Starting Semester: Spring 2023
Assigned: Yes
Location: Atlanta

HD Supply

Client Profile


Supplies, Solutions & Savings—All From One Source

HD Supply has more than 40 years of experience supporting our customers with leadership positions in maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO). With 40+ distribution centers spread across 25 states, HD Supply provides an expansive offering of high-quality, name-brand, and proprietary products.

Our Products

From plumbing to lighting, appliances to hardware, janitorial to pool supplies, HD Supply has everything you need for today and tomorrow. Shop now and get free, next-day delivery on most orders to most areas.

Our Customers

HD Supply serves customers across the maintenance, repair, and operations market sector by delivering supplies and services needed to maintain and upgrade multifamily, hospitality, healthcare and institutional facilities. While primarily serving businesses, all consumers can set up an account and make purchases.

Project Description

HD Supply imports approximately 10,000 containers a year via our direct import supply chain to support customer needs. We spent approximately $100M in ocean freight annually to support those movements. We have an ocean carrier portfolio of approximately 8-10 companies that support the business. This varies between direct contracts and movement on the spot market (NVOCC usage). Each week the team has to forecast volume needs and allocate volume to the carriers according to contractual guidance. We are also challenged to balance between our direct carrier contracts and the spot market for any volume above original forecast or to cover rejections from our direct carriers. All of this activity is currently done manually in excel. Adherence to this contractual volume guidance is critical to hit annual budget. Identification of opportunities to move shipments on a competitive spot market rate while respecting contractual agreements could also result in savings to the organization. In a cost-conscious environment that we are in, this project helps to optimize those costs as much as possible.

This project is to build an optimization model that takes inputs such as our carrier allocation guidance, container volume projections and ocean freight rate data and produces a weekly recommendation of carrier allocations. It would be flexible enough to be able to account for prior optimization results and reoptimize as conditions change (carrier capacity, spot rate, container volumes, etc.). It would produce an output that can be passed to logistics partners at overseas locations for execution of carrier bookings. It would also pull in actual carrier booking data to compare to the original plan, identify areas of improvement and summarize savings results.

The group would partner with internal groups as well as external logistics providers to determine the best approach for this tool. It would give the students a thorough understanding of the import supply chain, an understanding of how 3rd party logistics providers support company operations and give them an opportunity to build a tool which supports financial and operational improvements.

We look forward to partnering with a Senior Design Team!


Optimization / Process improvement
Strong Communication skills
Team players
Inquisitive personality / self-starter
Problem solving through partnership with others