Modern print media are highly customized products, which efficiently appeal to lots of customer groups with well-defined contents and enclosures. The logistical management for hundreds and thousands of enclosures as well as the optimal planning of the complex production requires sophisticated algorithms, i.e. solution strategies. The corresponding specialised mathematical/IT area is called operations research.
The SCS Optimizer Game under this link visualizes the complexity of a shipping room in a playful way: enclosures for regional editions of a newspaper (lines in a table) have to be distributed to the feeding (columns of the table), in a way that best reduces the change of enclosures to the feeding (every change involves staff and time expenses). The challenge for the player lies in the manual planning of a given production (during the game, the actual as well as the minimal possible number of changes is displayed).
The tasks get harder with each level and the operating conditions change: on level 4, colour fidelity needs to be examined or, on level 5 and 6 the order of the print editions may be changed.The automated, algorithm based planning rapidly proves to be way superior compared to the manual planning (also, it is many times faster and more reliable).
The shipping room problem appears in different shapes in many other practical applications, of which some can be shown in the game: for instance, instead of enclosures that need to be associated to feeders, tools of a replaceable head of a CNC machine could be matched, baking ingredients may be distributed or the staff and vehicle demand of a pizza delivery service could be planned.
SCS gladly supports you with the development of your specific planning- and decision making tool. It always starts with an analysis of the task, in order to sort possible optimizing criteria according to their relevance and practicability. We are in constant contact with the academic world, which allows recent research results to be implemented in your project without any detours.
Contact person at SCS: Florentin Marty