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Analytics Magazine

INFORMS Practice Conference – Analytics: The New Competitive Advantage

Spring 2008


The famous Inner Harbor will provide the backdrop for INFORMS Practice Conference in Baltimore.

The famous Inner Harbor will provide the backdrop for INFORMS Practice Conference in Baltimore.

How do you deploy the power of analytics for competitive advantage? That question is expected to draw more than 500 analytic professionals – both practitioners and academics – to the 2008 INFORMS spring conference on “Applying Science to the Art of Business.” Attendees will come to learn from the best practices of executives and analysts from organizations such as P&G, Schneider National, JCPenney, Intel, Pepsi, U.S. Army, The World Bank, UPS, Pitney Bowes, FAA, Mayo Clinic, HP and over 60 more.Well-known academic speakers from schools such as Stanford, Northwestern, Penn State, UNC and others will provide training on strategy and O.R. methodologies.

The 2008 INFORMS Practice Conference will be held April 13-15 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, set on the edge of the city’s famous Inner Harbor, just steps from restaurants, shops and museums. It’s a perfect location for this high-intensity meeting that has become known for high-quality presentations, structured networking opportunities, innovative programs for young researchers and graduate students, and indepth methodology and software training.

Workshops on Technology and “Soft Skills”

New this year is a Soft Skills Workshop, being held as a pre-conference program on Sunday, April 13. Attendees can choose a half-day or full-day course on the interpersonal and group facilitation skills needed to work effectively with business decision-makers and those who implement analytics solutions. Other pre-conference workshops on Sunday will be offered by leading software companies and feature introductory and advanced training in technology solutions.

The Franz Edelman Competition is a highlight of the meeting. Six finalists will demonstrate their applications of high-impact analytics during the day on Monday (see accompanying story), with the 2008 winner announced at a gala awards ceremony and banquet that evening. Admission to the banquet is included in the conference registration fee. This year for the first time, the winner of the INFORMS Prize will also be announced. The INFORMS Prize is awarded annually to the company that effectively integrates analytics into organizational decision-making and has repeatedly applied O.R. principles in novel and lasting ways.

From Analyst to CEO

Christopher lofgren, CEO of Schneider National, will open the conference on Monday morning with a plenary talk on “Making the Transition from Analyst to CEO.” Holder of a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech, Lofgren began his career as a supply chain analyst and later took the steps into management as VP, CIO and COO at Schneider, the largest truckload carrier in North America. Lofgren will reveal how his perspective on the value of analytics has changed as he made that transition.

On Tuesday, the morning plenary will reprise the 2008 winning Edelman presentation. In the afternoon, Edward Kaplan, Professor of Management Sciences, Public Health and Engineering at Yale University, will describe some “Adventures in Modeling.” An elected member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academies, Kaplan’s research has been reported in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, as well as in numerous professional journals.

Real-World Applications

The conference program incorporates more than 80 sessions in eight tracks each day, including these focus areas: supply chain management, deploying analytics, health care applications, managing uncertainty, public policy and military, and decision analysis (see accompanying story). A 21-member council of practitioners and academics, chaired by Karl Kempf, Director of Decision Technologies at Intel, identified topics and invited speakers to address those topics.

Additional select presentations were chosen through a rigorous submission and review process.“We hope the program overall provides attendees with a cross-industry view of high-impact analytics applications in the real world, along with some skill-building tutorials and software training,”Kempf says.

Two special programs are designed for young researchers and graduate students nominated by department chairs or senior managers. The Young Researcher Connection provides junior faculty and young industry professionals with new perspectives into critical problems facing industry. The INFORMS Professional Colloquium offers career guidance to master’s and Ph.D. students who are interested in practice careers.

Analytics readers can register for a conference at a discounted rate of $820. Click here and use password:Analytics12. For continuing updates on the meeting, go to:; 800-343-0062 or 401-722-2595; meetings@informs. org. Early hotel reservations are advised since rooms in the INFORMS block at the Marriott Waterfront may sell out before the cut-off date of March 14.


