Leveraging mathematical optimization for enhanced business decision-making

Leveraging mathematical optimization for enhanced business decision-making

Mountain peaks emerging through clouds at dawn, symbolizing clarity and strategic goals achieved through mathematical optimization

In today’s competitive landscape, leading companies leverage mathematical optimization to enhance decision-making processes. Mathematical optimization, utilizing advanced algorithms and data analysis techniques, offers a strategic approach to solving complex problems efficiently. As in the case of other artificial intelligence solutions, mathematical optimization is becoming increasingly important to competitiveness as the ability of businesses to harness data improves by leaps and bounds.

Mathematical optimization revolutionizes business planning by providing comprehensive reporting on performance metrics, cost structures, and employee scheduling. By facilitating scenario comparisons and reporting plans, optimization enhances business insights and boosts the transparency of the planning process.

Challenges in Resource Optimization

Efficient use of resources is critical for organizational success. Yet challenges persist, particularly in roster planning where finding the optimal workforce alignment remains daunting. The complexity arises from numerous variables including shift types, regulatory requirements, leave policies, and employee preferences. Traditional approaches often yield suboptimal solutions due to the overwhelming number of potential combinations.

Since roster planning is so complex, there is almost inevitably a trade-off between speed and optimum planning. The human mind is simply unable to process millions of potential combinations systematically. The roster planner’s life is a painful struggle and even so the final outcome is far from perfect in terms of efficiency in the use of the human resources.

Mathematical Optimization Helps Speed Up Planning and Improve Quality

A radical change can be achieved when a company adopts mathematical optimization. In this approach, the roster planner verifies the accuracy of the input data while an algorithm assigns people to the shifts. The process is based on the preferences specified by the roster planner as well as advanced mathematical calculations. For example, the roster planner can specify the maximum number of overtime hours to justify denying an employee’s request for time off.

Mathematical optimization helps speed up planning and improve quality. This allows the specialist to focus on comparing the alternative plans, considering employee requests and developing operations. In addition, he or she can respond quickly to changes because it takes only a fraction of the time to create a new plan. For example, if an employee becomes ill, a new plan can be generated by changing the availability data for that employee and clicking a button. The algorithm takes care of the reallocation of employees.

Man and Machine – A Winning Combination of Computing Power

Of course, mathematical optimization alone is no ticket to dreamland. While it can identify the best solution based on the input data, it does not make the planner obsolete. The roster planner is still the best expert to make the final decisions and respond to employee requests as a human being. If necessary, they can also manually edit the plan generated by the optimization algorithm, for example, if special arrangements are required.

Together, the planner and the algorithm form a powerful team that combines a human approach, creativity, logic, and tireless computing power. Optimization solutions can address a wide range of specific needs of individual companies. Matters can be addressed down to the smallest detail, and solutions can be easily scaled without the need for further software development.

Conclusion

Mathematical optimization is essential to modern businesses, providing insight into metrics, streamlining operations, and increasing productivity. By integrating advanced algorithms, companies can make informed decisions, optimize resources, and improve competitiveness. The synergy between human expertise and algorithmic efficiency is critical, as human insight interprets the nuances of data and guides strategic decisions. By adopting mathematical optimization, companies ensure the adaptability  and agility needed to navigate in today’s fast-paced world.

Curious about mathematical optimization? Our team builds customized business planning and optimization solutions, harnessing the power of IBM Planning Analytics and IBM Decision Optimization. Leave us a message to find out how your organization could benefit from mathematical optimization!

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