With another season of Game of Thrones set to premier this week, it seemed interesting for us as supply chain specialists to think about what kinds of supply chain challenges the Iron Throne is facing at this point in the story and how it is similar to the real world. In our work, we see so many systemic problems that are created by the complexity of supply chain operations, and when it comes to the problems in Westeros, we see many similarities.
Westeros clearly has some management issues, what with the high turnover in various important positions, and they seem to be racking up debt at an incredible pace in order to keep fighting wars on multiple fronts and (attempt to) keep everyone happy in King' Landing. At some point, the throne needs to stop hemorrhaging gold and start managing the kingdom properly!
The root of the problem is that the throne cannot get food into King's Landing because the main farmlands in Westeros are torn asunder by war. With ...view middle of the document...
Additional inventory is the simplest answer, and sometimes the right call despite the cost, but alternate transportation methods and routing can also help alleviate supply issues with sole-sourced goods. We've recently seen this in action with the work stoppages at the Port of Los Angeles; companies were forced to find alternate routing for goods that would normally come through LA. As with any product, your inventory is dependent on your supply. If your fertile lands are destroyed by war, inventory is eventually going to run out. So it is imperative to put resources to farm more in the parts that are not in the line of war.
As with the real world, there isn't necessarily a great option for the Iron Throne, but they should look at mitigating some of their supply issues by finding some alternate sources and transportation. Perhaps alternate source can be their allies in Dorne, all the way in the south of Westeros, and one alternate way of sending some food is by the seas and avoid the fighting in the interior lands.
If they were to hire OPS Rules, we would try to
1. Model their entire supply network as a network design problem to answer the strategic questions like alternate sourcing, total landed cost and bottlenecks etc,
2. Model their inventory as a multi-echelon inventory optimization problem to manage their inventory as well as answer all the tactical day to day questions regarding inventory which is very relevant for them because of the reduction of supply in one hand and decreasing inventory on the other hand.
3. Analyze the transportation tradeoffs by designing a routing problem to come up with the optimal routing solutions given all the limitations they have to deal with to move resources and food to King’s Landing.
4. Risk exposure at each of the nodes in the supply chain by doing what if scenarios of all the critical disruptions in the modeled network. It is an answer to the strategic as well as day to day problem of maintaining the right inventory to cover for the most critical disruptions especially the current wars in westeros.