Reviews and Content


“Are you supply chain management professionals who are looking for inspiring ideas to improve the operations of your supply chain? This article will show you 10 amazing SCM books that provide information you can really use”  — We were recently ranked in the top 10 new (2012-2013) supply chain books from SupplyChainOpz.

“This book takes a very technical subject and makes it possible for managers and  students alike to understand all aspects of network design. The practical approach used in discussing topics throughout the book provides a clear and excellent framework for those seeking to learn more about the topic.”

—Dr. Mary C. Holcomb, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, University of Tennessee

“Supply chain management (SCM) is a rapidly growing area of study—and network design is one of the fastest growing areas within SCM. I have been a long-time  practitioner of network modeling, as a manager in business and as a consultant,  and I have covered the topic in university lectures. I still learned a great deal  about a subject I thought I knew thoroughly!”
—Bill Nickle, Principal, Nickle Consulting

“…the authors draw on their extensive expertise as practitioners to provide valuable  insights into how to successfully execute a network design study.”
—Dr. Mike Hewitt, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology

“This is the first book I have seen that starts with the basics of facility location, and then takes a step-by-step approach to adding real-life complexities to the modeling effort.  It appropriately emphasizes the complexities and nuances of designing a supply chain network without getting bogged down in too much math.”
—Dr. Keely L. Croxton, Associate Professor of Logistics, Department of Marketing and Logistics, Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University

“The book is well-positioned to answer many of the ‘what happens in the real world’ questions my students often ask. The material bridges the gap between classroom models and data or implementation realities. The exercises provided in the book challenge students to analyze their modeling assumptions and consider the implications of these assumptions. The case studies provide a great level of practical relevance for students. This book is a valuable guide for both engineers and supply chain practitioners.”
—Karen Smilowitz, Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering and
Management Sciences, Northwestern University

“Supply Chain Network Design will help students, academics, and practitioners alike understand the importance of successfully designing and optimizing a global supply chain network, while also explaining in easy-to-understand steps how to make it happen.”
—John A. Caltagirone, Quinlan School of Business, Loyola University

“As I know from the work he has done with SCDigest, [one of the authors] Watson has an excellent way of taking a complex and scientific topic and making it understandable and interesting, and he and his colleagues have done that here as well.”                                   —Dan Gilmore, SupplyChainDigest.  Click here for full review.

“If any organization is still considering the deployment and use of supply chain network design technology, or wants to gain broader benefits from an existing deployment, this is a book you should definitely consider….What I appreciated was that the book is written in clear, rather easy to understand language vs. one that is anchored in academic formulae.” —Bob Ferrari, The Ferrari Group and author of the Supply Chain Matters Blog.  Click here for full review.


We wrote this book so that both the beginners will understand this topic and more advanced users will learn something new.  The content is the result of many years of doing these projects and building and supporting commercial software for others to do these projects.  You can learn from our experience (and mistakes) and learn from the areas we’ve seen others struggle with.

Network design is a rich and deep subject matter.  This book is meant to give you a foundation for understanding and building the most complex supply chain models.  It does this by taking the key concepts, in turn, and making sure you understand the concept, the science behind the concept, and the intuition of the concept.  When you get to the end, you will find that the most complex models are nothing more than unique combinations of the concepts you now understand.

For example, for each concept, we highlight showcase it with a detailed case study as an example.  Here are just a few of the case studies:

  • The mythical country of Logistica (where the citizens are very logical) and their desire to locate the capital city with logical center of gravity calculations.  Their findings surprised them and will surprise many of you as well (including advanced readers who have worked on many center of gravity studies).
  • Al’s Athletics (a large chain a sporting goods stores in the US) and Chen’s Cosmetics (a manufacturer of perfume in China and Europe) who want to expand their warehouse and plant network with a focus on service level.  You will learn how the definition of service level may not always be what it seems.
  • A Brazilian distributer who must wrestle with capacity constraints.  You will learn how capacity constraints and service requirements can interact in ways that dramatically influence your decisions.
  • A paint company called JADE that can leverage the difference in cost and mode between inbound and outbound transportation to reduce costs.

Interesting, network design concepts touch on many different aspects of a firms business and general business topics.  For example, we discuss issues such as

  • Data that is quantifiable versus non-quantifiable data
  • How accurate and precise your data needs to be (advanced readers will find this helpful to themselves and to educating the people they work with)
  • How to quantify capacity and what it really means (it is not as straightforward as you might think)
  • What is a fixed cost and what is a variable cost (outside of accounting andy financial reporting, the discussion can be interesting because it can lead to different decisions)

In addition, we also tackle how to get good results with network design.  We highlight the art of modeling and debugging, how to aggregate data (a key part of any study), and how to build a team.  This section is not just a generic section on getting things done in an organization (there are many books on that), but on the specifics of taking what you know about network design and helping you build models.  Again, the reader who is new to network design will get a jump start and the advanced reader will learn some new tips and tricks (and have some good material to share with the people they work with).

Here is an overview of the chapters:

Part I: Introduction and Basic Building Blocks

  • Chapter 1: Value of Supply Chain Network Modeling
  • Chapter 2: Intuition Building with Center of Gravity Models
  • Chapter 3: Locating Facilities Using a Distance-Based Approach
  • Chapter 4: Alternative Service Levels and Sensitivity Analysis
  • Chapter 5: Adding Capacity to the Model

Part II: Adding Costs to Two Echelon Supply Chains

  • Chapter 6: Adding Outbound Transportation to the Model
  • Chapter 7: Introducing Facility Fixed and Variable Costs
  • Chapter 8: Baseline and Optimal Baselines

Part III: Advanced Modeling and Expanding to Multiple Echelons

  • Chapter 9: Three Echelon Supply Chain Modeling
  • Chapter 10: Adding Multiple Products and Multi-Site Production Sourcing
  • Chapter 11: Multi-Objective Optimization

Part IV: How to Get Industrial Strength Results

  • Chapter 12: The Art of Modeling
  • Chapter 13: Data Aggregation in Network Design
  • Chapter 14: Creating a Group and Running a Project

Part V: Case Study Wrap Up

  • Chapter 15: Case Study: JPMS Chemicals Case Study