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SCDigest Expert Insight: Supply Chain by Design

About the Author

Dr. Michael Watson, one of the industry’s foremost experts on supply chain network design and advanced analytics, is a columnist and subject matter expert (SME) for Supply Chain Digest.

Dr. Watson, of Northwestern University, was the lead author of the just released book Supply Chain Network Design, co-authored with Sara Lewis, Peter Cacioppi, and Jay Jayaraman, all of IBM. (See Supply Chain Network Design – the Book.)

Prior to his current role at Northwestern, Watson was a key manager in IBM's network optimization group. In addition to his roles at IBM and now at Northwestern, Watson is director of The Optimization and Analytics Group.

By Dr. Michael Watson

December 5, 2012


Same Day Delivery and Network Design

For Quickly Evolving Markets, Building Simple Models and Testing a lot of Different Ideas Might Be the Best Option


As Dan Gilmore pointed out in a recent First Thoughts column, e-commerce and multi-channel commerce is booming.  

Dr. Watson Says:

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We don't know how same-day will evolve and how these questions will get answered. But, network modeling can help you understand the parameters.
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And, as part of this boom, a recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the many different retailers trying same-day delivery.  This article highlighted some business models that won’t scale—sending a courier an order, having that courier go to the store and buy the item and then deliver to the customer. 

Walmart and Amazon have probably received the most attention for their same-day delivery efforts.  Amazon is taking advantage of their e-commerce brand, their distribution network, and their lockers.  Walmart is taking advantage of their stores and some unique customer insights (people want to order on-line, but pick up and pay in cash at the store).

It is impossible to tell how this will evolve:

Retailers need to define what “same day” means.  For example, does it mean within 1, 2, or 4 hours?  What are the cut-off times?   And, does the retailer offer different service depending on your address?

Retailers need to figure out if they can charge for same-day delivery and if they can replicate successful same-day models (like pizza). 

And, I’ve heard that UPS, FedEx and USPS are trying to get into this market.  These carriers are already going to the home.  Can they coordinate with the retailers to make same-day deliveries?  It is similar to the old concept of merge-in-transit except done at a micro-level: you can imagine scenarios where the retailer actually delivers to a single UPS truck that is already on its route.  Of course, this requires extreme coordination. 

We don’t know how same-day will evolve and how these questions will get answered.  But, network modeling can help you understand the parameters.

Most of us think about network design helping locate warehouses across the country. 

 

Columns by Dr. Watson

Supply Chain by Design: Why Business Leaders should think of AI as an Umbrella Term

Putting AI in the Hands of Truckers

Supply Chain by Design: Reinforcement Learning Explained Using the Beer Game

Supply Chain by Design: Simple Game for Teaching the Value of Optimization

Four Supply Chain Lessons from the Amazon book The Everything Store

Supply Chain by Design: What Toyota, Schneider National, PayPal, and Palantir Got Right

Supply Chain by Design: Service Level Measures in the Supply Chain, Part 2

Supply Chain by Design: Service Level Measures in the Supply Chain

Supply Chain by Design: Nike's Phil Knight on the Importance of Supply Chain

Supply Chain by Design: Four Lessons from Hau Lee's Green Car Story Updated for the Era of Machine Learning

Supply Chain by Design: Profitability of Your Assets Depends on how you use Them

Supply Chain by Design: The Most Overlooked and Underestimated Data in Supply Chain Design

Supply Chain by Design: Self Driving Trucks May Create New Roles and New Types of Jobs

Supply Chain by Design: Why Driverless Trucks May Create the Need for More Drivers

Supply Chain by Design: A Non Obvious Way Self Driving Trucks May Impact Your Network Design Strategy

Supply Chain by Design: How You Should be Using Multi-Echelon Inventory Tools

Supply Chain by Design: You Don't Need the Optimization in Multi-Echelon Inventory Optimization

Supply Chain by Design: On Network Modeling - Blaspheming the Baseline

Supply Chain by Design: Profit Maximization Feature and Amazon’s Focus on Lead Time to Grow Revenue

Supply Chain by Design: Using Profit Maximization to Minimize Cost

Supply Chain by Design: Two Big Reasons You Don't Want to Maximize Profit in your Supply Chain Model

Supply Chain by Design: You Can Set Inventory Levels and Other Such Myths

Supply Chain by Design: Six Organizational Issues in Tactical Inventory Planning

Supply Chain by Design: Four Things Nick Saban Can Teach us About Inventory Planning

Supply Chain by Design: Seven Ways You Can Think About Christmas Capacity to Avoid Having the Press Blame Your Supply Chain for Missed Deliveries

Supply Chain by Design: Machine Learning and High Quality Potato Chips

Supply Chain by Design: Simple Models to Solve Complex Fast Delivery Problems

Supply Chain by Design: CSCMP Report - Five Take-Aways on Natural Gas Trucks from the AB InBev and Owens Corning Talk

Supply Chain by Design: CSCMP Report - Six Insights from LLamasoft and JLL

Supply Chain by Design: CSCMP Report - Five Supply Chain Design Lessons from Benjamin Moore and How One is Used by Amazon in their 1-hour Delivery Service

Supply Chain by Design: CSCMP Report - Two Supply Chain Design Lessons from Starbucks CEO

Supply Chain by Design: Four Groups that Need to Step Up to Help Make Network Design More of a Profession

Supply Chain by Design: Top Four Best Practices for Multi-Objective Optimization

Supply Chain by Design: Caesars Entertainment's Customer Data is Worth $1B - How Much is Your Supply Chain Data Worth?

