Implementing Supply Routing Optimization in a Make-to-Order Manufacturing Network

John Foreman, Jérémie Gallien, Julie Alspaugh, Fernando Lopez, Rohit Bhatnagar, Chee Chong Teo, Charles Dubois
2008 Social Science Research Network  
Dell's supply chain for desktops involves Asian vendors shipping components by sea to several U.S. plants. While suppliers are responsible for shipping enough inventory to meet total needs across all production sites, Dell can re-route and expedite their shipments while in transit and also transfer on-hand inventory in order to balance supply across sites. This paper describes the development, implementation and impact of the process and optimization-based control system now used by Dell to
more » ... ess this supply routing challenge for its US-bound monitors. In a first phase, Dell created a new job definition focused solely on supply routing, and implemented a supporting visualization tool. In a second phase, a decision support system relying on an MIP formulation was implemented, overcoming two main challenges: (i) the estimation of shortages as a function of expected inventory, accounting for actual forecast quality; and (ii) the estimation of a meaningful shortage cost. This new methodology is estimated to have reduced Dell's inventory re-positioning costs for monitors by about 60%.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.1210842 fatcat:v4yzminxpzfbpbakdq33pvizgy