Why Excel is obsolete for modelling a supply chain

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Our series: Supply Chain Simulation / Part 7

Why Excel is unnecessary for supply chain modelling

Excel is still used for planning and optimising supply chain networks. It helps solve a number of common supply chain challenges:

  • Where should warehouses and factories be placed?
  • Where should which goods be produced and stored?
  • Which suppliers and conditions do we choose?
  • How can we plan production and transport schedules based on resources and demand?

These challenges are overcome with the help of optimisation techniques such as linear and mixed-integer programming as well as heuristics.

As complexity in logistics increases, Excel is no longer sufficient for these challenges today. For big, data-intensive problems that require complex model logic, supply chain experts are therefore increasingly using specialised supply chain design tools, such as anyLogistix.

Advantages of an SCM optimisation tool over Excel

  1. Easy to use and quick, intuitive entry into optimisation, even without technical or mathematical knowledge.
  2. Avoidance of Excel errors: unlike Excel, anyLogistix offers functions for validating input data and tracing errors in the case of non-solvable models.
  3. Network visualisation instead of abstract constructs: anyLogistix has a map editor with network structure view that helps visually identify many model problems. In addition, modelling on the map simplifies model building immensely, e.g. by visually creating customer and warehouse locations or products and their demand via drag & drop.
  4. Easy maintenance of models: Excel models of supply chains are cumbersome and time-consuming to maintain. Nevertheless, many users shy away from switching to specialised supply chain design tools for fear of losing their customised solution. anyLogistix is an extensible tool where you can benefit from pre-built model templates, logic and statistics. This saves time without sacrificing flexibility. For example, you can specify user-defined constraints (e.g. custom decision variables) in the form of linear inequalities.
  5. Additional insights through simulation: Many users of optimisation programmes underestimate the possibilities of dynamic simulation. If they want to know something about the processes in a supply chain (e.g. inventory management or sourcing policies), simulation must be used.

Want to learn more? Register for our free web seminar on March 24th 2022 from 11:00 to 12:00 a.m. CET.

Or simply contact our supply chain expert: LinkedIn page of Till Fechteler.