Fruit of the Loom (FOTL), one of the largest US apparel manufacturers was expanding its product line in early 2014 and faced the decision to add a new distribution center (DC) or to redistribute products to a pre-existing DC. To identify the benefits of each option in terms of cost and supply chain optimization, Fruit of the Loom required greater visualization than typical supply chain management tools could offer.
Beth Rogers, Manager of Data Science at Fruit of the Loom chose AnyLogic agent-based modeling with its integrated Geographic Information System (GIS) capabilities to calculate optimal product distribution within the multi-echelon supply chain. In the agent-based supply chain model, each agent (i.e. manufacturers, retailers, DCs, trucks) has their own rules and goals but can also interact with other agents to affect the entire system. GIS was used to assess the distances between agents and determine the optimal shipping routes of products from manufacturers to DCs or DCs to retailers. AnyLogic’s interoperability also allowed Beth Roger’s team to combine the agent-based model with ESRI’s ArcMap Network Analyst to identify the best DC locations that would minimize shipping costs for the entire apparel company.