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Wed, 13 Mar

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SIG: History of OR in SA launch

Join us for the launch event of our newest special interest group for the history of operations research in South Africa!

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SIG: History of OR in SA launch
SIG: History of OR in SA launch

Time & Location

13 Mar 2024, 18:00 – 19:20

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About the Event

Archiving and reflecting on the history of operations research and ORSSA helps preserve the knowledge and methodologies developed over the years, enabling future generations to learn from past achievements and challenges. This special interest group launches with a presentation by ORSSA Fellow, Dave Evans. 

OR in the South African Chemical Industry in the Early 1970s

African Explosives and Chemical Industries (AECI, as it became) acquired a production director from ICI in England – one of its parent companies – around 1970, who was very familiar with the use of OR – particularly linear programming and simulation – in the planning and management of large chemicals complexes. He sent AECI’s OR manager – Jim Buttery – to England late in 1970 on a ‘technical visit’, which was actually a thinly disguised recruiting trip. Over the next year or two, some 5 or 6 OR analysts, one of which was me, moved to South Africa, as well as several chemical engineers. This presentation describes the work which we carried out over the next few years to assist in AECI’s manufacturing and distribution planning, optimization and

capital investment analysis. 

Dave Evans grew up near York, in the north of England. He has an MA in Biochemistry from Cambridge University and an MSc in Operational Research and Management Studies from Imperial College, London University. He spent the first 28 years of his career in the chemical industry, initially with ICI in England, and then with AECI in South Africa. As well as a lot of OR, he was involved in IT management, corporate strategy, factory administration management,

logistics management, change management and a major SAP implementation. He later had ten years with the Development Bank of Southern Africa, in several similar areas. He has been actively involved in ORSSA for the past forty years, and is a past president, fellow and honorary life member.

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