Network Design

Supply Chain Network Design is a key business function that has increasingly gained the attention of the C-Suite. And for good reason. Modern supply chains are complex global networks of suppliers, manufacturing and distribution facilities, ports, third party providers, transportation choices, and inventories that are impacted by rapidly changing market conditions, competitor initiatives, disruptions, currency fluctuations, regulatory issues, and so on. Supply chain networks must be re-evaluated on an ongoing basis (at least annually) in order to balance revenue growth, costs, working capital, asset deployment and sustainability objectives.

For over 35 years, INSIGHT’s supply chain network design solution, SAILS, has enabled companies to analyze their end-to-end operations and to explore how potential changes affect service, costs, asset deployment, sustainability, and risk. SAILS combines a powerful optimization engine with an exceptionally easy to use interface, extensive support databases, powerful data preparation machinery, elaborate scenario generation options, and comprehensive reporting capabilities.

Remarkably, even today many executives equate supply chain strategy with the number, location, size and mission of distribution centers. This view is hopelessly outdated.  Consider the following contemporary list of strategic issues that a network design tool can be used to analyze:

  • Facility Issues (types: supplier, manufacturing, DC, cross-dock, pool , port)
    A.    Number, size and location
    B.    Ownership
    C.    Mission
  • Facility mission issues
    A.    Raw material supplier procurement volumes, costs and limits
    B.    Plant location manufacturing volumes, costs, capacities and inventory requirements
    C.    Distribution center throughput & storage levels, operating costs, throughput & storage capacities and inventory requirements
    D.    Port, cross-dock and pool throughput levels, operating costs and throughput limits
  • Marketing issues
    A.    Campaign selection
    B.    Market, channel, product
    C.    Selection (max profit)
  • Major policy issues
    A.    Strategic sourcing
    B.    Target market expansion
    C.    International expansion
    D.    Supply chain vulnerability
    E.    Mergers and acquisitions
    F.    Capacity planning
    G.    Transportation policy
    H.    Seasonal demand/supply
    I.    Long-range planning
    J.    Inventory strategy
    K.    Customs/channel/product profitability
    L.    Product introductions and deletions
    M.    Sustainability measurement and objectives
    N.    Energy and carbon usage profiles
    O.    Customer profitability and cost-to-serve

SAILS Features:

  • Award-winning mixed integer linear programming optimization engine
  • Easy-to-use graphical user interface for visualization and analysis
  • Extensive data analysis and preparation options, including ability to process fully disaggregated transaction-level files from client business systems
  • Extensive built-in support databases, including geo-reference, distance/time, freight rate and facility cost
  • Comprehensive baseline analysis
  • Powerful scenario generation features
  • Comprehensive reporting capabilities, including written reports, maps and business graphics




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