Industry Insights

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Increasing Opportunities in Operations Research & Supply Chain

August 13, 2018

This blog is contributed by Burtch Works’ operations research recruiting teamOperations research has always been a specialty that focuses on continuous improvement, and now with significant advances in technology the opportunities for professionals in OR and supply chain are increasing drastically.In order to be able to constantly optimize well-defined processes in areas like supply chain logistics, manufacturing, or demand planning, many operations researchers and supply chain professionals are on the lookout for cutting-edge technologies to add to their arsenal, or for emerging industries to transition into.As a recruiter that specializes in this area, I thought it might be beneficial to share a few areas where I’m seeing a noticeable uptick in opportunities, both in terms of technological advancements and industry growth!

Areas of Growth in Operations Research & Supply Chain

1. Transportation and supply chain is heating up

Although transportation is an area long-familiar to OR and supply chain professionals, lately I’m seeing an increase in both transportation companies and more traditional organizations looking to monetize or better capitalize on their data in this area.With telematics and real-time sensor data, companies like UPS are investing heavily in tools that will allow them to analyze more than 1 billion data points per day, including details about package sizes and customer data. With the increase in ecommerce shopping causing transportation and shipping demand to explode, finding professionals that can develop innovative strategies to improve operations in this area is becoming a significant opportunity not just for shipping companies like UPS and FedEx, but also for many other companies working to improve their supply chain.

2. Internet of Things (IoT) is blending operations research with data science

As Burtch Works has noted before, the line between data science and traditional predictive analytics has begun to blur, and as sensors and other internet-connected devices continue to build out the Internet of Things, I’m seeing areas where data science and operations research may blend as well.Since Burtch Works’ distinction between data scientists and other analytics professionals examines what type of data is being used, as operations research and supply chain professionals continue to integrate new sources of streaming or unstructured data from the Internet of Things, we may see some blurring between skillsets in this area. IoT opportunities for operations researchers can include industries like manufacturing, traffic management and city planning, and many other areas where connected devices can be found.

3. Healthcare looks to operations research to improve its complex systems

Healthcare has long been an area where analytics processes have left something to be desired, but some hospitals, healthcare providers, and health insurers are looking to change that. I’m noticing a rise in opportunities in this area, and a recent issue of OR/MS Today from INFORMS goes into more depth about how healthcare providers can use operations research to optimize bed allocation and stay at optimal capacity (the article requires an INFORMS member login, but is worth a read if you’re intrigued by this area!).Another opportunity in healthcare includes examining common medical situations to anticipate how to treat them, to be proactive, or to even prevent them from happening. If the prospect of coming up with innovative solutions to complex problems in a developing area sounds like where you’d want to be, keep an eye out for more healthcare opportunities in the years to come!These are just some of the exciting topics in operations research and supply chain that I’ve been seeing lately. I am thrilled to be working with candidates and clients in a field that is so dynamic and always evolving.I hope you found this information interesting, and if you’re looking for opportunities or to hire professionals in operations research, supply chain or IoT be sure to connect with us.