Introduction to Clear Abacus


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Clear Abacus ( offers optimization software via subscription for multi-modal transport planning. Founded in 2012, Clear Abacus is a small company but brings excellent software and consulting practices to early adopter clients. Typical clients are companies in the retail, FMCG, chemical, or life sciences industries operating a supply chain with complexity due to large number of shipping locations, complex product requirements such as temperature controls or multi-SKU kits, and who are finding regular examples of transport which was more expensive, prone to delay, or inflexible than could have been with better planning support. Based in Basel, Chicago, and Shanghai we have broad geographic coverage for a company of our size.

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Introduction to Clear Abacus

  1. 1. Introduction to Clear Abacus 1 Introduction to Clear Abacus www.clearabacus.comVisit us: Contact us:
  2. 2. Introduction to Clear Abacus 2 Document Scope ① About our product ② Case studies ③ Pilot projects ④ About our team
  3. 3. Introduction to Clear Abacus 3 Our Product: • A transport planning & optimization engine accessed through a RESTful web service • Software used to model and optimize transactional transport decisions Software in Brief Customer Data: -Carrier rates & schedules -Locations & operating hours -Product profile for upcoming shipments Transport Plan: -The load & route plan for all products -The expected cost of the transportation -Identify any products which can’t make their deadlines at destination Clear Abacus
  4. 4. Introduction to Clear Abacus 4 Is Tailored for: • Transport decisions made once per day up to once per week. • High-complexity transport problems (temperature control, hazardous goods, SKU kitting, multimodal, multiple overlapping carrier contracts, complicated constraints, and so on) • Complex optimization goals, such as a blend of transport cost reduction, inventory carrying cost balancing, capacity smoothing, and risk management And Differentiated by: • Subscription basis, without up-front charges, commitment periods or minimum spend. • Cloud computing (no hardware costs, no license fees) • Narrow but deep feature set. No attempt to be a complete TMS nor to be a portal for collecting data from multiple parties • Strong underlying optimization technology (data model, algorithm implementation, natively built for SaaS and parallelization) Software in Brief
  5. 5. Introduction to Clear Abacus 5 Software Details Data Input and Output • Our client’s provide a snapshot of their supply chain setup (costs, locations, vehicles or other resources, business rules, etc.) along with the data on products which must be transported. This comes as a single XML file • The XML is submitted using a REST API web service. This can also be uploaded manually through our Flight Control website. • Data is not persisted to a database by Clear Abacus, nor do we accumulate and integrate multiple data sources. This simplifies data management and security. Optimization • Clear Abacus takes incoming optimization jobs and manages them through a queuing system called “Flight Control” • The queuing system spins-up new “agent” servers on a cloud computing provider • The job is assigned to multiple heterogeneous agents • The agents represent unique algorithmic approaches to the optimization task, or similar algorithms but with diverging configurations • Every 1-2 seconds the agents report their best personal best plan. The overall best is made available at any time for downloading Other Features • For clients who are not comfortable constructing XMLs from their core IT systems we offer an Excel integration option • Highly effective modeling language for quickly setting up a client for optimization • Especially effective for optimizations running in longer time periods • Little or no software screens to learn for the user… in fact, it can be run as a “solver” engine behind a client’s preferred front-end system.
  6. 6. Introduction to Clear Abacus 6 Key Features Load and Route Optimization • Load building and routing, including factors such as typical equipment requirements, complex timetables for transport activities, multi- leg transport planning, etc. Multi-Stop Vehicles: • Easy modeling of multi-stop vehicles, including pickup or delivery actions at each stop, and dynamic or fixed routes. Resource-Enabled Transport Planning: • Transport plans can be enabled by resources (such as a route which can be executed using different vehicle sizes). The resources add a secondary dimension of constraint and optimization • Support for sub-resources as well, such as a vehicle with variable partitions which must be optimized in terms of size or temperature settings. Restrictive Attributes: • Restrictive attributes can be added as categorical variables or continuous variables, and are used to control the transport planning. Clients Declare Units: • The application supports new units which will drive the optimization, declared by the client at run-time, including unit-to-unit relationships, i.e. declaring a pallet as being part of a sandwich pallet. Cloud Deployment & Scaling: • On-demand spin-up of new agents including checkout and installation on cloud virtual machines Supply Chain & Solution Visualization: • The application generates a number of reports and visualizations of the client’s supply chain and the optimal transport plan.
