Thursday, April 17, 2008

Making Decisions at Procter & Gamble: O.R.

Procter & Gamble (P&G), a $76 billion dollar company in annual sales, with 138,000 employees, and operating in over 80 countries, relies heavily on operations research for answer these questions and making important business decisions, such as:

  • which brand should be used for new products

  • how to choose suppliers to procure and source materials

  • how to use forecasting to deal with the factors impacting international trade and finance

  • how much inventory to store and where

  • how to keep and attract workforce talents for the company

It is obvious that OR applications in businesses can make a company very powerful, but it takes the OR talents who can talk business to do it. To quote Brenda Dietrich, an IBM fellow at IBM’s Watson Research Center:

There’s a gap between the math professionals and the nonmath executives in
many companies. The companies who have people who can walk into a business meeting and tell executives how to use OR tools are the ones who’ve got the edge. Deployment is no longer done just by the math people; analytics has become much more usable by a broader set of people within an organization.

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