LLamasoft Supply Chain Blog


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 >>

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 >>

Trip Report: Health and Humanitarian Logistics Conference – South Africa

By Ryan Purcell    November 25, 2015

As part of the LLamasoft Global Impact Team I get the opportunity to travel around the world to work with various public health agencies to improve the supply chain networks that carry essentials vaccines, anti-malarial and ARV treatments, as well as basic medical supplies. I recently attended the Health and Humanitarian Logistics Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa to learn about some emerging trends and best practices in the industry. The Read More >>

Using Supply Chain Optimization for More than Just Optimization

By Vicky Foreman    November 18, 2015

This week I published a piece in Impact Magazine, an operations research publication about supply chain design with LLamasoft. The piece covered many things including some history of LLamasoft, how design can positively impact business as well as some unexpected use cases for optimization and simulation technology. I recommend checking out the piece in its entirety (here, starting on page 34), but here are a few highlights. Identifying Other Challenges Read More >>

Time for a Tune-Up? Check out LLamasoft’s Expanded Training Offerings

By Ben Coffman    November 11, 2015

At LLamasoft we strive to make our tools intuitive and easy-to-use. However, the work that supply chain modelers do is incredibly complex which is why product training is required for all designers to learn basic model building and analysis skills. However, the benefits of training don’t end after your first course. We also offer advanced training that enables designers to unlock the full potential of the software, the supply chain Read More >>

Trip Report: Digital Supply Chain Conference 2015

By Phil Gibbs    November 4, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Digital Supply Chain Conference at the British Museum in London. The venue was very impressive, as were the sessions guided by some of the brightest minds working in the supply chain industry today. I was pleased to attend to oversee the “Setting up a Successful Supply Chain Design Center of Excellence” workshop (a topic you can learn more about here), but was Read More >>

LLamasoft Acquires Barloworld SCS – A Letter from CEO Don Hicks

By Don Hicks    November 3, 2015

Today Barloworld and LLamasoft announced a deal that will redefine the supply chain software industry.  Although LLamasoft and Barloworld have been respectful competitors over the years, our two companies share many values and ideals, including deep commitment to serving customers honestly and energetically, and a shared passion for the importance of supply chain design and planning technology to help our customers survive and thrive. After months of discussions and getting Read More >>

Picture This: Why Supply Chain Visualization is Key – Part 2 Creating Supply Chain Visualizations

By Alan Pinkert    October 29, 2015

In yesterday’s post, we established the importance of data visualization. Now, what can you do to visualize supply chain data?  First and foremost: give yourself a leg up, and start using tools that allow you to craft great visual messages more easily.  The best data visualizations don’t come from the default chart setting in your favorite spreadsheet program and generic tools like PowerPoint and Visio don’t understand that the line Read More >>

Picture This: Why Supply Chain Visualization is Key – Part 1

By Alan Pinkert    October 28, 2015

The night before January 28, 1986, the engineering team in charge of designing the rockets for Space Shuttle Challenger were faced with a problem.  The shuttle was scheduled to launch the next day, but predicted temperatures were below freezing, and concerns arose that a key part of the rocket, the rubber O-rings, might fail under such conditions. The engineering team faxed a report to NASA recommending to delay the launch, Read More >>

Developing the Right Strategy for a Holistic Inventory View with Inventory Modeling

By Vikram Srinivasan    October 21, 2015

Most organizations have the same goal when talking about inventory: improve service while reducing on-hand inventory. And as most supply chain professionals can tell you, finding that balance is easier said than done. In a recent survey of top supply chain officers, the biggest barriers to effectively manage inventory were cited as “Can’t Optimize Network Holistically” and “Demand Volatility”. However, several leaders are taking new approaches to think about old Read More >>

Internal Politics in Supply Chain Design: 5 Key Tips to Corral, Communicate and Understand

By Ben Coffman    October 14, 2015

During a supply chain modeling project kick-off meeting a couple of years ago with a major new client, the LLamasoft team and I were seated with 25 people from the customer organization from a number of different departments including supply chain, transportation, merchandising, store operations, finance and more. The goal of the meeting was to lay out the expectations and deliverables for the project. However, as we worked our way Read More >>

Trip Report: Young Operations Research Conference

By Vicky Foreman    October 7, 2015

A couple of weeks ago some of the LLamasoft team headed to the Young Operational Research (YOR) Conference at Aston University in Birmingham in the UK. The conference, held every two years, is a meeting for young professionals who are just starting their careers either in corporate operations, academia or consulting. As has been established, the demand for young talent to who hold the expertise that pertain to these career Read More >>

