Sasol among finalists for Edelman Award

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Ashley Smith
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HANOVER, MD, March 26, 2010 – Sasol’s analytics team is among six finalists that will compete for the INFORMS 2010 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences in Orlando on April 19 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek.

The finalists for the competition, sponsored by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®), include:

Sasol, the South African energy and chemical company, for “Innovative Decision Support in a Petrochemical Production Environment.”

The Problem: Historically, the petrochemical industry based decisions on average production limits. This approach ignored time-based variability in production, thus requiring the addition of a design margin and more expensive production facilities.

The O.R. Solution: Stochastic simulation models were developed in direct response to a critical need to include this key factor in decision making. The brainchild of Sasol Technology’s operations research team, the models are reflective of an industry first in which production facilities have been simulated dynamically. The simulation models are used for decision support in the business cases developed for gas and liquid production facility changes, to highlight risks, and to assist strategic decision making. They are also used to analyze the impact of changing market needs, product composition, operations efficiency, operating philosophies, schedules, and proposed future projects. In addition, the models support shorter term questions on operations that ensure that production is sustained and improved.

The Value: As a major producer of fuels and chemicals, Sasol has relied on these models for the last ten years to reflect production variability. Ownership of stochastic simulation models has led to an estimated value addition for Sasol of over $230 million since 2000. Although not audited, this is in fact considered a conservative estimate because it does not account for improvements in energy efficiency, green house gas emissions, general risk reduction, and the overall understanding of Sasol’s complex and integrated systems. Sasol believes that this work has applications in the wider chemical and fuels industries and represents a major innovative step forward for Operations Research in the Chemical Engineering discipline.

The six 2010 Franz Edelman finalists are:

  1. The Delaware River Basin Commission for “Improving Water Release Policies on the Delaware River through Operations Research”
  2. Deutsche Postal DHS for “Global Brand Assessment”
  3. Indeval for “Indeval develops a new operating and settlement system using Operations Research”
  4. New Brunswick Canada Department of Transportation for “Achieving Transportation Asset Management via Operations Research”
  5. Procter & Gamble for “Inventory Optimization at Procter & Gamble: Achieving Real Benefits Through User Adoption of Inventory Tools”
  6. Sasol

This is the 39th year of the prestigious Franz Edelman competition. The winner will be announced at a special awards banquet on April 19 at Applying Science to the Art of Business: the 2010 INFORMS Conference on OR/MS Practice.

Additional information about the 2010 Edelman Competition can be found online at URL. Additional information about the INFORMS Orlando conference is at http://meetings2.informs.org/Practice2010/.

About INFORMS

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (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. The INFORMS website is www.informs.org. More information about operations research is at www.scienceofbetter.org.

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