In this talk I will present the research project that led to the 2012 Practice Prize of the Canadian Operational Research Society. We were asked to develop a decision support tool for a national supply chain network of approximately 3,000 outlets, 5 distribution centres and 30 suppliers in 47 locations. With a given set of 150 possible distribution centre locations, we were asked provide a model that would analyse the existing network and that would determine the optimal location of a new distribution centre.
We present the ideas and assumptions behind our network model; develop the optimization problem, present simplifications, and present results. Our model was integrated with the TDL transportation routing software and a new "Network Analyst" management position was created to use our model to inform decisions on DC expansion.