The collaborative, supply chain-wide optimization efforts of TNT Express, ORTEC and Tilburg University have been awarded the 2012 Franz Edelman Award for its successful application of Operations Research in supply chain optimization. The use of Operations Research (applied mathematics for decision making) to analyze and enhance its transportation networks has allowed TNT Express to save costs, improve service to customers and develop managers’ skills on a global scale. The Edelman Award is an initiative of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®).
During the award ceremony, TNT Express was represented by Chris Goossens and Marco Hendriks, Tilburg University was represented by Prof. Hein Fleuren and ORTEC was represented by Lambert van der Bruggen and John Poppelaars. Commenting on this achievement, Marco Hendriks of TNT Express states: "We take great pride in this prestigious award because the award recognizes the successful application of operations research and optimization on a global scale, involving the entire operations community of TNT Express.
The Edelman award is related to the significant OR achievements realized in the Global Optimization program or "GO" by TNT Express over the past few years. John Poppelaars of ORTEC describes the success: "The extensive OR work undertaken at TNT Express has delivered outstanding results, particularly in the area of cost savings. Moreover, decision-making quality is vastly improved due to the use of advanced planning and optimization solutions."
Hundreds of Optimization projects
In 2005, TNT Express began using mathematical techniques, together with ORTEC, to optimize its domestic line haul network in Italy. Operations Research now constantly supports TNT Express decision making on all aspects of its operations, including site location, truck routing and scheduling, fleet management and staff scheduling. TNT Express, supported by ORTEC’s modeling capabilities and solutions, carried out hundreds of optimization projects on a global scale, which resulted in saving 60 million kilometers and 54 million kg of CO2 emissions by optimizing its domestic networks in Germany, France, Spain and Italy alone.
Next to adopting OR tools, TNT Express has teamed up with the Tilburg University/TiasNimbas Business School (Netherlands) to create a two-year management development program in transportation network optimization. Called the GO Academy, the training has been delivered to more than 200 managers from TNT since 2008. Hein Fleuren: "Perhaps most importantly, TNT Express has created a learning environment in which their employees can share experiences and learn about the application of OR in the workplace. Operations Research has become part of the company’s DNA."