Haslam Professor Nominated for Highest Award for Analytics Research

February 7, 2018

Sean Willems, a professor in the Haslam College of Business, earned a spot among six finalists for the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences’ (INFORMS) Franz Edelman Award. The award recognizes the most substantial achievements improving life and work through analytics and is regarded as the highest honor in the field.

“This nomination is the direct result of partnering with a corporation that had the courage and insight to use new analytical methods I helped create, instead of following old norms,” Willems, the Haslam Chair of Supply Chain Analytics, said.

The nomination recognizes Willems’ work with Intel to optimize its inventory management. Willems helped the company create an automated target-setting system for inventory that manages $1 billion daily in finished goods. Intel implemented the system in 2014, garnering strong results: higher customer service and lower inventory levels have created $1.3 billion in gross profits.

“Often we create analytical research that shows companies the best means to approach a problem, but implementing that approach is met with resistance,” Willems said. “Intel changed their culture and management to fit the model the research revealed and they are seeing tremendous return.”

Finalists for the Edelman Award have contributed to a cumulative impact of more than $250 billion in the four decades since the award’s inception. Other 2018 nominees include innovative uses of analytics in the broadcasting, health, communication, vehicle fleet management and alternative energy industries.

The 2018 Edelman Award will be presented at the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 15-17.

For more information on the Franz Edelman award, watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lq0B6wnAbk0&feature=youtu.be.