Convoy sponsors O.R. Supreme Game Show at INFORMS 2021 Annual Meeting
Data Science • Published on January 7, 2022
We share our experience sponsoring a recent professional community event to encourage you to do the same!
Convoy Data Science (DS) teammates Carol DeZwarte and Amir Ghahari participated in the game show. Carol is also a member of the INFORMS Edelman Committee.
Convoy supported four members of our DS team participating in the INFORMS Annual Meeting in October. INFORMS is one of the communities we embrace for operations research and data science. We volunteered our time to sponsor the mini competition described here, then added recruiting, interviewing, and networking. Get involved in professional communities that represent you and your teams! These are your people. They are past, present, and future colleagues, collaborators, co-authors, and friends.
At the 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Convoy sponsored and hosted the Freestyle O.R. Supreme Game Show. This event is a real-world consulting “frame that problem” competition held during one of the conference sessions. The sponsor organization presents a business problem, then participants are teamed up and work together over the next several hours to create an analytic framework and recommendations.
Each team’s competition entry is a short video describing their approach. Then a group of experienced professionals, including representative(s) from the sponsor, evaluate the proposals and choose a winner.
“Sustainability in Trucking” was Convoy’s business problem for this event–a challenging space that is well-suited for a case study. We describe ourselves as a company that uses technology to make freight more efficient. Our mission is to transport the world with endless capacity and zero waste; to achieve this, our digital freight marketplace optimizes the matching of truck drivers with shippers, saving time for truck drivers, minimizing costs for shippers, while reducing needless pollution of the planet as a result of empty miles.
About 35% of miles driven by heavy trucks in the US are empty, i.e. the driver has no load. That’s 61 billion (yes, with a B) empty miles per year, so there is a lot of room for improvement. In addition to environmental sustainability, we think about other forms of sustainability, like human (e.g. flexible “green” appointment windows improve drivers’ experiences, make their days more efficient, and reduce idling) and social (our supplier diversity program gives diverse carriers access to more loads, forums, and opportunities). Learn more about how we’re advancing sustainability in freight.
Convoy also congratulates Cansu Agrali and Harsh Anand for their winning entry! We were impressed with their thoroughness, despite a lack of familiarity with our industry. Their suggestions included some work we already do across multiple forms of sustainability: optimizing routes or batches to reduce empty miles driven, optimizing networks for better asset utilization; giving teammates time and autonomy to make decisions that are good for the customers, and having health care and benefits that contribute to employees’ long-term physical and mental well-being. Cansu and Harsh also aptly noted that we should (and do) hold ourselves accountable to our goals through reporting progress against sustainability initiatives.
“Bring out the best in others”, or #BOBO, is one of Convoy’s corporate values. It is what we do when we make our communities stronger through participation in events like this. Convoy encourages and values community building both inside and outside our walls, and we hope you also find ways to participate in professional community events and organizations.
If you are an analytics professional and you bring out the best in others too, we’re hiring! Learn more about careers at Convoy.