Although many of the presentations at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh are very academically focused, Mark S. Daskin‘s Presidential Address Everyday Lessons from Operations Research had a lot of great lessons for those of out us in the field. The following are Mark Daskin’s Top 13 lessons from operations research:
- 13. Service Gets Worse as Utilization Increases
Think about customer service lines.
- 12. Performance Degrades as Variability Increases
… but variability can be reduced through risk pooling. Think about global sourcing.
- 11. Variability is necessary.
Relationships cannot be determined without variability.
- 10. Expect the unexpected in today’s world.
There are 300 M people in the US, which means 800 K will be at least 3 standard deviations from the mean in any study you are conducting. There are 1 B people in China, which means at least 2.7 M will be 3 standard deviations from the mean. Globally, there are over 400 K people over 4 standard deviations from the mean in any study you are conducting.
- 9. If it is too good to be true, it probably is not.
Learn from experience – and samples.
- 8. Life is full of errors.
Both Type I (false positive) and Type II (false negative) – and there is no free lunch. As you decrease one type of error, the other type of error increases – unless you want to pay for more data.
- 7. A good decision can result in a bad outcome.
C’est la vie.
- 6. If you are not using all you have, don’t pay for additional quantity.
It’s not savings if the item perishes in industry.
- 5. You can never do better by adding a constraint.
Adding a constraint can never improve the objective function – that’s optimization.
- 4. Keep it Simple
- 3. Think about problem formulation
- What do you know?
- What do you need to decide?
- What do you need to achieve?
- What inhibits you?
- 2. Look for compromise solutions
Sometimes optimal is not good enough – do a tradeoff and robustness analysis before accepting a solution since your optimal solution may be very susceptible to change.
- 1. Data is not information.