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BNSF Railway receives 2018 INFORMS Prize

BNSF Railway receives 2018 INFORMS PrizeBNSF Railway was awarded the 2018 INFORMS Prize for its pioneering and enduring integration of operations research (O.R.) and analytics programs throughout the organization. The prize was presented at the Edelman Gala held April 16 in Baltimore in conjunction with the 2018 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research.

In just 25 years – a relatively short time in the company’s 160-year history – the O.R. and advanced analytics program at BNSF has grown rapidly to transform how the company approaches problem solving. A centralized team of operations research professionals provides invaluable guidance to the company’s leadership for high-capital decisions, using a wide range of O.R. and analytic methods including advanced modeling, statistical analysis, machine learning, image analytics, algorithm design and optimization techniques.

BNSF’s O.R. and advanced analytics team drives better decision-making in every aspect involved in the management of its 32,500-mile rail network, including train routing, crew scheduling, train building, fleet sizing, train dispatching, locomotive fueling and inspections, track maintenance and equipment distribution for an annual savings of more than $110 million.

“In addition to providing essential guidance on capital intensive strategic decisions made at BNSF, our O.R. and advanced analytics team provides advisory tools and insights to almost every department, including mechanical, engineering, marketing, transportation and service design,” said Dave Freeman, executive vice president of Operations, BNSF Railway.

The INFORMS Prize honors effective integration of operations research into organizational decision-making. The award is given to organizations that have repeatedly applied the principles of O.R. in pioneering, novel and lasting ways. Past recipients of the award include Walt Disney Company, U.S. Air Force, General Motors, Intel, UPS, HP, IBM, Ford, Procter & Gamble, and GE Research.

“INFORMS is thrilled to recognize the incredible way BNSF Railway has leveraged O.R. and analytics to transform its organization,” said Melissa Moore, executive director of INFORMS. “We look forward to seeing how it continues to utilize O.R. to identify new efficiencies in the future.”

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