Developing optimizers

where things go wrong!

  • Osman Ali
  • 27 april 2014

Over recent years, advances in supply chain planning & optimization solutions have led to many noticeable improvements in processes of industries that adopted the technology. Some of the key benefits of the solutions include enhanced process visibility, improved control of resources, reduced waste and increased efficiency. Industry, in general, is becoming increasingly aware of these benefits and as a result planning and optimization software providers are receiving ever increasing number of industrial problems to be solved.

For developing an optimizer, a common practice among the solution developers is to start from a predetermined optimization technique in mind, being for example, an exact algorithm or a heuristic approach. The planning problem is modelled in software for optimization within the framework of the selected modelling approach to represent its counterpart in the real-world. Often, selecting an optimization technique at an early stage in development can lead to problems in later stages when the planning requirements become clearer or detailed. Incorrect choice of an optimization technique can force developers to make assumptions and simplifications for modelling. Consequently, when the planning problem is solved with such an optimization model, the solution obtained might be optimal from the perspective of the modelled problem, but it has little value for the planning problem in the real-world.

The supply chain optimization (SCO) team at Ordina recognises this problem and uses a bottom-up approach when it comes to developing optimizers. Instead of first starting to model the optimizer, our initial focus is on modelling the planning process itself. This software model allows us to analyse all important aspects of the real-world planning process, identify problem areas and determine the exact requirements for optimization. With this analysis, a well informed choice of an optimization technique is made.

Optimization remains a niche skill in the IT sector. We enjoy the luxury of having ambitious consultants in our team specialization in different optimization techniques. This diverse set of expertise enables us to design solutions for our clients that are best suited to their planning needs.


Over de auteur:

Osman Ali

Bedrijven die op grote schaal mensen en middelen inplannen, moeten bij Osman zijn. Hij is gespecialiseerd in het oplossen van planning-problemen, bijvoorbeeld in de logistieke en medische sector.