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
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.

January 4, 2022

How can you replicate the hero’s journey in your organization? Here are three steps.

November 3, 2021

Before I go forward, you might be wondering, “Wait a minute. The UPS drivers, tens of thousands were planning their routes in their heads? Why? Didn't they have computers?” Well, in the hero's journey, there has to be a reason why no one before the hero has succeeded before.

September 22, 2021

What do Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz," Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, and Harry Potter have in common? They all participate in “the hero’s journey,” a term coined by Joseph Campbell, whose great book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, famously asserts that the hero’s journey has been told thousands of times through history, and it always follows the same epic steps. I’d like to feature a present‑day, real‑life hero and his journey: Mr. Jack Levis from UPS.

August 12, 2021

Once you have a working optimization prototype program that has been tested and embraced by one or more users under field conditions, it is time to roll out the program to the organization and be sure that the right people are using it daily. Because the best optimization opportunities address decisions that are made repeatedly across the organization, scaling up often means motivating and training a large group of dispersed people.

July 13, 2021

Occasionally we highlight services and solutions from outside our Optimization Practice.

A regional business insurance broker’s risk control division sought a new-generation software application and automated process to audit businesses for risk and provide mitigation recommendations. Traditionally, inspectors traveled to sites and filled out paper checklists, took many photos on digital cameras and uploaded them to a local computer, transcribed information into a web browser, exported to Word document reports which required additional manual modification and layout changes, and finally emailed the final report to clients. This process was supported by an internal software application that had become outdated, unstable, had frequent downtime, and was inadequately supported.

June 17, 2021

Buyers and sellers of software assets often require thorough due diligence performed rapidly—as little as two weeks. Technical and business skills are both critical to conduct such evaluations. If the system and its interdependencies are highly complex, advanced automated software tools assist the review. Based on assessments conducted over 40 years, Princeton Consultants has established a methodology that blends management consulting and software development expertise, as seen in two recent cases.

May 26, 2021

Following is a lightly edited excerpt of Steve’s presentation at the Joint Mathematics Meeting in January 2021, part of a special session, “Transformation Through Advanced Analytics.”

I am pleased to be speaking on the topic of The Princeton 20: the most common risk factors in implementing optimization AI into production. As we discuss project risk, the spoiler alert is: it’s usually not the math.

May 5, 2021

We define optimizing simulation as the application of optimization principles to simulation, taking it from predictive analytics to prescriptive analytics. Optimization is layered on top of inputs and a simulation to determine optimal policies, decisions, and even operating parameters based on key KPIs. This allows us to simulate environments, facilities, and different decisions that people need to make, but also to optimize those scenarios.