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Track 11 - Logistics and Transportation Solutions

Click the title for an abstract of the talk and information about the presenter:


Tuesday, May 2 – 9:10-10:00am
The Benefits of Optimization in an E-Retailing Environment
Russell J. Allgor, PhD
Chief Scientist, Supply Chain,

Amazon’s retail environment permits rapid exposure of new products to a large existing customer base, which enables growth. However, this expansion places additional requirements on business processes, physical infrastructure and software systems. Effectively meeting these new requirements provides a challenge for optimization techniques. In this talk, Allgor will describe a requirement arising through product expansion, and explain the optimization techniques and software system that enabled the business to scale while reducing inventory.

Russell Allgor is the Chief Scientist of amazon’s supply chain group where he leads a small team of mathematical modeling experts. His team focuses on using modeling, simulation and optimization methods to improve the efficiency of amazon’s operations. Prior to joining in 2000, Allgor worked in the applied R&D department for Bayer AG in Leverkusen, Germany, working on the design and optimization of batch processes. His career also includes three years at Air Products and Chemicals working in process simulation and process design. He received a PhD in chemical engineering from MIT, where his research focused the modeling and optimization of discrete continuous dynamic systems. He holds a BS in chemical engineering from Princeton University

Tuesday, May 2 – 10:30-11:20am
Package Flow Technologies at UPS
Jack Levis
Director of Package Process Management, UPS

UPS delivers more than 13 million packages daily through its vast delivery network. Package Flow Technologies is part of a process redesign that optimizes the last mile of that network. This award winning suite of tools is designed to improve customer service and provide greater internal efficiency through optimization, simplification of work, and training. This will allow UPS to improve customer service, offer new products, and reduce the mileage driven by all of its delivery trucks by more than 100 million miles each year. The talk will explain this breakthrough technology in its current state as well as future plans. It will focus on the challenges encountered in its development and deployment and highlight how operations research was integrated into the process from the beginning.

Jack Levis, Project Portfolio Manager at UPS, is responsible for providing operational technology solutions. The projects that his group manages have reengineered current systems in an effort to streamline processes and maximize productivity. Under his direction, UPS has completed integration of multiple operations systems, requiring extensive system engineering and usability provisions. These systems ultimately synchronize the flow of data throughout UPS, allowing the seamless movement of goods, funds and information. Levis has been the business owner, process designer, and project manager for UPS’s award winning Package Flow Technology suite of systems. That suite of tools and process redesign has been a breakthrough change for UPS.

Levis’s current role is a natural progression from his prior positions. Since joining UPS in 1976, as a package sorter, he has worked as a manager in multiple operations, an engineering section manager, and region transportation planner. In his position as region planning manager, Levis was responsible for the redesign of the Pacific Region transportation plan, resulting in UPS saving of over $30 million per year. Having earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from California State University Northridge, he also holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University.

Tuesday, May 2 – 11:30am-12:20pm
Analysis Under A Looking Glass: 2005 Army BRAC
Robert Dell, PhD, Associate Professor of OR, Naval Postgraduate School
William Tarantino, PhD, Associate Dean, Naval Postgraduate School

Your answer will cost tens of billions of dollars, relocate a hundred thousand people, put tens of thousands out of work, generate thousands of new jobs, and you anticipate microscopic scrutiny by the press and every branch of government. This demands scrupulous, transparent, defendable analysis and exposition of results. In this session, Dell and Tarantino will recount how a multi-year United States Army analysis led to its 2005 base realignment and closure decisions. Despite controversy, the significant impact of the decisions, and intense political pressure, the President’s 2005 Independent Base Realignment and Closure Commission accepted almost all of the Army’s recommendations.

