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3 Key Takeaways from the LLamasoft Southeast Xchange Forum

By Dr. Madhav Durbha  October 19, 2018

About 25 users and managers of LLamasoft SupplyChainGuru from several companies converged earlier this week at the UPS Global Supply Chain Headquarters in Atlanta for our Southeast Customer Xchange Forum. Here are few takeaways from the event:

  1. Supply Chain network design used to be an annual exercise for many companies. However, leading companies are now modeling networks much more frequently. Increased business volatility and complexity are driving them to constantly reassess their network flows and run optimizations covering a range of possibilities. The attendees agreed that such frequent use is set to become widespread.
  2. Senior leaders are starting to see supply chain design as a strong differentiator. But much more needs to be done in raising the awareness. Basing most of the network design decisions on gut instinct, or resisting questioning the status quo in favor of accepting that “this is the way things have always been” seem to be the major culprits. This is starting to change.
  3. Bhanu Potluri, one of our applied research scientists, shared his view that optimization isn’t just geeky, but is also cool! During his highly entertaining presentation, he shared best practices for simplifying models, interesting optimization examples and paradigms such as the travelling salesman problem, and a peek into how LLamasoft’s solvers work. One example he shared was optimizing the route of a delivery truck with 70 stops. If this truck makes five stops per street, instead of modeling each stop, one can set these up as a single supergroup. Say there are 13 more streets like that with five stops each, the entire problem can be reduced to 14 supergroups, making the model simpler and the solution much faster. A very simple, yet powerful example! Several seasoned modelers in the audience commented that gaining such understanding of the underlying algorithms and how they operate helps them be more conscious of the models they build and the tradeoff of performance versus precision. Let me just say Bhanu was quite a celebrity after his talk!

Our users took an entire day of their busy schedules to listen, learn, and share, which is quite exemplary. Hats off to Kelsey Partin and other fellow LLamas who made the event a huge success, and sincere thanks to UPS for hosting the event. Find out about other LLamasoft events here.

Blog written by Dr. Madhav Durbha