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Retail Engineering: Improving Operational Efficiency in Retail

Retail is a key component of the U.S. service sector; two-thirds of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is channelized through it. However, high competition and low profit margins are forcing a lot of retailers into bankruptcy. Operational efficiency is therefore of utmost importance for retailers.

Dr. Nazrul Shaikh’s project, titled “Quantitative Models for Excellence in Retail Engineering,” focuses on in-depth research and development of analytical models that increase operational efficiency in the retail sector. Dr. Shaikh, assistant professor in the Industrial Engineering Department, has received multiple research grants from industry to continue his research and ultimately develop statistical models and optimization tools for the retail sector. The most recent project extension focuses on the science behind store assortment planning.

Dr. Shaikh is working closely with his industry partner, Market Fusion Analytics (MFA), who are not only funding the research initiative, but also are providing data and test cases for model development and validation. The first stage of this research project, “Phase I: Optimization Solutions to the Retailers Assortment Planning Problem” was successfully completed in 2014 and the ongoing second state is likely to be completed by Dec 2017.

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