General Motors awarded 2016 INFORMS Prize for Operations Research


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

General Motors awarded 2016 INFORMS Prize for Operations Research

ORLANDO, Fla., April 12, 2016  – The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®), the leading association for analytics professionals, announced that General Motors, which is using big data and advanced analytics to predict failure of certain automotive components and systems before customers are affected, is the winner of the 2016 INFORMS Prize for operations research and management science.

Industry-first Proactive Alert messages sent to customers through GM’s OnStar system covering potential issues with a vehicle’s battery, fuel pump or starter, can transform an emergency repair into planned maintenance. It is a recent example of applying operations research and management science to the most complex issues the company faces.

“Over the last seven decades, OR/MS techniques have been used to improve our understanding of everything from prognostics to traffic science and supply chain logistics to manufacturing productivity, product development and vehicles telematics and prognostics,” said Gary Smyth, executive director of GM Global R&D Laboratories. “These approaches to problem solving permeate almost everything we do.”

GM has hundreds of OR/MS practitioners worldwide who play a vital role in everything from designing, building, selling and servicing vehicles to purchasing, logistics, and quality. The team is constantly developing new business models and vetting emerging opportunities. 

Another example of management science positively impacting the business is helping to understand what products and features customers most want to create and price features and option packages that would sell best. That work extends to determine the ideal number of vehicles and which vehicle variants Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers in the U.S. should stock. In addition, advanced analytics help dealers achieve GM’s goal of creating customers for life. The company recently received the 2015 overall manufacturer loyalty award from IHS.

The impact OR/MS is now having to the business can be traced to 2007, when GM created a center of expertise for Operations Research to promote best practices and transfer new technologies.  It since has expanded to include partner teams in product development, supply chain, finance, information technology and others.  

The INFORMS Prize honors effective integration of operations research into organizational decision making. The award is given to an organization like GM that has repeatedly applied the principles of O.R. in pioneering, varied, novel, and lasting ways. Past recipients of the award include Intel, UPS, HP, IBM, Ford, Procter & Gamble, and GE Research.

More information about the INFORMS Prize is here.



With nearly 12,000 members from around the globe, INFORMS is the leading international association for professionals in analytics and operations research. INFORMS advances research and promotes best practices in analytics and operations research through an array of highly-cited publications, conferences, competitions, networking communities, and professional development services. More information about INFORMS, analytics, and operations research is available at or @informs.