A Q&A with Matt Birch, PwC, on Visual Modeling in River Logic

EO Modeling: How It’s Different and Revolutionary. A Q&A with Matt Birch, Senior Consultant and PwC.

1. Tell us a little bit about your role at PwC and your career progression / professional background, with respect to optimization and modeling.

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Yorkshire Water Case Study: Strategic Risk and Cost Modeling

This month, we are featuring a case study outlining a project by one of our partners, Business Modelling Associates (BMA).

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­­­­Enterprise Optimizer Modeling Series: A Chemical Company Example

This is the first blog post in a series aimed at highlighting important Enterprise Optimizer® (EO) modeling features and uses. All information below is based on an EO model created for a real customer. High-level background description is provided, but no confidential information is disclosed.


River Logic partnered with a Top 5 consulting company to design, build and implement a Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) modeling platform for a large chemical company (“ChemCo”) with operations throughout the Americas and Europe. The impetus for this project was a definable gap in their S&OP planning process.

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Microsoft Office Excel Scenario Manager and Prescriptive Analytics

River Logic’s Enterprise Optimizer® and Microsoft Office Excel® have a long and close working relationship. For two decades, EO’s prescriptive analytics-based models have read data from and written data to Excel workbooks. Consistently one of EO’s most popular data sources, Excel makes building prototype EO models or conducting quick, one-off consulting projects considerably easier. It has also been an excellent option to analyze EO model solution results, either with Excel’s built-in features or using add-on technologies like Tableau.

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Monte Carlo Optimization for Beginners

The Monte Carlo method is a well-known simulation technique that uses statistical random sampling to solve mathematical problems. In use for about 85 years, many variants exist across a wide range of disciplines. If not familiar, I suggest reading this Wiki page.

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Managing Bottlenecks in Business to increase profitability

The key to increasing profitability is to identify which processes in your operations are or may become bottlenecks in the flow of work. Bottlenecks in business are the points where potential changes can have the most dramatic impact on the bottom line. While non-bottlenecks are important to consider from a cost accumulation standpoint, the majority of a manager’s focus should remain on the bottlenecks.

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Why Optimization Modeling Should Move Beyond Using Scripts

In the first decade of my career, most optimization models that I authored also required one or more scripts. They were necessary to automate tasks such as importing data, setting parameters, solving the model, executing another program (e.g., to crunch numbers), generating reports, and so on. Most were written in DOS shell, with an occasional UNIX shell depending on the platform used.

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Optimizing Capex Decisions for Aging Assets

We here at River Logic are proud to announce a new resource aging feature now offered in Enterprise Optimizer® (EO), our modeling and analytics platform built to increase performance through fully integrated decision-making. Why have we decided to add this new feature you, might ask.  For those familiar with EO, there are many types of resource decision making capabilities that are already supported. These include:

    • Capacity Planning – evaluating production capacity needs for present and future periods, e.g. how many resources/production lines do I need to run and when?
    • Production Planning – allocating production requirements to existing capacity, e.g. what products should I make on what resources?
    • Resource Buy/Sell – evaluating major capital investment decisions to buy or sell individual resources.
    • Facility/Location Open/Close – evaluating decisions to open/close entire physical locations and plants
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River Logic's Learnings from INFORMS 2015

“I used to use [AIMMS, GAMS, MPL…] but I don’t anymore.”

I heard this comment repeatedly this week at the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) conference in Philadelphia, PA. My colleague, Rohan Guthal, and I staffed the River Logic booth from November 1-3. We met with a variety of professors, students and practitioners. In nearly every case, when asked – “What optimization software are you using?” — that was the response we heard: they used to use a certain program, but no longer do. More on this below...

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Speed and Flexibility: The Key to Effective Logistics Modeling

Last spring in Portland, Oregon, the two primary container shipping companies with regularly scheduled service abruptly stopped calling, partly due to a longshoreman strike at the time. The impact was fast; the fallout substantial.

Whereas containers used to be transported directly to the port terminal, they are now transported (mostly) by truck to Tacoma, Seattle, Oakland or ports further way. Many companies — such as Nike and Columbia Sportswear — were affected, but agriculture-based companies — such as Lamb Weston’s potato business and other companies selling commodities like wheat, onions, and corn — were severely affected. Shipping the same products to the same customers overseas now costs between $600 and $1,000 more per container. By some estimates, there are approximately 2,000 more truckloads on the highways every week.

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Supply Chain Brief