Supply Chain Management with “OR Inside”
• Procter & Gamble – William Tarlton, Supply Chain R&D Manager, Personal Beauty Care, on implementing inventory optimization in consumer packaged goods.
• Pepsi Bottling Group – Arzum Akkas, Senior Project Manager, Supply Chain Technology, on retail out-of-stock reduction in a direct store delivery environment.
• Penn State University – Terry Harrison, Professor of Business, Supply Chain & Information Systems, and Thomas Robbins, Instructor, S. C. & Info. Systems, on the emerging science of service management.
• Xilinx – Alex Brown, Principal Engineer & Supply Chain Architect, on using demand information to improve forecasting and supply chain performance.
• IBM – Markus Ettl, Manager of Supply Chain Analytics & Architecture, IBM Research, and Blair Binney, Manager of Demand/Supply Planning Process Transformation, IBM Integrated Supply Chain, on improving distributor and IBM performance in the supply chain.
• University of North Carolina – Brian Tomlin, Assistant Professor of Operations, Technology and Innovation Management, on supply chain risk management.

Theories of Practice: Deploying Analytics
• UPS, HP, P&G, AT&T – High-level panel on how internal analytics is funded within enterprises. Glenn Wegryn, Associate Director of Global Analytics, P&G; Jack Levis, Director of Package Process Management, UPS; Sam Parker, Executive Director of Research, Quantitative Analysis & Systems, AT&T; Shailendra Jain, HP Solutions & Service. Moderator: Zahir Balaporia, Director of Decision Engineering, Schneider National.
• Pitney Bowes – Rungson Samroengraja, Vice President, New Product Development, on building better business models.
• ILOG – Jean Pommier, Vice President, Methodology, on ILOG’s methodology for implementation of decision-support systems.
• INFORMS Prize Winner – The company that receives the 2008 INFORMS Prize will describe their work in effectively integrating analytics into organizational decision making.

OR Applications in Health Care
• Univ. of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – Scott B. Cantor, Associate Professor, Dept. of Biostatistics, on decision analysis in medicine.
• Mayo Clinic – Mark J. Hayward, Vice Chair, Facilities & Systems Support, and Associate Administrator, Outpatient Operations, on applications of OR approaches at the Mayo Clinic.
• CHS Medical – Mel Hall, Chairman and CEO, on workforce health management and health risk analysis.
• RTI International – Stephanie R. Earnshaw, Global Head of Health Economics US, and Stephen M. Beard, Global Head, Health Economics and European Operations, on supporting reimbursement of pharmaceuticals.
• George Mason University– Ariela Sofer, Professor and Chair, Systems Engineering & OR, on OR in cancer treatment.

Analytics for Government, Military and Public Policy
• The World Bank – Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist, South Asia, on the role of general equilibrium models in national and international policy making.
• US Army and AT&T – Col. Kent Miller, Chief, Army Manpower Strength Analysis & Forecasting, US Army HQDA, DCS-G1, and Judith Kerbel, AT&T, on producing the active Army military manpower program.
• US Dept. of Agriculture, Economic Research Services – Neil Conklin, Director, on models for policy design and analysis in agriculture.
• International Resources Group – Gary Goldstein, Senior Manager, energy and strategic planning in a carbon-constrained world.
• Texas A&M – Bruce A. McCarl, Regents Professor of Agricultural Economics, on modeling for government policy analysis.
• US Army, Center for Army Analysis – LTC Robert D. Bradford, OR Analyst, on the Army Reserve stationing study.

Managing Uncertainty
• Intel – Jay W. Hopman, Researcher/Strategic Analyst, on managing demand risk using forecasting markets.
• InfoLogix – Douglas A. Samuelson, President, and Principal Decision Scientist, Serco, on managing competing risks.
• Land O’Lakes – Jim Williams, Manager, Operations Research, on continuous improvement for demand planning.
• Applied Quantitative Sciences – Michael A. Kubica, President, on applying simulation to align supply chains with consumer demand for novel products.
• George Mason University – Robin Hanson, Associate Professor of Economics and Research Associate, Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, on prediction markets and OR.

