When optimal is not enough

Currently I work with Professor Mikael Rönnqvist from Université Laval on an inventory and transportation management problem from a forest products company.  As a large scale commodity products company, much of its focus is on reducing logistics costs while improving its efficiency and service such as on-time deliveries. As such, we are developing a decision […]

Dynamic pricing horror stories

The hotel industry has accepted these principles behind revenue management and dynamic prices. Many of these dynamic pricing strategies are driven by OR- or analytics-based models, too. Too much of a good idea can turn into the opposite of the original intent. Indeed, drastic changes in prices caused by complex real-time pricing strategies can confuse […]

Uncertainty, Models, and the Chaos Out There

Future is dominated by uncertainty. In terms of supply chain management – my main field of application – it comes in terms of variation in lead times or demand levels, or in the form of severe events such as hurricanes which can severely disrupt a supply chain. Optimization can help to cope with uncertainty, but I […]

Supply chain network design in 500 words

I’ve spent more time working on supply chain network (SCN) design problems than any other. This post summarizes the topic. What is supply chain network design? SCN design is a strategic problem arising in logistics and supply chain management. Typical SCN design problems involves strategic decisions on the number, location, capacity and missions of the […]

OR/MS Forecast: Sunny days for the Cloud

Cloud computing is everywhere this year. A lot of researchers are proposed parallel algorithms for many applications. The Cloud is also quite the hype with software vendors. Gurobi, CPLEX and Sulumn, among others, have announced or are already shipping distributed computing algorithms for solving mathematical programming problems in the cloud. You can thus build your […]

Big data: good for business, threat to democracy?

The phenomenon widely referred to as Big Data may be good for business, I also see some of its applications as a potential threat to individual freedom and democracy. With the vast amount of data and metadata that some governmental agencies actively collect or have access to, this should be a cause of concern.

Three value creation models in the OR field [dual]

I a previous primal post, I have described three generic types of value creation configurations: the shop, the chain and the network, as characterized in Stabell & Fjeldstad (1998). In this post, I apply these concepts to key players in the field of Operations Research. While names used are fictional, some players may recognize themselves in […]

Three generic types of business models [primal]

Through reading Clayton Christensen’s book Disrupting Classroom, I came across Christensen’s explanation of a framework for business models developed by Charles B. Stabell and Øystein D. Fjeldstad[1].  This framework is simple yet powerful at explaining how different organizations deliver value to their customers. This primal post is rather business-generic; in the associated dual post, I will provide […]