Many organizations fail by using inefficient networks for their supply chains. Therefore, understanding how to optimize your network design is essential.

Watch this video where Sofia Rivas Herrera explains network design and optimization.



In this discussion, we will delve into the intricacies of network design.


Understanding Distribution Network Design


Sofia specializes in designing and optimizing network design at HP. She explained, “Imagine you have a map of your physical locations, including manufacturing and distribution centers, along with your customers. You understand where your supply chain starts and ends, how you produce, store, and deliver goods, and the modes of transport used.” This visualization helps in mapping out a network or web of interconnected nodes, each representing a point in the supply chain.

The primary goal of network design, according to Sofia, is to connect these nodes efficiently to achieve specific objectives, often centered around minimizing costs or reducing CO₂ emissions. Constraints, both internal and external, also play a crucial role, such as delivery requirements and storage capacities. She likened the process to using a blender, where all these factors are mixed to find the best possible solution.


The Tools and Techniques


Before, network modeling was done using Excel, I can appreciate how modern tools have simplified the process. For Sofia, the accuracy of the results heavily depends on the quality of the input data. She stressed the importance of correctly translating physical problems into mathematical models and having the right talent to do so.

A common pitfall that she highlighted is the rush to choose a tool without a clear understanding of the actual problem or having the necessary data. She compared this to buying a hammer without knowing what needs fixing, underscoring the need to start with the end goal in mind.


The Future of Network Design


Sofia believes that network design will play an increasingly important role in achieving sustainability goals. With AI promising to accelerate this process, she advised against relying solely on technology without understanding the underlying theory. I echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need for a broad understanding to evaluate AI-generated solutions effectively. This sentiment underscored the importance of having a comprehensive understanding to accurately evaluate AI-generated solutions.


I encouraged you to explore more theoretical aspects through additional resources because the opportunities in this field are growing, especially for those passionate about sustainability and technology.


Related articles on this topic have appeared throughout our website, check them out:


Editor’s Note: The content of this post was originally published on Logistics Bureau’s website dated April 17, 2024, under the title “Network Design and Optimisation – A User Perspective



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