A Discussion on Network Design


Ever wondered why some organizations succeed while others struggle with their supply chains?

In fact, many organizations mess up their supply chains with the wrong networks.

That’s why it’s crucial to learn to optimise your network design.

You might ask, what benefits will you get from this?

Well, watch this video as Sofia Rivas Herrera sheds light on network design and optimization and take your organization’s supply chain to the next level.



For help with your Network, check out: Logistics Consulting  


Unlocking the Secrets of Distribution Network Design:


Insights from Sofia Rivas Herrera


Distribution network design and optimization, though often overlooked, are critical components of supply chain management. Sofia Rivas Herrera, part of HP’s global supply chain team and an MIT-certified expert, shared her insights on this fascinating topic.

Sofia’s journey into distribution network design began during her certification at MIT, where she delved into the intricacies of translating physical supply chain problems into mathematical models. Her role involves using various tools and methodologies to optimize the movement of products from manufacturers to customers.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, distribution network design involves mapping out physical locations—such as manufacturing centers, distribution centers, and end customers. Each location, or node, in this network is connected by transportation routes. The objective is to optimize these connections to achieve goals like minimizing costs or reducing CO₂ emissions. Sofia likens this process to using a blender, where all components are mixed to find the best combination.

However, achieving accurate results depends heavily on the quality of data and the translation of physical problems into mathematical models. Sofia emphasized the importance of having skilled individuals who can bridge the gap between real-world problems and mathematical solutions. Without a solid understanding of the underlying principles, organizations risk relying on inaccurate outputs from these tools.

Sofia finds the “nerdy” aspects of network design particularly enjoyable, as it directly applies theoretical knowledge to real-life problems. Building and testing scenarios to find optimal solutions is akin to a scientist conducting experiments in a lab. However, practical adjustments are often needed, as theoretical models may not account for real-world constraints like regulations and stakeholder relationships.

Understanding objectives is crucial in selecting the right tools and strategies. This principle aligns with Stephen Covey’s idea of “beginning with the end in mind.” Sofia highlighted the necessity of knowing what one aims to achieve before jumping to solutions.

Looking ahead, network design is poised to play a key role in achieving sustainability goals. While AI has the potential to accelerate solution development, understanding the theory remains essential to avoid blindly trusting outputs. Sofia believes that having a solid foundation in theory will become increasingly important as the field grows.

In summary, Sofia Rivas Herrera’s insights underscore the critical role of distribution network design in creating efficient and sustainable supply chains. Her experiences and expertise highlight the importance of combining theoretical knowledge with practical applications to achieve optimal results. Understanding the basics and keeping abreast of future trends can significantly impact the success of supply chain operations.

For those interested in learning more about distribution network design, a wealth of resources is available, providing both theoretical knowledge and practical insights.

Distribution Network Design Consultants


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


Contact Rob O'Byrne
Best Regards,
Rob O’Byrne
Email: robyrne@logisticsbureau.com
Phone: +61 417 417 307