Finalists Selected for the World’s Leading Operations Research and Analytics Award: 2024 INFORMS Franz Edelman Award Competition Elevates Research that is Saving Lives, Saving Money and Solving Problems

Finalist contributions include retail company product strategy, airline function optimization, fast-food chain productivity and sustainability, data-driven ferry operations, plant operations optimization and streamlined transportation for elderly and disabled citizens.

BALTIMORE, MD, January 17, 2024 – INFORMS, the largest association for the decision and data sciences, has selected six finalists for the annual Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Advanced Analytics, Operations Research and Management Science, the world’s most prestigious award for achievement in the practice of analytics and operations research (O.R.). 

For more than four decades, winners of the Edelman Award have been credited with transforming how we approach some of the world’s most complex problems. This year’s finalists show revolutionary contributions in retail product strategy, airline function optimization, fast-food chain productivity and sustainability, data-driven ferry operations, plant operation optimization and streamlined transportation for elderly and disabled citizens – proving the impact of their work can save lives, save money and solve problems. Finalists for the Edelman Award have contributed to a cumulative impact of more than $400 billion since the award’s inception and countless other nonmonetary benefits.

The finalists for the 2024 Edelman Award include:

ALDI SÜD Germany. The German organization has reshaped its national special buys strategy toward a unified pathway for managing a key product area. This method utilizes data-driven techniques, proprietary software and collective intelligence resulting in significant annual savings in the three-digit million range with a revenue of several billion euros in Germany. This strategy enhanced competitiveness, boosted profitability and reestablished their leading position in the discount market in Germany. The strategy led to significant cost savings, improved employee and customer satisfaction, and reduced waste.

American Airlines. Leveraging optimization and AI techniques, American Airlines has developed the Hub Efficiency Analytics Tool (HEAT), an industry-leading technology that helps the airline more effectively manage irregular operations during severe weather. HEAT dynamically adjusts the timings of flight departures in a coordinated fashion to ensure that passengers, crew members and aircraft keep moving when weather threatens to disrupt the flight operation. Since its deployment in 2022, HEAT has been used more than 100 times during summer months at the airline’s largest hub airports and prevented nearly 1,000 flight cancellations across the network.

McDonald’s China. McDonald’s China, the second-largest and fastest-growing market of McDonald’s, collaborates with Xiahui Logistics and Optimization Analytics Technology (OAT) to use O.R. tools for supply chain optimization. Since 2022, this effort has saved $63.75 million in supply chain investments and $8.9 million in annual transportation costs. Going forward, these tools will be fully deployed in supply chain and data platforms for continuous network optimization and comprehensive inventory planning. This strategic move supports McDonald’s China’s goal of reaching 10,000 restaurants by 2028, underscoring the supply chain’s crucial role in sustainable business growth. 

Molslinjen. Halfspace and Molslinjen partnered to develop and operate a bespoke forecasting and revenue management toolbox for data-driven operation of ferries in Denmark. The system allows for better and faster packing of vehicles in the cargo area and increasing utilization while reducing delays, fuel costs and emissions. The dynamic pricing engine for revenue management allows better set prices based on contextual information and regulatory constraints. The program was rolled out operationally in 2020 and has resulted in up to $3.2 million in yearly savings. It has also contributed to a 3% reduction in fuel costs and emissions. 

Tata Steel Limited. Tata Steel India has digitally transformed the continuous steel annealing operation in its most value-added product stream using predictive control based on advanced analytics and optimization. Developed in collaboration with IIT Bombay, this solution transformed the plant operation from its decades-old practice of manual control to automated optimal control. Systematic adoption has reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emission by 8% per ton of steel (equivalent annual savings of $2.5 million and 10,000 tons of CO2) in addition to 20% improvement in premium product quality, helping retain customers and acquire new business.

Transvision. CQM and Geodan have developed an analytics solution to improve mobility for elderly and disabled citizens in the Netherlands. These citizens are eligible for subsidized taxi rides executed by Transvision. The day-to-day planning of 3,000 to 15,000 long-distance rides has been streamlined using this analytics solution that combines the rides. It was put into practice in 2020 and there was an obvious increase in punctuality and reduced ride times. This resulted in 50% improvement in passenger satisfaction. Since its inception, 75 million driving kilometers or 7,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions have been saved.


About the Franz Edelman Award

First awarded in 1972, the prize is named in honor of Franz Edelman, who founded the Operations Research division within RCA, one of the first corporations to embed operations research as a business imperative. Previous winners of the Franz Edelman Award include Walmart (2023 winner), Government of Chile (2022 winner), U.N. World Food Programme (2021 winner), Intel (2020 winner) and Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) (2019 winner), as well as Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Holiday Retirement, UPS, IBM, Syngenta, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Hewlett-Packard and General Motors, among others. The 2024 Edelman Award will be presented at the INFORMS Analytics Conference in Orlando, Florida, on April 14-16. For more information on the Franz Edelman Award, visit



INFORMS advances and promotes the science and technology of decision-making to save lives, save money and solve problems. As the largest association for the decision and data sciences, INFORMS members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into insights that lead to more efficient, effective, equitable and impactful results. INFORMS’ 10,000+ members are comprised of a diverse and robust international community of practitioners, researchers, educators and students from a variety of fields.  




Ashley Smith


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Finalists Selected for the World’s Leading Operations Research and Analytics Award: 2024 INFORMS Franz Edelman Award Competition Elevates Research...

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