Daily Archives: October 30, 2023

Don’t Overlook the Network (that Corresponds to the Award)

According to a recent Forbes article on Supply Chain Software’s Best Return on Investment, per $1 Billion in company revenues, no supply chain application has a better return on investment (ROI) than network design! And the doctor couldn’t agree more.

Just like strategic sourcing decision optimization is the best bang for the buck in Source to Pay, with documented, average returns of up to 12% year-over-year (by multiple analyst firms) as it can minimize total landed cost, and even total cost of ownership in some cases (including internal inventory costs, waste costs, etc.) and not just bids, while ensuring all business constraints are adhered to, an optimization-backed network design application can help minimize overall organizational supply chain costs. This is because a supply chain network optimization platform can minimize transportation costs, intermediate warehousing costs, tariffs, waste, emergency replenishment in the case of an unexpected stock-out, carbon/GHG, etc.

Plus, as the article notes:

  • network design solutions are absolutely necessary to uncover business value when the production-distribution infrastructure is large (and not just because you just can’t model that infrastructure in a spreadsheet)
  • network design solutions can look at Total Cost to Serve (TCTS) across a wide-range of fixed and marginal costs (and identify unintended circumstances of network design changes that could cause marginal costs to skyrocket)
  • network solutions can allow for multiple scenarios to be defined and multiple models to be run and cross-model and cross-scenario Pareto analysis to be run, trade-offs to be analyzed, and the best decisions to be made

One point that should not be overlooked is that projects will take some time, and it’s not because of the complexity of the network modelling or the time it takes to run the scenarios (as modern computing architectures are super powerful and modern algorithms highly optimized to be efficient and take advantage of massively parallel processing), it’s because you need a lot of good, clean, data. It can take months (and months) just to identify, collect, clean, and enrich the data required for global supply network optimization. But once you do that, the ROI will be beyond the expectations you have for every other supply chain solution.

The article, which describes a project to redesign the spare parts supply chain for a global automotive manufacturer, resulted in a redesign that immediately reduced network costs by 4% and identified transportation cost reduction opportunities through consolidation and re-allocating of routes to a smaller set of 3PLs that will save another 2.5% at contract renewal time. In today’s climate, especially in direct supply chains, a savings of 6%+ across the entire supply chain, and not just one category, is phenomenal!

Plus, as the article notes, in the age of sustainability, reduced transportation mileage and fuller trucks also equate to significant reductions in carbon emissions. WHAT A BONUS!