The Optimization Edge

A Blog for Business Executives and Advanced Analytics Practitioners

Technologies: Data Science, Big Data, Optimization, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Analytics, Forecasting

Applications: Operations, Supply Chain, Finance, Health Care, Workforce, Sales and Marketing
January 25, 2023

In November, Steve, as a guest speaker at Gurobi Days in New York City, presented a project risk management framework. Following is a lightly edited excerpt from Q&A with practitioners in the audience.

Audience Member: You said a consulting group is brought in when things are not going well. Isn’t there another situation where things are actually going OK? The organization is doing fine but executives are convinced that they can get that two‑percent improvement and millions or billions of dollars in savings and benefits.

December 15, 2022

This post is adapted from Irv’s appearance on the Alldus “AI in Action” podcast series.

These are truly exciting times for advanced analytics practitioners, whether you are launching your career or continuing to develop and implement solutions.

November 1, 2022

At the recent INFORMS Annual Meeting, I had the great pleasure to be a judge for “Doing Good with Good OR,” https://www.informs.org/Recognizing-Excellence/INFORMS-Prizes/Doing-Good-with-Good-OR-Student-Paper-Competition, the student competition that honors projects that greatly impact society. I joined the competition committee this year and will be the co-chair with Dr. Justin Boutilier in 2023.

September 23, 2022

Every year Princeton Consultants surveys executives about digital disruption and its impact on freight transportation and supply chains. In 2022, as with previous years, the largest segment of survey responders, 58 percent, were executives at transportation carriers. The other segments were: Finance, Media and Government executives, 19 percent; Shippers executives, 15 percent; and Suppliers executives, 8 percent.

August 22, 2022

The AI solution development life cycle requires very different activities. INFORMS created a Job Task Analysis through surveys of practitioners for its Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) program. The result of this study defined seven performance domains for analytics practitioners, which I view as key components of the AI solution development life cycle. In the diagram below, I group the seven domains into three groups, based on what I believe is the kind of expertise required to perform tasks in that domain.

July 19, 2022

At an e-commerce giant, customer orders are assigned throughout the day to fulfillment centers and third parties across the United States while minimizing shipment costs, observing limits on inventory, reducing split orders, and balancing workload across the fulfillment centers. The company’s data science team created an order fulfillment optimization proof of concept in Python that would significantly improve the operation. To prepare for deployment, the company’s software engineering team converted the code into Java, leveraging the Gurobi Optimizer, and created a solution that integrated with real-time data. Because of the critical nature of the operation, company leaders sought assurance that the solution would be successfully implemented and maintained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and yield the desired results.

June 14, 2022

The metaverse buzz has begun and Transportation and Logistics executives should pay attention. In fact, we think it is inevitable that the metaverse—Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)—will impact the industry in a variety of ways.

May 17, 2022

Princeton Consultants employs a 7-step methodology that improves the likelihood of success and deliverability in optimization projects. Based on our solution development and deployment for many clients in varied industries, this approach helps create useful documentation, shortens the overall development time, improves code maintainability, and provides a natural feedback loop to business requirements.

March 11, 2022

How do Advanced Analytics leaders sustain great teams, companies, and agencies? The INFORMS Practice Section conducts a webinar series, moderated by Dr. Arnie Greenland, featuring presentations and interviews with leaders of a variety of organizations. On January 21 Steve was the guest; following is a lightly edited excerpt.

February 18, 2022

Tom Cook, founding partner of Decision Analytics International and past president of Sabre Decision Technologies, is a truly remarkable operations research trailblazer in the airline industry.