Book Review in the March 2013 IFORS Newsletter

The March 2013 IFORS Newsletter had a one page book review (see page 7).  Here is the last paragraph:

Supply Chain Network Design is an excellent book that would be of value not only to all supply chain executives, managers, strategists, and analysts and researchers but also to students and instructors of advanced supply chain management and/or logistics courses. It is without any hesitation that this reviewer highly recommends this book for the OR practitioner!



WSJ Article: Supply Chain Management is the Hot New MBA Topic

Today’s Wall Street Journal featured an article on the growing popularity of supply chain management in MBA and undergraduate programs.  Here is the opening of the article:

Call it a problem of supply and demand.

With global operations becoming more complex, companies in manufacturing, retail and technology—and the consulting firms that service them—are scrambling to hire people with supply-chain expertise. But these experts are hard to come by.

Sensing growing demand, more than a half-dozen universities have recently introduced undergraduate majors, M.B.A. concentrations and even entire degree programs dedicated to procurement, inventory management and global supply-chain strategy.

This again shows the continued importance of network design.  Bringing network design to the classroom can enhance the student’s learning.  I have had good success using IBM’s LogicNet Plus in the classroom at Northwestern.  And, the students seem to get a lot out of using a commercial tool.  If you are a professor teaching this topic, we have a lot of material to help get you started.  And, drop me a note if you would be interested in a more in-depth discussion.

Book Reviewed by Crabtree Analytics

Andrew Gibson at Crabtree Analytics recently reviewed our network design book:

Here are a few quotes from the review:

I’ve done a lot of  supply chain network design projects and consider myself to be an expert. Had I had this book from the start, I may have got to expert status a lot faster…


…What attracted me was that it goes beyond the theory and has lots of details around project execution:.  the need for sensitivity analysis; the difficulty of getting reliable transportation rates ; sensible data aggregation strategies; why you must have an optimized “baseline”; and numerous others.  These are all areas that analysts get wrong – as I did.  Some learn from the experience, others send out the results anyway…


…If you have a network design project in mind and a plane journey coming up – make the investment.”

Book Review from Supply Chain Digest

Dan Gilmore of Supply Chain Digest reviewed our book, Supply Chain Network Design.   Here is a small part of it:

“The book has a little bit of a textbook feel to it, and I am sure was designed in part for college course work, but the important point is there are a lot of us who could benefit from such an education. Why? Because we are often using network design tools on either a consistent or occasional basis, and don’t really understand what is going on inside that black box. Just as important, where all these tools can be applied, and (critically) the level of granularity of the data used in the model is usually not well understood by supply chain practitioners, who largely rely on consultants for that insight.


This book will empower practitioners to much better understand and drive some of that thinking themselves…”

If You Own Network Design Software, the Book Can Help You Get More Out of It

I have found that understanding the underlying math and logic of network design software, like IBM’s ILOG LogicNet Plus XE, makes me a better modeler.  That is, it helps me structure the problem so that the tool can answer the question I want it to.

In fact, one of the ILOG LogicNet Plus XE customers had such a good understanding of the underlying logic and math that he could make the product answer many questions that we had never dreamed up when we created the interface.

I asked him why he didn’t just build the a custom model for these problems and his reply was that since he understood what the tool did, it could answer the question and came with the interface, error-checking, and reports.

The book, Supply Chain Network Modeling, will give you a deeper appreciation of the underlying logic.  This will allow you to create better models of your supply chain.  And, you might be surprised that this understanding allows you to solve many new types of problems.

The Book Can Help Your Clients

Besides helping you become a better modeler and a better manager of network design projects, this book can also help educate your clients.

This applies to internal and external clients.

Within your company, the book can help you publicize the value of your network design work, help your projects go smoother, and help you uncover new opportunities.

If you work for a 3PL, the book can help educate your sales team so they better understand client needs and understand when a network study may be needed.

If you are doing a project for a client, the book can help your client understand what you are doing and why you are doing what you are doing (like aggregation).

We are speaking with Dr Pepper at SCOPE in Dallas (Sept 9-11)

(I posted this at IBM’s site yesterday.  So, if you read both blogs, I apologize for the mostly duplicate post).

Sara Lewis of IBM (and one of the authors of the book) is speaking with Josh Buchanon of Dr Pepper at SCOPE in Dallas (Sept 9 – 11).


Here is the description of the talk from SCOPE’s website:


“Dr. Pepper Snapple Makes the Most of their Supply Chain by Utilizing Network Design for Ongoing Sales and Operations Support”

· Supply Chain Network Design is not only a powerful business tool but if applied well can provide great value within all areas of your business.
· Sales and operations at Dr. Pepper Snapple Group must continually ensure the operation of an optimal supply chain structure is in order to allow for the best service levels to stores at the lowest overall cost.
· Come learn how Dr. Pepper applies supply chain network design down to the regional level by rationalizing warehouses and flow of product to stores as part of their territory planning.

Josh Buchanon, Packaged Beverage Network Optimization Manager, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group with Sara Lewis, IBM Smarter Commerce Supply Chain Marketing Lead, Co-Author ofSupply Chain Network Design: Applying Optimization and Analytics to the Global Supply Chain