Network Optimization

Network optimization plays a key role in controlling costs, managing complexity and increasing profit margins, but it can do even more for your business. An optimized network can reduce your carbon footprint, help you meet broad sustainability goals, increase the delivery quality of your products and ultimately result in added value, differentiation and a better customer experience.


Tompkins goes beyond the fundamentals to develop strategically robust and responsive networks for our clients. The configuration, equipment, capacities and placement of your facilities are planned with consideration of cost fluctuations in inputs, product lifecycles, changing distribution channels, market segmentation (and new opportunities), regulatory changes, demographic shifts and economic events. We also offer organizational design & change management, site selection and coordination of construction, equipment, installations and material handling systems integration to deploy your optimized network.

As a full-service consulting and implementation firm, we will be with you every step of the way, from the initial planning and design to transition and training for your new network.

One of the key tasks at the start of most any assessment or design project is to determine the storage and throughput capacity of the current facility or facilities. A root cause analysis will uncover systematic issues and lead to gap identification between current capacities and the requirements.

Factors that can impact a facility’s capacity are storage and material handling systems, labor availability, facility size or characteristics, information systems, order management and processing. As opportunities are discovered, alternatives to close the gap will be evaluated and recommended, including:

  • Maximizing throughput of current equipment and processes
  • Optimizing all available storage cube of facilities
  • Streamlining information flow between systems
  • A physical expansion of the facility
  • Additional distribution/fulfillment nodes in the network
  • Outsourcing capacity

Designing distribution networks requires an understanding of the organization’s objectives, goals and strategies. Traditionally, cost has been a very important factor in designing distribution networks but in today’s world, it is not enough to just be the low-cost supplier—consumer expectations are also a driving factor in these designs. Inventory positioning, order cycle time and proximity to the customer all need to be considered when discussing order lead times.

At Tompkins, we believe that a successful network design project is predicated on understanding the nuances of the client’s business model. Our network design services attempt to answer important questions specific to your distribution strategy, including:

  • How many distribution and/or fulfillment nodes should you have?
  • Where should they be located?
  • What is the configuration and purpose of each node in the network?
  • Which customers should be serviced by which node(s)?
  • How are customer orders processed?
  • How will each node be replenished?
  • How should shipments be scheduled?
  • What service levels should be offered?
  • Which transportation methods should be used?
  • Should all or part of the network be outsourced?

Tompkins utilizes several modeling tools for our network designs. We design flexibility and robustness into our models, allowing quick adjustments and “what if” analysis in many aspects of the network model. These tools are deployed based on the volume and complexity of the distribution network and if the client may want to learn the modeling tool themselves for future use.

Our network modeling helps organizations optimize their distribution networks and also prepare for market volatility and risk mitigation. Flexibility is key and organizations must plan for changing market conditions, such as:

  • Geographic and demographic shifts in production and consumption
  • Market segmentation and new markets
  • Changing distribution channels
  • Changing customer service requirements
  • Cost fluctuations in energy, transportation, taxes, leases, labor, etc.
  • Government policy, regulation or deregulation
  • Product proliferation and life cycle
  • Competitor adjustments
  • Acts of God or force majeure
  • Private or public sector disruptions
  • New global market opportunities