|Tags:||academics, George D. Smith prize for operations research, INFORMS, logistics, students|
By now, many people have seen the Logistics of NCAA Basketball® video spots that aired in conjunction with March Madness. The premise of these commercials was that basketball is a game of logistics, getting the ball to the right people, in the right place at the right time.
The same holds true for UPS and its customers. When a package arrives to its final destination on time, few people know – or even think about – how that successful delivery was made possible. Even fewer ponder how the same success story happens over and over again for 15 million packages each day.
The enormity of the process behind how a package gets to its final destination is so complex that UPS has an entire operations research team composed of advanced analysts, programmers and business experts to make sure the process is running as efficiently as possible and even more efficiently in the future. This field of research is described by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) as the use of techniques such as mathematical modeling to analyze complex situations, in order to give executives the power to make more effective decisions and build more productive systems.
The ideas and solutions that come out of the UPS operations research team are nothing short of magical. Utilizing sophisticated software and analytical knowledge, this team can identify scenarios to shave time and distance from already-efficient driver routes, in some cases, saving UPS millions of dollars.
Understanding the importance of the future of operations research, UPS recently announced the George D. Smith prize for operations research during the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research in Chicago. The prize will be awarded annually to an academic department or program for the effective and innovative preparation of its students into practitioners of operations research.
By supporting the future of the operations research field, UPS hopes to lead the magic behind logistics for years to come.