Applying Decision Analysis Tools
• Innovative Decisions Inc.– Kenneth P. Kuskey, Senior Principal, on a framework and scalable process of deliberative decision analysis.
• CH2M Hill – Daniel R. Pitzler, Consulting Economist, Decision Analysis, on decision analysis applications in local government.
• Strata Decision Technology – Don N. Kleinmuntz, Executive VP & CFO, and Professor, USC, on resource allocation models for terrorism risk management.
• Decision Strategies Inc. – Patrick Leach, Engagement Leader, and author of Why Can’t You Just Give Me the Number?, on the battle against Bayesian amnesia.
• Kromite – Homie Razavi, Senior Partner, on pharmaceutical industry DA from a consultant’s viewpoint.
• Innovative Decisions Inc.– Dennis M. Buede, Executive Vice President, on making product development (system design) decisions with DA.

Methodology Tutorials
• Probability Management – Sam Savage, Consulting Professor, Management Science & Engineering, Stanford University.
• Open Source Solvers and OR – Brady Hunsaker, Software Engineer, Google.
• Nonlinear Complementarity and Extensions – Michael C. Ferris, Professor of Computer Sciences and Industrial & Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin.
• Urban Network Design – Hani S. Mahmassani, Patterson Distinguished Chair of Transportation, Northwestern University.
• Reverse Supply Chains: Maximize Value Recovery for Product Returns – Daniel Guide, Associate Professor, Operations & Supply Chain Management, Pennsylvania State University.
• System Dynamics – Jim Hines, Senior Consultant, Ventana Systems; President, System Dynamics Society.
• Achieving Optimal Solution Performance – Bjarni Kristjansson, President, Maximal Software.
• The Art of Modeling – Jeffrey D. Camm, Professor and Department Head, Quantitative Analysis and Operations Management, University of Cincinnati.
• Designing Distribution Networks Using Simulation and Optimization – Thomas Cartwright, Sr. Manager, Logistics Planning Strategy & Analytics, JCPenney.


Six finalists will compete for the top prize in the 2008 Edelman Competition, the “super bowl” of O.R. practice, showcasing analytics projects that had major impacts on their client organizations. The competition takes place April 14 at the INFORMS Practice Conference and is open to all conference registrants. That evening, the six finalists will be honored and the 2008 winner announced at a gala awards ceremony and banquet. In addition, the winner of the 2008 INFORMS Prize, a company that effectively integrates analytics into organizational decision-making, will also be announced.


  • City of Stockholm, Sweden – “O.R. Improves Quality and Efficiency in Home Health Care”
  • StatoilHydro and Gassco – “Optimizing the Offshore Pipeline System for Natural Gas in the North Sea”
  • Federal Aviation Agency with Metron Aviation and The Volpe Center, U.S. Department of Transportation – “Airspace Flow Programs”
  • Netherland Railways – “The New Dutch Timetable: The O.R. Revolution”
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – “Reducing Security Risks in American Drinking Water Systems”
  • Xerox – “LDP Lean Document Production®: Dramatic Productivity Improvements for the Printing Industry”



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INFORMS Computing Society Conference
Jan. 6-8, 2019; Knoxville, Tenn.

INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research
April 14-16, 2019; Austin, Texas

INFORMS International Conference
June 9-12, 2019; Cancun, Mexico

INFORMS Marketing Science Conference
June 20-22; Rome, Italy

INFORMS Applied Probability Conference
July 2-4, 2019; Brisbane, Australia

INFORMS Healthcare Conference
July 27-29, 2019; Boston, Mass.

2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting
Oct. 20-23, 2019; Seattle, Wash.

Winter Simulation Conference
Dec. 8-11, 2019: National Harbor, Md.


Advancing the Analytics-Driven Organization
Jan. 28–31, 2019, 1 p.m.– 5 p.m. (live online)


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