The Franz Edelman competition attests to the contributions of operations research and analytics in both the profit and non-profit sectors. Since its inception, cumulative benefits from Edelman finalist projects has topped the $240 billion mark. Edelman finalist teams have improved organizational efficiency, increased profits, brought better products to consumers, helped foster peace negotiations, and saved lives. The purpose of the Franz Edelman competition is to bring forward, recognize and reward outstanding examples of operations research, management science, and advanced analytics in practice in the world.

Finalists will compete for the top prize in this “Superbowl” of O.R. practice, showcasing analytics projects that had major impacts on their client organizations. The competition takes place on Monday, April 3 and is open to all conference registrants.

American Red Cross with Georgia Tech

American Red Cross Uses Analytics-based Methods to Improve Blood Collection Operations

The American Red Cross, in partnership with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, have developed a blood collection model to increase the amount of whole blood that can be processed into the blood product cryoprecipitate (cryo). Cryo plays a critical role in clotting and controlling hemorrhaging, and is often used in the treatment of massive trauma and major diseases, including metastasized cancers, cardiac diseases, hepatic failures, and organ transplants. After reviewing blood collecting and processing schedules, collection locations, and other factors, the researchers developed a mathematical model and analysis that led to a Decision Support Tool (DST) implemented by the Red Cross Southern Region. The implementation of the DST led to an increase in the number of whole blood units satisfying the tight collection to process completion time constraint for cryo production (capacity expansion). In particular, during the fourth quarter of 2016, the Red Cross Southern Region was able to process about 1000 more units of cryo per month (an increase of 20 percent) at a slightly lower collection cost (cost avoidance), resulting in an approximately 40 percent reduction in the per unit collection cost for cryo. This DST has been presented at the national level at the Red Cross, and plans are in place to extend the implementation of the DST to the 11 other Red Cross cryo processing facilities in the future.


Implementation of platform-based product development at Barco

We guided the implementation of platform-based product development at Barco, a high-tech screen producing company. Although the concept of platforms is well known in automotive, its implementation is not straightforward. We developed several decision support models to analyze the value of standardization and platforms, the optimal number of platforms to be developed, and when platforms should be renewed over time.

BHP Billiton

The DICE simulation model unlocks significant value for a large greenfield mining project

BHP Billiton’s greenfield potash mining project will establish a foundation for its entry into bulk fertilizer commodities. Our clean slate approach fully integrated a broad and complex scope of underground mining, ore processing, and outbound logistics. During the pre-feasibility phase, the project sought higher returns from lower capital expenditures (capex), lower operating expenditures (opex), and higher production capacity. Competitive advantage in these value drivers was derived from innovative advanced modelling. DICE – a Detailed Integrated Capacity Estimate model – was created using discrete event simulation techniques. Using DICE, we worked with the Engineering Services provider, concerned with capex, and the Owner’s Operations team, concerned with opex, to perform holistic trade-offs to maximize the project’s return on investment. In the pre-feasibility study, this collaborative approach delivered a significant capacity increase with no capex impact, which added more than $100 million to the project’s net present value (NPV).

GE with Norfolk Southern

A Novel Movement Planning Algorithm for Dispatching Trains

General Electric (GE) has partnered with Norfolk Southern (NS) railroad to develop and implement a novel movement-planning algorithm to dispatch trains over a rail network. NS currently uses this algorithm to improve its average line of road velocity by over 10% and save over $400 million per year. GE is currently implementing this algorithm at two other railroads and is in talks to implement it at several other railroads in the US and abroad.

Holiday Retirement with Prorize, LLC

Revenue Management Provides Double-digit Revenue Lift for Holiday Retirement

Revenue Management (RM) is a business discipline leveraging management science and information technology to drive bottom-line profitability.  Holiday Retirement, the largest private owner and operator of independent living communities for seniors in the United States with over $1 billion annual revenue, has changed their pricing process completely using advanced revenue management algorithms starting 2011 and achieved a revenue lift of over 10% since they deployed the application in 2014.

New York City Department of Transportation with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The Off-Hours Delivery Project in New York City

As part of the off-hours delivery (OHD) project, the team designed and implemented incentives to induce receivers to accept deliveries in the off-hours (7PM to 6AM). The ensuing change of the delivery times enable supply chains to switch to the off-hours to benefit from increased productivity and lower costs; while enhancing safety, sustainability, and fostering livability and quality of life. Operations Research and Management Science (OR/MS) played a central role in the design of the incentives and the implementation; leading to its acceptance as official policy of the City of New York and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT).