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A New Tool for Solving Complex Supply Chain Problems

A New Tool for Solving Complex Supply Chain Problems

May 3, 2023
New research from NC State University found significant advantages for supply chain managers in adopting the use of heuristics which are algorithm “shortcuts”.

Locating elements in a supply chain is always a challenge. To help with that, new research from North Carolina State University shows that efficient mathematical tools serve almost as well as more computationally demanding optimization models. In an article on the university's website, researchers found that this tool can " provide businesses with the relevant information far more quickly."

“Our work focuses on supply chains that improve economic and environmental performance by embracing sustainability,” says Amir Sadeghi, first author of the study and a Ph.D. student in NC State’s Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, in a statement. 

“We looked at supply chains where elements of their products can be reused – such as printing technologies that reuse printer cartridges," Sadeghi added. "These supply chains involve multiple manufacturing facilities, as well as many more distribution sites where consumers can both buy the products and return them for recycling or reuse. These multi-level supply chains are extremely complex, and the location of every point in the supply chain has significant ramifications in terms of cost, transportation time, and so on.

Sadeghi said the team was looking to see  how well "computationally efficient tools might perform, and whether they could be a suitable replacement for use in making supply chain management decisions.”

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