LLamasoft Live from CSCMP

By Ginger Stegmier    September 30, 2015

This week the LLamasoft team headed to sunny California to participate in the CSCMP Annual Global Conference in San Diego. The conference wraps up today after busy start over the weekend. When participants weren’t hitching a ride on the LLamasoft pedicabs, the LLama team was happy to meet with attendees in the booth and present several sessions. The pedicabs were a hit and a lot of fun.   Read More >>

Our Take: Five C-Suite Level Concerns within the Food and Beverage Distribution Network

By Bob Kyle    September 23, 2015

I recently saw a piece from Penske Logistics about the Five C-Suite Level Concerns within the Food and Beverage Distribution Network. The piece addresses some key concerns executives have when they see the holistic, end-to-end view of their supply chain network. The five concerns discussed in the article are cost, network efficiency, recalls, temperature control and consistency. Many of these points resonated as they are concerns we help our customers Read More >>

Trip Report: LLamasoft EMEA Regional User Group and Optilon Conference

By Phil Gibbs    September 16, 2015

At the beginning of the month LLamasoft headed to Scandinavia to participate in the Optilon Supply Chain Conference as well as host a meeting of the LLamasoft EMEA User Group. Both events were a huge success and included presentations from Ericsson, Syngenta, Unilever and more. We are always happy to get together with customers in a Regional User Group to discuss best practices, challenges and more as we continue to Read More >>

Our Take: Gartner COE Research Part 2 – Challenges and Considerations

By Mike Detampel    September 9, 2015

A couple of weeks ago we discussed Gartner’s research on centers of excellence (COEs) and covered several of the benefits of establishing a supply chain design center of excellence. Today in Part 2, we’ll discuss some challenges and considerations when preparing to launch your own COE. Challenge 1: How Do You Define a COE? Organizations face a number of challenges when forming their own supply chain design COE. One of Read More >>

Visit LLamasoft at the CSCMP Annual Global Conference

By Ginger Stegmier    September 2, 2015

Supply chain modeling technology has proven to eliminate a lot of unnecessary work for its users, making it truly the workhorse of the supply chain industry. LLamasoft is getting ready to kick off a very busy fall events season with supply chain tradeshows and conferences spanning the globe to share this message. The schedule includes one of the biggest supply chain events of the year: the Council for Supply Chain Read More >>

Our Take: Gartner Center of Excellence Research – Part 1

By Mike Detampel    August 26, 2015

Last spring Gartner released research on the implementation and success of “centers of excellence” in the supply chain industry (“Centers of Excellence Are Critical Enablers of Success in Supply Chains”, 21 April, 2014, Ken Chadwick). Their findings demonstrated the value of the model as those who have implemented centers of excellence can cite the following results: A broader supply chain span of control Are more often viewed as “partners to Read More >>

The Supply Chain Talent Shift

By John Ames    August 20, 2015

Take a look at your company's career webpage. What types of supply chain roles are listed? What skills are important for new hires to possess in order to manage this increasingly critical area of the business? Are you accurately depicting the needed skills in your description? Many of the best practices LLamasoft has advocated related to supply chain design as a repeatable, sustainable process have been demonstrated in a recent Read More >>

How to use benchmark data to calibrate your rates for design

By John Trestrail    August 12, 2015

Any modeler can tell you: a huge part of the supply chain modeling process is spent collecting and reconciling data. Hours spent to find data, adding it to the model, to only find that maybe the data was not quite as accurate as originally thought. When building models to optimize your network to uncover savings in cost, service, risk and sustainability, there will invariably be a point in which a Read More >>

Case Study: Cardinal Health Cuts Inventory Holdings to Identify $2.8M in Savings

By Toby Brzoznowski    August 5, 2015

With several different teams using several different supply chain modeling tools across the enterprise, it was challenging for Cardinal Health to get an accurate picture of their current network. The healthcare services companies delivers medical products and pharmaceuticals to upwards of 100,000 locations every day and knew they could be conducting business more efficiently. However, without even the ability to get an accurate view, the prospect of identifying opportunities for Read More >>

My Take: The 6 Fundamental Supply Chain Disciplines

By Mike Detampel    July 24, 2015

I recently saw a report from LEGACY Supply Chain Services, CSCMP and Adelante SCM on the “6 Fundamental Supply Chain Disciplines that Retail Leaders of Tomorrow Must Master.” While this particular piece of research speaks about key elements and how they apply to retailers, I think the message applies more broadly to a number of industries. The research calls out six main disciplines that will be essential for supply chain Read More >>

Using Supply Chain Design on an Operational Level

By Mike Bucci    July 22, 2015

Supply chain design technology has been fairly widely accepted as a key piece of any high level supply chain strategy, driving improvements in cost, service and sustainability. However, more and more organizations are seeing its value on a tactical and operational level and are benefiting from major savings as a result. One major recycling broker was dealing with over 100,000 pounds of recycled materials every week. With thatvolume of product, Read More >>