Location Software and Interface with GIS and Supply Chain Management
- The objective of this paper is to bridge the gap between location theory and practice. To meet this objective focus is given to the development of software capable of addressing the different needs of a wide group of users. There is a very active community on location theory encompassing many research fields such as operations research, computer science, mathematics, engineering, geography, economics and marketing. As a result, people working on facility location problems have a very diverse background and also different needs regarding the software to solve these problems. For those interested in non-commercial applications (e. g. students and researchers), the library of location algorithms (LoLA can be of considerable assistance. LoLA contains a collection of efficient algorithms for solving planar, network and discrete facility location problems. In this paper, a detailed description of the functionality of LoLA is presented. In the fields of geography and marketing, for instance, solving facility location problems requires using large amounts of demographic data. Hence, members of these groups (e. g. urban planners and sales managers) often work with geographical information too s. To address the specific needs of these users, LoLA was inked to a geographical information system (GIS) and the details of the combined functionality are described in the paper. Finally, there is a wide group of practitioners who need to solve large problems and require special purpose software with a good data interface. Many of such users can be found, for example, in the area of supply chain management (SCM). Logistics activities involved in strategic SCM include, among others, facility location planning. In this paper, the development of a commercial location software tool is also described. The too is embedded in the Advanced Planner and Optimizer SCM software developed by SAP AG, Walldorf, Germany. The paper ends with some conclusions and an outlook to future activities.