Learning how to optimize your network design is vital for the success of your supply chain.

Many organizations struggle with their supply chains because they are using inefficient network setups.

Well, watch this video as Sofia Rivas Herrera sheds light on network design and optimization and take your organization’s supply chain to the next level.



Here are the Insights from Sofia


Distribution Network Design is a vital yet often misunderstood topic. Sofia Rivas Herrera, an expert from HP’s global supply chain team, specializes in translating physical problems into mathematical models, a key aspect of distribution network design.

So, what is distribution network design about? Sofia explains it simply: imagine a map showing manufacturing centers, distribution centers, and customers. Each node on this map is part of the supply chain, connected by lines representing the flow of goods. The aim is to optimize these connections to meet specific objectives, such as minimizing costs or reducing CO2 emissions. Sofia likens this process to using a blender, mixing elements to find the best combination. Relying too heavily on tools without ensuring accurate input data will result in a pitfall. Sofia points out that the effectiveness of any tool depends on the quality of the data it uses. Missteps often happen when we try to translate real-world problems into mathematical models, emphasizing the need for skilled professionals in distribution network design.


The Role of Theory and Practicality


Understanding theory allows practitioners to estimate expected outcomes, which is crucial for verifying results generated by tools. Practical experience complements this, enabling professionals to adjust theoretical models to real-world constraints.

A common mistake is often made when choosing a tool without a clear understanding of the problem, like buying a hammer without knowing what needs fixing. Whether it’s an ERP system, a WMS, or a TMS, the key is to start with a clear objective and then select the appropriate tool for distribution network design.


Why Network Design is Fascinating


Sofia finds distribution network design fascinating due to its practical applications and the ability to solve real-world problems. Building and testing scenarios to find the best solutions brings a sense of scientific experimentation. Looking ahead, Sofia believes distribution network design will be crucial in achieving sustainability goals. As companies strive to reduce their carbon footprints, optimizing supply chains will be essential. While AI could accelerate this process, Sofia cautions against over-reliance on AI without a solid theoretical foundation.


Reflect on the practical applications of distribution network design and its potential to uncover innovative solutions. Emphasize the importance of accurate data input, as garbage in will result in garbage out. Sofia adds that distribution network design will continue to grow in importance, driven by sustainability goals and advances in AI. As businesses navigate complex supply chains, the ability to design and optimize distribution networks will be more crucial than ever.


Related articles on this topic have appeared throughout our website, check them out:


Editor’s Note: The content of this post was originally published on Logistics Bureau’s website dated April 17, 2024, under the title “Network Design and Optimisation – A User Perspective


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Rob O’Byrne
Email: robyrne@logisticsbureau.com
Phone: +61 417 417 307