The consulting arm of IBM has created a new tool to help companies lower their carbon dioxide emissions, fuel consumption and supply-chain costs. The Supply Chain Network Optimization Workbench (SNOW) relies on advanced mathematics to provide clients with a deeper understanding of their logistics programs. Developed by IBM's China Research Laboratory, SNOW is built on a service-oriented architecture (SOA) foundation, using WebSphere and other IBM software products. It is designed to look across five major logistics areas: Product, evaluating the CO2 emissions of materials with the goal of identifying alternatives; Sourcing, considering the impact of CO2 emissions on supplier selection; Production, determining emissions associated with manufacturing processes; Warehousing, considering storage requirements and their accompanying environmental impacts; and Transportation and Distribution, analyzing CO2 emissions for transportation modes, shipment sizes and service levels. SNOW complements IBM's Carbon Tradeoff Modeler consulting offering. It aids clients in setting strategic objectives such as determining the right number of distribution centers, and whether to do manufacturing in house or through a vendor. The Carbon Tradeoff Modeler focuses on operational details, such as which fuels to use, which supply routes are the most efficient, and how to consolidate individual shipments. Other related consulting offerings from IBM include the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Assessment and Benchmarking Utility, Green Sigma, and Environmental Product Lifecycle Management.
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