Jeppesen Sanderson wins operations research prize

May 24, 2000

Jeppesen Sanderson's success at increasing production efficiency and reducing costs was a key factor in its selection as winner of the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences. The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) presented the award earlier this month to the aviation information company for a project entitled "Flexible Planning and Technology Management at Jeppesen Sanderson, Inc."

"The operations research models used by Jeppesen Sanderson allowed the company to strengthen its competitive position and increase operating profits," said Russ Labe of Merrill Lynch Private Client Group, chair of the award committee. The company, which manufactures and distributes flight manuals for over 300,000 pilots, saw its customer service deteriorate in 1997 when its work volume grew to the point that it overwhelmed its production system. In response, the company established an operations research department and a suite of optimization-based decision support tools. Two years later, the company realized annual cost reductions of $3 million and projects future annual savings of $7 million. Late orders went from 35% to zero.

The six finalists for the award, all of whom were recognized by the prize committee, are IBM, Air New Zealand, Fingerhut, the Federal Aviation Administration, Ford Motor, and the winner.

This is the 29th year that the prestigious $15,000 competition has been held. The award is jointly sponsored by INFORMS and CPMS, the Practice Section of INFORMS.

The INFORMS Edelman Award recognizes outstanding implemented work that has had a significant, positive impact on the performance of the client organization. The top finalist receives a $10,000 first prize.
The judges of the Edelman competition were Russ Labe; Joseph Discenza, Wagner & Associates; Howard Finkelberg, BBDO; H. Newton Garber, Garber Associates; Stephen C. Graves, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Yoshiro Ikura, Saitech; Peter C. Bell, University of Western Ontario; and Donald Smith, Lucent Technologies.

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is an international scientific society with 12,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, the stock market, and telecommunications. The INFORMS website is at

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

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