Supply Chain by Design: Using Transactional Data to Estimate Truckload Market Conditions in Near-Real-Time

Supply Chain by Design: Routing Optimization is Hard: Lessons from UPS

Supply Chain by Design: Eli Goldratt's Book "The Goal" is on Jeff Bezos (Amazon) Reading List

Supply Chain by Design: Top Five Rules for Cleaning Data for a Strategic Analysis

Supply Chain by Design: Network Design and Accounting Data

Supply Chain by Design: Sears Case Study - Same Day Delivery

Supply Chain by Design: Three Ways UPS and FedEx Handled Christmas 2014

Supply Chain by Design: Deepen Your Optimization Knowledge Over the Holidays with Free E-book

Supply Chain by Design: Calculating Supplier Lead-Time Variability - Not as Easy as It Seems

Supply Chain by Design: The Myth of the Market Rate and Network Design Projects

Supply Chain by Design: Three Ways the Supply Chain Wastes Big Data

Supply Chain by Design: Three Supply Chain Lessons from the book Scaling Up Excellence

Supply Chain by Design: What to Do About the Rise in Costs Because of the Trucker Shortage

Supply Chain by Design: Modeling Your Competitors

Supply Chain By Design: Just Because the Feature Exists, Doesn’t Mean You Should Use It

Supply Chain by Design: Just Because People are Talking about Big Data Doesn’t Mean it is Clean Data

Supply Chain By Design: Can Western Manufacturing Be Saved: What Does it Mean to Your Firm?

Supply Chain By Design: Optimized Baseline and the "Perfect" Network Design

Supply Chain By Design: Become more Analytics-Driven to Recruit Talent

Supply Chain By Design: Step Up Your Preventative Maintenance with Predictive Analytics

Supply Chain By Design: Demystifying Stochastic Optimization

Supply Chain By Design: More on Big Data in the Supply Chain

Supply Chain by Design: Should You Extend Your Network Design Capability with a Map Portal?

Supply Chain by Design: A New Trend in Network Design: Flow Path Modeling

Supply Chain By Design: Top 5 Skills You Need in a Supply Chain Modeler

Supply Chain By Design: Comment on Biggest Supply Chain Planning Technology Challenges

Supply Chain by Design: Beyond the Square Root of N Rule

Supply Chain by Design: UPS's Christmas Problem Explained in One Graph

Supply Chain By Design: Your One Network Design New Year's Resolution

Supply Chain By Design: 80/20 Rule for Supply Chain Design

Supply Chain By Design: What Makes a Good Inventory Buffer

Supply Chain by Design: Some Things Do Not Change: Cost and Service Trade-Offs with Air Shipments

Supply Chain By Design: The Impact of Natural Gas Trucks On Your Supply Chain Design and Capabilities

Supply Chain By Design: Controlling Inbound Transportation with Inventory

Supply Chain by Design: Three Types of Supply Chain Buffers

Supply Chain by Design: Systems Thinking and the "Limits" of Optimization

Supply Chain By Design: 3D Printing and Robotics - Disrupting the Dominant Supply Chain Model

Supply Chain by Design: Future Supply Chain- Airships and the Physical Internet

Supply Chain By Design: Avoiding Capital Investments - A Hidden Benefit of Network Design

Supply Chain by Design: Three More Reasons the Impact of the New Hours of Service Rules May Not Be So Drastic

Supply Chain By Design: Three Ways to Handle the Lag Time from Modeling to Implementation

Supply Chain By Design: Three Quick Steps for Analyzing Big Data

Supply Chain by Design: What is Big Data?

Supply Chain By Design: Using Optimization to Compare Facilities or Internal Benchmarking

Supply Chain By Design: Four Steps for Thinking About An Optimization Problem

Supply Chain By Design: Don't Let the Term "Optimization" Become a Buzzword

Supply Chain By Design: Supply Chain Models Can Go Wrong - A Different Perspective

Supply Chain By The Numbers: Top Three Ways Supply Chain Models Can Go Wrong

Supply Chain By Design: Supply- and Demand-Centered Modeling: A Follow Up to 2013 Priorities

Supply Chain By Design: Three SCDigest Predictions You Should Be Modeling

Supply Chain by Design: Cost to Serve Modeling

Supply Chain By Design: Top Five Models You Should Build in 2013

Supply Chain By Design: Should You Source from China or the US? Why Not Both?

Supply Chain By Design: Same Day Delivery and Network Design

Supply Chain By Design: Political Supply Chain and Network Design

Advanced Analytics in Supply Chain - What is it and is it better than Non-Advanced Analytics?

But, exactly the same concepts apply to a local market.  You want to think about your customer and demand points as census tracks, city blocks, or an artificial grid of square miles (or square half-miles).   Your distribution points would be points where you keep inventory like your stores.

The analysis would help you determine how much coverage you could offer or what your realistic cut-off times should be. 


Final Thoughts

When doing a network model like this for a market that is evolving quickly, we have found that it is best to build simple models and test a lot of different ideas.  You looking for the model to tell you what has to happen to make this business model work for you.  For example, how many locations do you need?  How many potential customers can you cover?  How do changes in the time to deliver impact the solution?  You still have a lot of work to implement a solution.  The network design model helps you narrow the list of potential solutions.

Recent Feedback

What makes something of this scope more ripe for simple and different than any design?

I like that you address some of the granular detail with the "what does 'same day' mean" questions.  This so often seems ignored in the media coverage of same day delivery.  The micro level merge in transit paints an interesting picture; especially from an operational accountability perspective.

Only touched on in the last paragraph, I don't see an argument supporting simple models and different ideas.
Most network designs start with the Holmesian approach of eliminating the impossible to leave only the possible from which to craft a solution.  This may not always be done in a formal model but it is done at some level.  The quick churn through of several possibilities sets the stage for the real work.  The only difference here seems to be scale, essentially from thousands of miles to a few. 


Doug Owsley
Manager, Integrated Logistics Design
Exel
Dec, 05 2012
 
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