Winners of FICO's Global 'Optimize the Real World' Contest Use Analytics to Help Make Auto Parts, Refill ATMs, Bake Desserts

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Competition honors innovation and excellence in the use of data science to solve complex problems; winners from Brazil, Canada, Netherlands and Turkey

SAN JOSE, Calif.—July 10, 2014—Use data science to make things better. That was the name of the game in the international “Optimize the Real World” competition hosted by FICO (NYSE:FICO), a leading predictive analytics and decision management software company. The top three teams have each won a prize of US$10,000 for their work in applying analytics to manufacturing, financial services and food production.

“The creativity of top data scientists is extraordinary,” said Stuart Wells, chief technology officer at FICO. “Looking at a tough business challenge and figuring out how to both express it and solve it as a mathematical problem is incredibly difficult. I applaud all the participants in our ‘Optimize the Real World’ competition for their innovative and inspired work. Their efforts illustrate the incredible power of analytics, which is continuing to grow as data becomes bigger, better and more easily accessible.”

The Winners: Cars, Cash and Cake
Mehmet A. Begen and Burcu Caglar Gencosman applied analytics to improve scheduling and productivity at Beycelik, a Turkish company that manufactures auto parts. Their work identified an opportunity for Beycelik to increase manufacturing productivity by 21 percent while reducing operating costs by €500,000 annually.

"Solving real-world problems with analytics is stimulating, challenging, fun and rewarding for both the modellers and problem owners,” said Begen. “Analytics is an extremely powerful tool that can help organizations solve many problems in any industry."

Roel G. van Anholt, Leandro C. Coelho, Gilbert Laporte, and Iris F. A. Vis applied analytics to optimize the replenishment of automated teller machines (ATMs) in the Netherlands. This team of Dutch and Canadian data scientists found a way to decrease the cost of operating ATMs by 12 percent, potentially saving ATM operators in the Netherlands an estimated €10 million annually. The solution developed by Van Anholt, Coelho, Laporte and Vis can also increase cash availability at ATMs to improve customer satisfaction.

“This was a large, complicated problem and there was no tool designed specifically to solve it,” said Van Anholt. “We quickly realized we would need to develop our own approach, which led us to create a solution that combines analytics, heuristics and optimization. It was an exciting project and we are grateful to FICO for recognizing the uniqueness of our work.”

Brazilians Felipe Augusto Moreira Silva and Ulisses Assis applied analytics to large-scale food production for one of Brazil’s largest providers of baked goods. The problem this team solved was optimizing baking schedules, which include parallel production of multiple items, setup time, managing transportation capacity, and setting delivery times. Their work has already increased monthly profitability by US$2.5 million through the optimization of scheduling for 160 products, 18 production lines, and 150 daily truckloads of bread, buns and cakes.

"We are happy to receive this recognition,” said Ulisses Assis of Linear, an operations research company with expertise in supply chain optimization. “Our team worked hard to create this model and to deliver a good user interface with a robust computational implementation. It is very satisfying to see our creation gaining respect and helping our customers increase efficiency." The contest entries were judged on originality, business benefit, and mathematical formulation and programming. Participants in the contest used analytics to optimize a wide range of processes and tasks, including manufacturing, recycling, energy usage and trading virtual goods.

About FICO
FICO (NYSE: FICO) is a leading analytics software company, helping businesses in 90+ countries make better decisions that drive higher levels of growth, profitability and customer satisfaction. The company’s groundbreaking use of Big Data and mathematical algorithms to predict consumer behavior has transformed entire industries. FICO provides analytics software and tools used across multiple industries to manage risk, fight fraud, build more profitable customer relationships, optimize operations and meet strict government regulations. Many of our products reach industry-wide adoption. These include the FICO® Score, the standard measure of consumer credit risk in the United States. FICO solutions leverage open-source standards and cloud computing to maximize flexibility, speed deployment and reduce costs. The company also helps millions of people manage their personal credit health. FICO: Make every decision count™. Learn more at

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