Robert F. Dell is an Associate Professor of Operations Research at the Naval Postgraduate School. Since 1990, he has taught and applied optimization to a variety of military problems and received continuous support for Army Base Realignment and Closure. He has received research support from every uniformed service for topics ranging from naval capital planning to Coast Guard cutter scheduling. He has also applied optimization in the private sector in areas ranging from production scheduling to supply chain design. Dell’s research appears in many open literature publications. He recently received an Army Payne Award for excellence in operations research that is part of this presentation.

Colonel William Tarantino is the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Operational and Informational Sciences, Naval Postgraduate School. As an Army operations research analyst for the past 16 years, he has applied optimization, decision analysis, simulation, and other operations research methods to stationing, deployment, capital budgeting, and other military problems. Tarantino served as the Modeling Team Chief for the Army’s Total Army Basing Study, the body responsible for the 2005 Army Base Realignment and Closure. He is an INFORMS Edelman Award winner and has received two Army Payne Awards for excellence in operations research.

Tuesday, May 2 – 3:10-4:00pm
Air Mobility Analysis, Assessments and Lessons Learned in the Global War on Terror Era
David Merrill, MS
Chief, AMC Studies and Analysis Division, U.S. Air Force

Air Mobility Command (AMC), the air component of US Transportation Command, has been challenged since the events of 9-11 to transform in the wake of a "perfect storm" of recapitalization needs, Department of Defense (DOD) budget pressures and increased operational tempos and risk. The transformation needed comes from focused efforts to rethink organization, concepts of operations and new technologies that will contribute to generating enhanced war-fighting effects and meet demands in continuously changing security environments. Decisions in an environment of dramatic global change must be credibly informed by analysis, assessments and lessons learned. This is the story of AMC transformation and some of the operations research insights that pave the way to saving lives, responding to crises, modernizing force structure with tightly constrained DOD budgets.

David Merrill is the Director of the Analysis, Assessments, and Lessons Learned Directorate (AMC/A9), Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base. The directorate is responsible for providing AMC and higher headquarters leadership with an analytical framework for decisions on air mobility operations and policy. Building teams from across the DOD, the directorate develops and uses sophisticated computer modeling, simulation and mathematical techniques to assess the impact of decision alternatives on the Global Transportation Network.

Merrill earned his BS degree in Management Science (operations research) in 1976 from the U.S. Air Force Academy and three MS degrees in Computer Information Systems (1987: Golden Gate University), Operations Research (1989: Air Force Institute of Technology), and Strategic Studies (2002: Air War College). Merrill was commissioned as an Air Force second lieutenant in June 1976 and earned Command Pilot wings with over 3,000 hours in T-37s, T-38s, C-140s, MU-2s, and C-12s before coming to the Military Airlift Command in 1989. He transitioned to his civilian career as Air Mobility Command’s senior analyst in 1994.

Tuesday, May 2 – 4:10-5:00pm
2005 INFORMS Prize Winner
Delivering Results: Operations Research at Air Products
Andrew Bringhurst, MS
Manager, Decision Sciences, Air Products

The operations research function has existed at Air Products for almost 40 years. The group has a history of successfully providing analysis and implementing OR solutions in all the company’s major business areas and many of the enabling corporate functions. The team operates as an internal consulting group partnering closely with key business decision makers. The operations research tools and models developed by this team are being used in planning, manufacturing and distribution activities around the world. The success of the team has also been recognized externally as the recipient of the 1983 TIMS Management Science Achievement Award (predecessor of the Edelman Prize) and the 2005 INFORMS Prize. This presentation will review the evolution of the group and identify key factors that have contributed to its success.

Andrew Bringhurst is a Manager in the Decision Sciences group at Air Products where he has been employed for 17 years. His focus has been on the application of OR techniques to real-world supply chain problems, especially in the areas of distribution scheduling, demand forecasting, inventory policy, resource allocation and business analytics. He has been an invited speaker at several conferences and universities. Bringhurst received MS and BS degrees in Industrial Engineering with an emphasis on Operations Research from Lehigh University. He participates on the INFORMS Roundtable and currently serves as a member of the 2006 INFORMS Prize Committee.