December 1st, 2015 5:11 pm Category: Distribution, Global Supply Chain, Green Network, Inventory Management, Network Design, Optimization, Optimization Software, Scheduling, Solver Optimization, Supply Chain Improvement, Supply Chain Optimization, Supply Chain Planning, Transportation, Vehicle Routing, Warehouse Optimization, by: Gene Ramsay
Profit Point has been helping companies apply mathematical techniques to improve their business decisions for 20 years now, and it is interesting to review some of the advances in technology that have occurred over this time that have most enabled us to help our clients, including:
• The ability for companies to capture, store and access increasingly larger amounts of transaction and anecdotal data that quantify the behavior and motivation of customers, manufacturers, suppliers and other entities
• The improvement in analytical capabilities that help make optimized choices, in such areas as the solving mixed integer optimization problems, and
• The improvement of computing technology, allowing us to perform calculations in a fraction of the time required just a few years ago
A recent post on the Data Science Central website highlights the use of advanced techniques based on these advances by on-line marketplace Amazon, which is generally acknowledged as one of the most tech-savvy companies on the planet. 21 techniques are listed that Amazon uses to improve both their day-to-day operations and planning processes, including supply chain network design, delivery scheduling, sales and inventory forecasting, advertising optimization, revenue / price optimization, fraud detection and many others. For a complete list see the link below:
Like our customer Amazon, Profit Point is committed to using these techniques for the benefit of our clients – we have been concentrating on implementing business improvement for our clients, including optimization in various forms, since our very beginning. Are you, like Amazon, using the best methods to seize the opportunities that are available today?
Profit Point’s optimization expertise will be available to users of Excel Solver and other leading Frontline products.
North Brookfield, MA (PRWEB) August 4, 2009
Working to deliver state-of-the-art analytics to Microsoft Office users around the world, Profit Point and Frontline today announced a partnership to bring Profit Point’s optimization consulting expertise to the large community of Solver users. Frontline Systems is the worldwide leader in spreadsheet solvers with more than 500 million copies of Solver distributed to users, in every copy of Microsoft Office sold since 1990. Profit Point is a leading supply chain and business optimization consultancy with deep expertise across a range of optimization technologies.
“We are excited to further extend our reach into supply chain business processes and applications,” stated Dan Fylstra, Frontline’s founder and CEO. “Profit Point’s consultants can deliver expertise to our customers in several key areas, including model design, application development and deployment, and integration of our advanced technologies into sophisticated supply chain business processes.”
Frontline, which was the original developer of the solvers/optimizers in Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro, has now moved far beyond competitive offerings, to deliver the first and only commercial software that can solve the full range of optimization models with uncertainty, using the new methods of robust optimization, as well as classical stochastic programming and simulation optimization methods. The company is also a technology leader in the emerging fields of convex, conic, and global optimization.
“Frontline provides a rich array of leading technology solutions that integrate optimization and simulation,” noted Alan Kosansky, Profit Point’s President. “The breadth of their installed user base enables us to provide clients the right technology to improve the difficult decisions they need to make to continue to improve profitability in challenging times.”
Profit Point, which has supported Solver users for years, has deep expertise and experience in using Solver and the associated optimization techniques to implement practical business solutions. Although specializing in supply chain optimization, the firm’s experience covers a broad range of business problems including planning, scheduling, routing, risk management and financial optimization.
About Profit Point:
Profit Point Inc. was founded in 1995 and is now a global leader in supply chain optimization. The company’s team of supply chain consultants includes industry leaders in the fields infrastructure planning, green operations, supply chain planning, distribution, scheduling, transportation, warehouse improvement and business optimization. Profit Point has combined software and service solutions that have been successfully applied across a breadth of industries and by a diverse set of companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, General Electric, Logitech, Rohm and Haas and Toyota.
About Frontline Systems:
Frontline Systems is the worldwide leader in spreadsheet Solvers — advanced software used for optimization and simulation of business and engineering models in Excel. Frontline developed the solvers/optimizers in Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3 and Quattro Pro. Over 500 million copies of Frontline’s Solvers for optimization have been distributed to users, in every copy of Microsoft Office sold since 1990, and Frontline’s Excel Solver upgrade products, sold directly to advanced users, are by far the market leaders in their field.
Business Problem: Dole Food Company, Inc. is a producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers, and markets several lines of packaged foods. Dole globally purchases containerboard from several paper companies to manufacture containers to transport and inventory their products.
Dole uses an MS Excel spreadsheet to optimize the variables and constraints to develop an annual strategic purchasing plan and on-going monthly tactical purchase plans for the year to minimize the total costs of buying paper products.
Dole had a desire to improve the optimization tool by using Profit Point’s supply chain consultants to:
- Validate the current optimization methodology and algorithms
- Investigate if there might be a better approach or tool to solve this problem
One of Dole’s purchase challenges was developing dynamic monthly plans that were consistent with the annual plan as they move through the year. The terms and conditions offered by the containerboard manufactures include variable costs and constraints that were non-linear. The monthly plan needed to consider these conditions to produce a purchasing plan that provided Dole an optimal cost minimization solution as they reach year-end.
Profit Point’s Solution: Validation: Profit Point reviewed Dole’s data inputs, assumptions, optimization process and validated that the current spreadsheet model was operating correctly and that the spreadsheet was providing Dole an optimal answer. A few modifications were made to the model which allowed Dole’s purchase managers to quickly update and run the tool, and review the output reports. This provided them the ability to confidently make a purchase decision by using the model output or a variant of the output or change the input and re-run the Optimization Tool.
Improved Process and Tool: Profit Point provided Dole with an improved Containerboard Optimization Tool using Frontline Systems‘ solvers that gave management the ability to:
- Dynamically solve the optimization problem on a monthly basis and consider all the contractual terms associated with optimizing annual tonnage purchase levels.
- Easily develop strategic plans that include multiple prices and programs offered by suppliers.
- Improve the current optimization performance.
A better model and process created value to Dole by:
- Reducing management’s time to analyze multiple scenarios each month
- Improving management’s confidence in making purchase recommendations
- Reducing total paper purchase costs through use of better management practices and model resources
And creating the opportunity for Dole to:
- Decrease paper purchase costs
- Increase management productivity
- Provide Dole’s container production plants with improved purchase plans
Frontline Systems develops mathematical solvers and optimizers and has customers in over 50 countries. Frontline’s flagship product, the Premium Solver Platform, greatly extends the power of the Solver in Microsoft Excel, which Frontline developed for Microsoft. This powerful product offers built-in linear, quadratic, conic, nonlinear, interval global and evolutionary Solvers.
Profit Point is Frontline Systems’ consulting partner. Profit Point can quickly assist Microsoft Excel users with their modeling needs and projects, reducing model development and programming effort and time. Profit Point’s consultants can assist with development of models “from scratch”, or help companies that are starting a project that requires more in-depth technical consulting support.
Frontline’s Solver technology spans the full range of linear and nonlinear, convex and non-convex, discrete and continuous optimization. The Premium Solver Platform offers the world’s best platform for convex optimization – the natural extension of linear programming – and the world’s best platform for global optimization.
For more capacity and speed, users can choose from eight plug-in large scale Solver Engines that offer a range from traditional linear, quadratic and mixed-integer programming to powerful convex and conic optimization, nonlinear optimization, global optimization, and optimization of arbitrary Excel models using genetic algorithms, tabu search and scatter search.
To learn more about how Profit Point can help you get the most out of Excel Solver optimization, contact us here:
(866) 347-1130 or