Introducing the Optimizer Toolbox

edited June 2023 in Best Practices

What is the Optimizer Toolbox?

The Optimizer Toolbox is a Model Builder’s reference guide that details common linear program constructions for themes such as allocation, scheduling, and time-phasing. Each theme is dissected in a sequence of modules that progress from simple to complex.

For example, the “drawer” on Time-Phasing begins with a single-echelon supply chain inventory rollover example, then adds on inventory pre-building, backorder projection and reduction, and distribution center transfer logic.

Target audience

Certified model builders who have completed introductory Optimizer coursework and are ready to delve deeper into Optimizer for their next build.

Note: While Anaplan Optimizer makes powerful linear programming accessible without the need for coding or scripting, the demanding work of defining and configuring linear programs remains no less complicated. The intent of this Toolbox is to accelerate intermediate-to-complex use case builds by serving as a compendium of commonly-invoked concepts.

Toolkit's focus

5 main themes are declined in the Toolkit; This easy approach allows you to simply choose the theme to explore and gain deeper knowledge on, following concrete examples.

  1. Allocation
  2. Scheduling
  3. Time-Phasing
  4. Time-Offsetting
  5. End User-Configurable Actions

Over 20 Optimizer actions

Those actions are illustrating an end-to-end configuration for:

  • Compatibility matrices (i.e. enforcing product and manufacturing line compatibility)
  • Component shortage-constrained manufacturing
  • Lot size rounding (respecting minimum order quantity and batch lot sizes)
  • Profitability analysis incorporating service level agreement penalties
  • Scheduling with changeover minimization and permitted production wheel sequences
  • Inventory projections with pre-build capacity, backorder management, and transfer pooling
  • Fulfillment logic respecting route-specific lead times and costs
  • Territory rebalancing incorporating user-defined scorecards

Ready to get deeper insights?

Recommended steps

  1. Review the Fundamentals of Linear Programming video (courtesy of Gurobi)
  2. Enroll in this On-Demand Optimizer course
  3. Review the Community Start Here Page 
  4. Complete these Introductory Hands-on Exercises
  5. Download the Optimizer Toolbox Model
  6. Familiarize yourself with the module T1.1 Simple Allocation and its associated Process and Optimizer actions - the same concept is applied to all themes of the Toolkit. Each module, corresponding process action, and Optimizer action carry the same prefix.

    Find module T1.1 under the Drawer 1 heading in the Modules pane


    Next, go to Actions and find the action with the same T1.1 prefix

    Third, scroll down in the Actions pane to see a listing of all the Optimizer actions

    Edit the T1.1 Optimizer action. Note how line items in the T1.1 module are referenced here

  7. Scroll through the module view for additional concepts relevant to your next build. 

    For example, Drawer 2 contains production and workforce scheduling ideas.

    Check out Drawer 3 for distribution center management (with inventory targets, pre-build orders, transfers, and backorders). If you'll be building a logistics network optimizer, Drawer 4 demonstrates how to balance lead-time offset so that outbound shipments tie with inbound receipts.

  8. Review other Optimizer problem flow diagrams in the attachments that dissect more complicated examples

    • 8A — This document explains module T1.2: starting with the problem at hand (matching customer orders with available production capacity) to the objective (minimizing total variable cost)
    • 8B — This document explains module T3.5: fulfilling monthly demand with the ability to prebuild inventory and transfer between distribution centers
    • 8C — This document explains module T.5.3: a territory & quota balancing optimizer with user-definable scoring, designed and modeled by Jess Bastiansen.  
  9. Start Optimizing!

Did you learn something new with the Toolkit? Share your experience with us!


Got feedback on this content? Let us know in the comments below.

Contributing authors: Anne-Julie Balsamo and Jess Bastiansen.