Case Studies

We’re currently looking for more case studies. A case study presents an example where OR has been applied in practice and is a good way to showcase what we can use OR for. If you are a member of the group and would like to send in your own case study this are the instructions:

A Case Study text should include:
A title that tells what sort of problems (from a practical perspective) that are solved.
A contact person.
A link to more information (can just be your company or so if no specific page exists about it).
Body text that is approximately 1000 characters (including spaces) that describes what have been done.

And if you are not intrigued enough by the case studies below we can also recommend the “Impact Magazine” that continuously delivers new interesting article on where OR have made an impact.

Sport scheduling:

Sport directly or indirectly affects the lives of millions of people around the world. For professional federations, the quality of the schedules strongly affects their financial turnover (media revenue, sales at stadiums, ticket sales etc.). For non-professional tournaments, it affects the distribution of games, tournament length, travelling distances, associated costs etc. Scheduling sport competitions is a hard combinatorial optimisation problem, studied at length by researchers, at least for some problem variants. Most end-users resort to manual scheduling. In 2005, SINTEF’s optimisation developed CupCom for Profixio AS. This is an optimisation engine for tournament scheduling, which last year scheduled around 150,000 matches of handball, football and volleyball in Norway and Sweden. We have also been helping the Norwegian Football Federation with scheduling their top professional leagues since 2007.

Contact Person: Tomas Erik Nordlander

Liquid gas distribution:

Air Liquide serves over 3 million customers and patients worldwide. In 2015, trucks delivering Air Liquide liquid gases and gas cylinders to industrial customers traveled 426 million kilometers throughout the world. To improve operational efficiency and decrease the environmental impact of this transportation, Air Liquide uses advanced tools for scheduling and planning. R&D Computational & Data Sciences Lab continues to enhance their performances leveraging knowledge in the Operations Research (OR) field including new forecasting algorithms and optimization techniques. The Inventory Routing Problem (IRP) combining routing decisions with customer selection, delivery timing and volumes is one of the most challenging problem to solve in the OR community. The specificities of the Air Liquide IRP problem add richness and complexity to the highly respected ROADEF/EURO challenge oragnized by the European and French OR scientific societies, specified and sponsored by Air Liquide in 2016.

Contact Person: Jean André

Production scheduling for oil and gas production:

Production schedules are key enablers of success for businesses across the manufacturing industry.  For many companies in the continuous process industries (oil and gas exploration and processing, petrochemicals, mining, minerals and metals), however, production schedules are created through a surprisingly low-tech approach: Humans working manually with spreadsheets.
Honeywell Process Solutions used optimisation as the foundation of an automated, cutting-edge scheduling solution to market and sell to process manufacturers that can lead to millions in dollars of savings.  Use cases include crude-oil, marine and pipeline scheduling, refinery crude oil scheduling and optimisation, process unit scheduling, blend scheduling and optimization, and product distribution to terminals.

Contact Person: David Wright

Asset utilisation and maintenance in chemical plants:

Shell has used optimisation to plan asset utilisation and maintenance requirements of their plants while improving plant stability and profitability.  Calculations are performed in real-time and provide the optimal recommended actions for every situation, balancing numerous constraints and objectives.  After the system calculates the best actions, the onsite team interacts with a visual tool that gives them the control and flexibility to explore trade-offs and make the best possible decisions for the plant.

Contact Person: David Wright

Financial services in car industry:

For Toyota Financial Services (TFS), which provides auto financing to more than four million US customers, debt collection historically had been an ongoing challenge.  Heavy-handed approaches meant that people could suffer credit score damage or lose their cars entirely; on the flip side, uncollected debt would hurt the bottom line.
TFS turned to a collections treatment solution powered by optimisation and predictive models to infuse statistical and predictive modelling, forecasting, advanced segmentation and optimisation into a single framework to simulate multiple scenarios and deploy the optimal strategy into production.  The bottom line was quick ROI that kept thousands of customers in their cars and allowed TFS to grow their portfolio without adding collections headcount.

Contact Person: David Wright

Airline operations optimisation:

Southwest Airlines connects people to what’s important in their lives by carrying more than 100 million passengers a year to 93 domestic and international destinations.  Southwest was seeking ways to improve customer experience, enhance employee engagement and streamline operations to maximize revenue as the company grows and expands into new markets.

Southwest has successfully implemented optimization projects across the airline — from fuel purchasing and airplane provisioning to crew planning and ground operations — and the optimization team has more projects in the works.

Contact Person: David Wright

Pricing for financial products:

Banks have become increasingly competitive with pricing to protect their market share.  Unfortunately, these pricing strategies often lead to reduced margins and higher risk.  The key is to find a good balance between high profitability and low risk.
Česká Spořitelna wanted to combat aggressive pricing by competitors, which was cutting into the bank’s market share.  The bank’s analysis showed that it could increase the absolute portfolio profit (APP) of pre-approved cash loans by identifying the optimal offer price and initial credit limit for each individual borrower, based on their risk profile, loan appetite, price sensitivity and personal wealth.
When the bank’s analysts tested optimised scenarios they estimated a 22% increase in APP and a 25% increase in new sales compared with the prior strategy for pre-approved limits.  This is forecast to add $16 million in portfolio profit per year and $41 million in new sales.

Contact Person: David Wright