Engines for advancing the state of supply chain optimization

For the past 20 years, ILOG optimization engines have powered supply chain planning and scheduling applications sold by other vendors. A number of large manufacturing companies also use ILOG technology to build custom supply chain solutions. As it enters its third decade, ILOG has no plans to abandon that history, but will branch out in ways that should raise its profile even among casual users...

By Staff July 1, 2007

For the past 20 years, ILOG optimization engines have powered supply chain planning and scheduling applications sold by other vendors. A number of large manufacturing companies also use ILOG technology to build custom supply chain solutions.

As it enters its third decade, ILOG has no plans to abandon that history, but will branch out in ways that should raise its profile even among casual users of supply chain management solutions.

This past year ILOG released its own set of packaged applications targeting specific vertical industries. Jeff Kilbreth, director of optimization product management, says these packages incorporate best practices for managing specific business processes in these industries, in addition to filling gaps that exist in the more generic applications offered by other supply chain vendors. The current list of ILOG packaged applications includes these offerings:

  • Plant PowerOps, with functionality for integrated planning and detailed scheduling in process-oriented manufacturing environments such as the food & beverage or chemical industries;

  • Transport PowerOps, which has optimized planning & scheduling capabilities for shippers and third-party logistics providers; and

  • Fab PowerOps, with capabilities for near-real time scheduling and rescheduling of semiconductor manufacturing operations.

ILOG also has a new set of tools that any company in any industry can use to build custom applications. Kilbreth says this tool set—known as the ILOG Optimization Decision Management System (ODMS)—offers “a new model for building custom applications.”

Kilbreth also says ODMS is much easier to use than previous generations of development platforms. “Business managers can participate in the model development process, and the applications built with ODMS are much easier to maintain over time,” he says.

ILOG CEO Pierre Haren says while the company wants to expand the tools and application choices it offers directly to users, it does not want to abandon relationships it has with other software vendors—particularly ERP market leader SAP .

“We worked with SAP to develop its advanced planning and optimization solution,” Haren says, adding that ILOG began developing its own applications largely as a way of advancing the field of supply chain management. “It’s mostly about proving the concept of what is possible today,” he adds. “If we don’t demonstrate [these new capabilities], people won’t expect them.”