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Sasol scoops up INFORMS Prize


Sasol has been cited for yet another international award in the field of operations research; this time for the 2011 INFORMS Prize, created by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences for meritorious achievements in all aspects of the OR/MS field.

Beating off several other international competitors, the operations research team based within Sasol Technology (the Sasol subsidiary responsible for its research and technology innovation and engineering/ project management services), achieved the win by demonstrating creative use of operations research during specifically the last decade to improve decision making and impact the company’s bottom line over the long term.
They are the first African company to win the award.
According to 2011 INFORMS Prize committee chair Erica Klampfl, the prize is given annually for effective and sustained integration of analytics and operations research into organisational decision making.
“The award is given to an organisation that has repeatedly applied the principles of OR in pioneering, varied, novel and lasting ways. Sasol is being unanimously awarded for its outstanding and wide spread use of operations research throughout the company.”
The prize was handed over to the outgoing Sasol Technology MD, Willem Louw, at the prestigious annual Edelman Gala in Chicago, US. On accepting the prize, Louw says: “To be recognised by this illustrious committee in such a fiercely contested competition confirms the position of Sasol’s operations research team as a world-class player in the OR/MS field.”
Previous winners of the INFORMS prize include Jeppesen (award winner in 2010 for their outstanding wide-spread use of operations research throughout their Boeing company), Intel, General Electric Global Research Group, Schneider National, Air Products and Chemicals, and Procter and Gamble.
Included in the winning submission portfolio of projects were inter alia:
* Stochastic modeling of production, refining and blending of fuels.
* Sasol Group energy linear programming model.
* Process modeling of the liquid factory value chain within the Sasol Group.
* Global tank planning model for the solvents business unit within the Sasol Group.
The portfolio attests to a range of decision support and each example showcases the work of a different team of operations researchers and colleagues in the business.
This is the second year in a row that Sasol has been called on to the stage in the INFORMS arena. In 2010, Sasol Technology was a finalist in the Franz Edelman competition for Achievement in Operations Research. In 2011 the INFORMS prize acknowledges Sasol as a company that makes on-going use of world-class operations research.