LLamasoft’s Vikram Srinivasan recently wrote about developing strategies for a holistic Read More >>

Retailers Improving Data Analytics and Getting Creative with Omni-Channel Fulfillment in 2016

By Jennifer Randall    January 6, 2016

A new year is upon us and lots of publications are issuing trends to watch for in 2016. With the constant and rapid pace of supply chain innovation, it’s hard to imagine what could happen in the span of just a year. Retailers are just coming down from peak season and reevaluating what worked well and what didn’t in order to better align strategies for success in the coming year.  Read More >>

2015 Year in Review

By Manda Schweitzer-Miller    December 30, 2015

It’s certainly been a big year for LLamasoft.  With multiple acquisitions, a continued hiring surge and expansion into new products, it was a historic year for the software company. Here are a few highlights. In February LLamasoft experts landed on the Supply and Demand Chain Executive Pros to Know list for the sixth consecutive year. Director of Global Health Neelima Ramaraju and Vice President of Solutions Mike Detampel were honored Read More >>

Supply Chain Collaboration – Tips from the Experts

By Jennifer Randall    December 23, 2015

There are plenty of quotes and sayings about the perils of operating in a bubble. But there is also plenty of support for collaboration and the same applies to supply chain design. Supply chain design is a must-have capability for businesses to keep up with the pace of change and to sustain a competitive advantage by significantly improving in the areas of cost, service and risk. Many of your industry Read More >>

Utilizing Supply Chain Modeling for Both Long-Term Strategy and Daily Operations: A PriceSmart Case Study

By Toby Brzoznowski    December 9, 2015

I recently had a chance to talk with Frank Diaz, Executive Vice President of Logistics and Distribution at PriceSmart and Dan Gilmore, Editor of Supply Chain Digest for a videocast on the topic “Using Supply Chain Modeling to Improve Operations and Outperform the Competition.” Frank and his team at PriceSmart are users of the LLamasoft supply chain design platform and have been leveraging supply chain design for both long-term strategy Read More >>

The ROI of Supply Chain Design

By John Ames    December 2, 2015

The benefit of utilizing supply chain modeling technology to impact large-scale supply chain strategy is well established. Many organizations are applying the same principles to impact their daily operations and implementing supply chain design centers of excellence, or COEs. While we at LLamasoft were able to track the business impacts of COEs with individual customers, our colleagues at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business recently conducted research that Read More >>