Ford Motor Named 2013 INFORMS Prize Winner, Best Company of the Year in Analytics, Operations Research


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

SAN ANTONIO, TX, April 8, 2013 – The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) today announced the award of its annual INFORMS Prize to Ford Motor Company, the automaker that has been using analytics throughout its organization to strengthen its  position within the American automotive industry.

The ceremony takes place at the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio.

INFORMS, a professional society for specialists in operations research and analytics, recognizes just one outstanding organization with this prize every year. By awarding the 2013 INFORMS Prize to Ford, INFORMS brings awareness to the outstanding, system-wide use of analytics and operations research (O.R.) in every facet of the company.

“Analytics and operations research was a major enabler of our turnaround and our ongoing success as a data-driven company," said Bob Shanks, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Ford Motor Company. "Receiving the INFORMS prize is recognition of the significant role and impact of analytics at Ford.  I am delighted to receive the award on behalf of Ford and our talented and hard-working analytics team.” 
In bestowing the award, the INFORMS Prize Committee wrote that “Ford not only perfected the moving assembly line but also brought O.R., management science, and financial discipline to the company early on, helping to transform it into a data-driven and successful modern organization.”

Ford’s focus on data-driven decisions was reinforced with the arrival in 2006 of CEO Alan Mulally, who guided the company’s restructuring. Analytical tools and the operations research team supported many decisions in this period, and a number of critical applications were developed:

  • a dealer vehicle recommendation system
  • a detailed econometric model enabling the study of what-if analyses of inventory, production, pricing, and sales
  • a strategic sourcing model to restructure the Ford auto interiors division

Analytics and O.R. form a large, important, and vital activity in Ford, with hundreds of practitioners on three continents. Analytics is applied in Marketing and Sales, Ford Credit, Product Development, Corporate Economics, Human Resources, Material Planning and Logistics, and a number of other organizations within the company. Its impact is measured not only in a significant revenue increase that analytics applications enable, but also in the major strategic and tactical decisions it supports.

The committee characterized the level of engagement by senior executives and support of the analytics work inside the company as “impressive.”

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences annually awards the INFORMS Prize for effective integration of operations research into organizational decision making. The award is given to an organization, like Ford, 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, Procter & Gamble, and GE Research.

More information about the INFORMS Prize is here.

Analytics is the scientific process of transforming data into insight for making better decisions. It is closely allied with operations research, the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.


The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is the leading professional association for professionals in advanced analytics. INFORMS is an international scientific society with 10,000 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, financial engineering, and telecommunications. INFORMS serves the scientific and professional needs of operations research analysts, experts in analytics, consultants, scientists, students, educators, and managers, as well as their institutions, by publishing a variety of journals that describe the latest research in operations research. Further information about INFORMS, analytics, and operations research is at