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ASP, The Art and Science of Practice: From Edelman Award to INFORMS Prize—Jeppesen’s 15-Year Journey Toward Analytics Excellence and Lessons Learned Along the Way

Bill Tarantino Decision Analysis, Optimization

For nearly 80 years, Jeppesen has helped people safely reach their destinations by providing aviation professionals worldwide with navigational information, flight-planning services, and operations solutions. About 20 years ago, Jeppesen—like many companies—began to struggle with the transformation from the Triassic age of cumbersome machinery and analog pencil-on-paper decision making to electronic media and charting in the fast-moving digital age. Many companies failed to survive this transformation, or they continue to struggle. Jeppesen has thrived in this new world of complex digital technologies, shifting customer demands, and mutable markets. It has done so by moving from a product-based focus to a customer-based focus and by using operations research (OR) as an essential decision-making strategy to improve its ability to satisfy customer
demands. Jeppesen’s use of OR is noteworthy; the company won the Franz Edelman Award in 2000 and the INFORMS Prize in 2010. How did it manage the internal change to reach the OR excellence needed to attain such recognition? What are some of the lessons learned along the way? And what is next? One thing is certain: over this period, OR has enabled the improved decision making that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars
in benefits to Jeppesen and several billion dollars in benefits to its customers. In this paper, we describe some pivotal events that led to Jeppesen’s current reliance on OR as a strategic capability.

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