  7. 7. Introduction to Clear Abacus 7 Examples of Optimization Results: Visualization of the Transport Network: Visualization of the Best Solution:
  8. 8. Introduction to Clear Abacus 8 XML XML Option 1... System Integration Approach Customer RESTAPI QueueDistribution Virtual Machines New Job Most Recent Best Plan Assign New Job Each Agent Anounces Their Personal Best Plan Pool of Heterogenous Optimization Agents Machine Checkout / Checkin
  9. 9. Introduction to Clear Abacus 9 XML XML Option 2... Excel Integration Approach Customer RESTAPI QueueDistribution Virtual Machines New Job Most Recent Best Plan Assign New Job Each Agent Anounces Their Personal Best Plan Pool of Heterogenous Optimization Agents Machine Checkout / Checkin Excel Mapping Tool Master Data or New Job
  10. 10. Introduction to Clear Abacus 10 Case Study Trucking
  11. 11. Introduction to Clear Abacus 11 Case Study Overview Case Study Data and Goal • Overland transport focus, particularly trucking • High and low security freight, temperature controlled, and ambient freight • 22 Vehicle types, ranging from double-deck lorries to inner-city vans, with various security and temperature-control capabilities • Temperature control ranges on most products • 42 locations… a mix of pickup, destination, and cross-dock locations • Usual per-day volumes: ~150 transport orders, ~1,000 pallets, and 300k chargeable kilos • The client asked for a comparison between the Clear Abacus software’s best plan and a manual solution from their transport analysts for all products being shipped on a selected day Case Study Highlight • Directly compared manual vs. Clear Abacus solutions
  12. 12. Introduction to Clear Abacus 12 Results Comparison Simple Manual • Emphasis on Route Planning • 1.5 hours of staff time • 141 equipment reservations • 17 Orders given multi-leg routes • Two equipment types used • Total Cost = 72,152 EUR Best Manual • Emphasis on Load Building • 3 hours of staff time • 88 equipment reservations • 17 Orders given multi-leg routes • Two equipment types used • Total Cost = 52,829 EUR 46% cost reduction compared to best manual solution Clear Abacus • Evaluated loading and routing • 2 hours of optimization time • 82 equipment reservations • 26 Orders given multi-leg routes • Six equipment types used • Total Cost = 28,315 EUR
  13. 13. Introduction to Clear Abacus 13 Case Study Large-scale tests
  14. 14. Introduction to Clear Abacus 14 Case Study Overview Case Study Data and Goal • 12 vehicle types • Two to three transit time options for most lanes • 7 origins, 2 cross-docks, 139 destinations • ~700 transport legs, about evenly split by service level and across 8 carriers • ~40k rates based on chargeable weight, equipment used, security, and source - destination • Temperature control and ambient, as well as high-security freight • ~11k orders… 55 million Kilograms and 150k pallets Case Study Highlight • Multimodal context • Large scale testing, in terms of parallel computing and data volume Case Study Goal • The client asked for a complete optimization of one year of operational data, run on a day-by-day basis as it would have in real life. • The goal was to prove cost savings and also to do “load testing” on our parallelization ability
  15. 15. Introduction to Clear Abacus 15 Optimization Results: • Overall 24% savings. In Clear Abacus plans over baseline plans • 182 individual optimizations were run, each focusing on a 48 hour window of product availability • The 48-hour window represents the visibility the client had at the time the original planning decisions were made allowing for a realistic comparison of results
  16. 16. Introduction to Clear Abacus 16 Pilot Projects How we demonstrate expected impact
  17. 17. Introduction to Clear Abacus 17 Gather Data •Agree on scope for pilot (region, product class, etc) •Client sends Clear Abacus related network & shipment data •Agree on general business rules Optimize •Clear Abacus formats data as needed •Optimizer is run for agreed time, matching expected operational limits Critique Results •Results are compared to a known baseline, and reviewed for feasibility by the client’s staff •Possible need to re-run with different business rules if something was missed Clear Abacus Piloting Process & Timeline ~2 weeks duration Contact us:
  18. 18. Introduction to Clear Abacus 18 About Our Company
  19. 19. Introduction to Clear Abacus 19 Who is Clear Abacus? Strategy Vision Bring new technologies to supply chain optimization Develop market-leading software for transport planning decisions in the once-per-day to once-per-week time range Software offered on a subscription basis Product
  20. 20. Introduction to Clear Abacus 20 The Team Josh Bryan: • Co-founder • BS @ University of Missouri, Columbia • MS @ University of Illinois, Chicago • Published researcher in artificial intelligence • US patent holder • Responsible for technology & development Ryan Zhao: • Principal Consultant • BSE @ University of Michigan, Ann Arbor • Background in supply chain software implementation • International work experience • Responsible for solution consulting Jonah McIntire: • Co-founder • BS @ University of Missouri, Columbia • MS @ University of Missouri, Columbia • Published researcher in supply chain visibility • Broad global work experience • Responsible for solution consulting
  21. 21. Introduction to Clear Abacus 21 www.clearabacus.comVisit us: Contact us:
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