Developing operation research applications for industry clients is often very costly since it is in my experience often a custom special development for the client. The cost of developing a running system is often far beyond 100k $/€/... and then there is also maintenance and if you need commercial solvers, then there are also a lot of repetitive costs for licensing, etc. while in production.
- How can I estimate the savings a potential operations research application has? (Maybe one can break this down into the maintenance costs/development costs/savings)
- It would be also interesting to differentiate before/after you developed the solution and it is running in production? (Since also after it is running it is difficult to measure the improvement.)
A critical topic is always when people at the company solving this problem (or part of the problem) currently as their jobs. Then, maybe you estimate that instead of two people doing this job, now maybe one person can do the job. Then one could estimate based on their salaries that they might save this money per year.
There the before/after effects are in general good measures after the system is running in production for some time. But it is a highly sensitive topic, because we do not want anybody to lose their jobs. This is a complicated topic that might be in itself a separate question.
The second potential savings is that the solution obtained by the tool is far superior to the current heuristic solution done by the people. However, this is difficult to estimate before and even after you are running your solution. Because most often you are only solving optimally a small frame of large problem and if there are a lot of soft constraints and, in the end, the solution is not taken as it is and analyzed, and different solutions are compared by the people working, then how an I access the benefit of the solution vs. the solution before?