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Chief Technology Officer

CorporateWebb - Intranet website for manufacturing sector companies

While there are numerous innovative features and characteristics that differentiate Rushmore's supply chain solution - Corporatewebb in the marketplace, this commentary will focus on Corporatewebb's optimized business dyanamics, which had been the spine behind our supply chain solution. The product handles two key elements in the supply chain planning problem: the constraints and the business objectives.

The constraints specify what can be done. For example, available capacity and raw materials available on a particular day. The business objectives specify what needs to be achieved. There will numerous plans that satisfy the constraints. Corporatewebb's optimization is about finding plans that do a better job at meeting the business objectives.

Corporatewebb's optimization methodologies had been revolving around the following factors:


Representation is fundamental. Without the ability to express or model within the computer, the complexities of sourcing, material flow, transportation, management policies and other constraints, it is unlikely that a software system can provide a useful solution.


No single algorithm works for the entire are supply chain. The type of solver or solvers needed varies according to the type of problem. For example, planning at the strategic or tactical level, such as, master planning or distribution planning requires different solvers than scheduling the optimal sequence of operations at each individual resource.


Planning is the process of maintaining and extending an existing plan. Rarely do planners have the luxury of creating a new plan from scratch. There is a certain amount of business inertia that exists. Raw materials are being continuously purchased, orders are being taken, products are being made which means that there is some plan already in place. It may not be the best plan, but it definitely exists. Optimizing this plan requires understanding the dynamic nature of the business constraints and having the capability to periodically review the plan to stay in sync with business plans.


One of the challenges in arriving at an optimal solution is understanding the criteria for good plan versus a bad plan. Many times there are often conflicting criteria that need to be resolved. Of course, ultimately the human planner is responsible for the quality of the plan. Thus, the optimization engine must work interactively with the human planner to arrive at an optimal solution. This balance between the human factor and software results in the better plans. While the computer is good at performing tasks like executing sophisticated algorithms, the human planner guides the optimization process.

As the supply chain market continues to mature and users become more sophisticated and comfortable about using these technologies, optimization will play an increasingly critical role in the selection of software solutions.

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