Author Topic: Astros to the AL  (Read 1381 times)

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Offline MarquisDeSade

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #25: November 17, 2011, 10:29:40 AM »
They could have a computer simulation model put the thing together, fairly easily I would think once the model is built.

They've tried that with the subway systems both here in the US and in Europe with little to no success...

Offline tomterp

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #26: November 17, 2011, 10:40:26 AM »
They've tried that with the subway systems both here in the US and in Europe with little to no success...

I don't know why it wouldn't work - it works well in so many other process flow optimization models.  From figuring out how many cashiers should be clocked it various times of the day at Walmart to ship hull design or anti-missile defense models.

Identify the constraints and let the thing go, for example:

162 game season, 81 home and 81 away.
No more than 12 consecutive games away or at home.
No more than 16 interleague games, no fewer than 14.
No series more than 4 games, nor less than 3. 
Exactly 18 games against each of 4 divisional opponents - 9 home and 9 away.
Assume travel costs of $x per mile
etc...


Offline MarquisDeSade

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #27: November 17, 2011, 10:50:31 AM »
From figuring out how many cashiers should be clocked it various times of the day at Walmart

:nono:

That's what they try to do and fail at doing for numerous reasons.  It's entirely possible the firm that does it now does something similar with software but, as anyone that's planned a conference can attest, there's a lot more than just "setting the schedule".  There's a ton of leg work that goes into getting the factors defined before running it through the software/program/ether. 

Offline tomterp

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #28: November 17, 2011, 12:32:31 PM »
:nono:

That's what they try to do and fail at doing for numerous reasons.  It's entirely possible the firm that does it now does something similar with software but, as anyone that's planned a conference can attest, there's a lot more than just "setting the schedule".  There's a ton of leg work that goes into getting the factors defined before running it through the software/program/ether.

Sure, I am probably exaggerating a bit the difficulty in doing this, but it is a fact in my mind that a simulation model could produce a schedule that is substantially complete, that with a few tweaks by the humans at the top could become a final product.


Offline tomterp

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #29: November 17, 2011, 01:02:27 PM »
Congratulations.  You have inadvertently convinced me that whatever it is you're talking about is complete garbage.

What do you mean?

Think about a day in the life of Walmart, or any large retailer.  Maybe a grocery store is a great example.  There are busy times and not so busy times.  There is randomness to the arrival of folks overlaid with the general trends.  You can answer questions like, if I have 5 registers staffed, how often can I expect the line to grow beyond 4 people, my threshold for wanting another register open? 

Stores have to balance the cost of additional staff vs. the loss of business potentially if people get fed up with long lines and leave.   You better believe that all the large stores model this stuff.

My wife has her MS in Operations Research (she has worked in the field as well) and I've had just enough OR in graduate school to be dangerous.    :twisted:

Offline The Chief

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #30: November 17, 2011, 01:06:11 PM »
What do you mean?

I was jokingly referring to the fact that every Walmart I have ever been to is understaffed in the front, so I always end up waiting in line for 10 minutes behind Walmartians buying the most random crap you can imagine while the cashiers perform at what can only be described as a glacial pace.

Quote
*simulation stuff*

To be fair, not all of the things I mentioned above are the fault of Walmart or their simulations, but the end result is that their simulations are wrong and they have permanently lost a customer as a result - granted, I never much liked shopping there anyway, so it wasn't a difficult choice to make.

Offline tomterp

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #31: November 17, 2011, 01:09:26 PM »
I was jokingly referring to the fact that every Walmart I have ever been to is understaffed in the front, so I always end up waiting in line for 10 minutes behind Walmartians buying the most random crap you can imagine while the cashiers perform at what can only be described as a glacial pace.

To be fair, not all of the things I mentioned above are the fault of Walmart or their simulations, but the end result is that their simulations are wrong and they have permanently lost a customer as a result - granted, I never much liked shopping there anyway, so it wasn't a difficult choice to make.

Oh, ok, gotcha.

I haven't been in Walmart 5 times in the last 5 years, but used them as an example because of their demonstrated propensity to attack every possible angle of their operations in order to squeeze out costs.  I personally can't stand the place. 

Offline MarquisDeSade

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #32: November 17, 2011, 01:14:32 PM »
Sure, I am probably exaggerating a bit the difficulty in doing this, but it is a fact in my mind that a simulation model could produce a schedule that is substantially complete, that with a few tweaks by the humans at the top could become a final product.

So could WMATA with the Metro and that's in a system with very few variables (train breakdowns, weather, EMS stops) and we see how well that works.  It's not that I don't agree with you, because I do, it's just that when people make comments like "well, with a couple of R simulations and a couple of tweaks this could be done in two weeks tops" gets my eyes rolling.  I would tend to think that the MLB schedule would have more complex variables and characteristics similar to setting up a major conference and less issues like scheduling cashiers or, to a certain extent, trains.

Offline MarquisDeSade

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #33: November 17, 2011, 01:16:37 PM »
...but used them as an example because of their demonstrated propensity to attack every possible angle of their operations in order to squeeze out costs.

My mom is in management at Wally World and wants every OR person to eat a bullet.  Not so much because she doesn't believe in or appreciate their work, just that Wally World senior management believes in the models and doesn't take into account the variables - like employees.  Didn't Home Depot have something similar happen with the Six Smegma consultants?

Offline tomterp

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #34: November 17, 2011, 01:24:03 PM »
My mom is in management at Wally World and wants every OR person to eat a bullet.  Not so much because she doesn't believe in or appreciate their work, just that Wally World senior management believes in the models and doesn't take into account the variables - like employees.  Didn't Home Depot have something similar happen with the Six Smegma consultants?

Having the info is one thing, using it appropriately is quite another.

Six Sigma programs can be very useful, or not.  I worked for Quest Diagnostics for a while, they have an internal program to train green belts and black belts, so it's not outside consultants but employees screened such that only the better ones get into the program.  It's rare though for some huge breakthrough in efficiency to happen.

Offline tomterp

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #35: November 17, 2011, 01:27:58 PM »
So could WMATA with the Metro and that's in a system with very few variables (train breakdowns, weather, EMS stops) and we see how well that works.  It's not that I don't agree with you, because I do, it's just that when people make comments like "well, with a couple of R simulations and a couple of tweaks this could be done in two weeks tops" gets my eyes rolling.  I would tend to think that the MLB schedule would have more complex variables and characteristics similar to setting up a major conference and less issues like scheduling cashiers or, to a certain extent, trains.

The models can be quite complex.  My wife would construct a model, then meet with senior military officers who would insist a new variable be added, and it would be back to the drawing board for months before the new info could be reflected.  And by the way, the model now takes 4 times as long to run.  Still, it is cheaper than building 50 ships with differing hull sizes/shapes in order to learn what a model might be able to tell you for less than the cost of 1 ship.

Offline MarquisDeSade

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #36: November 17, 2011, 01:51:30 PM »
It's rare though for some huge breakthrough in efficiency to happen.

That's often the case.  I'm working on a project right now to try and improve certain outcomes (I'm being purposely vague here) that, after a couple of more months of research and model building, will probably be scrapped so the firm can stay with their current model (coin flip). 

It's entirely possible the M&P that's currently doing it also do other "value-added" things for MLB as well, but that's impossible to know without more information.

Offline houston-nat

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #37: November 17, 2011, 02:57:24 PM »
I was jokingly referring to the fact that every Walmart I have ever been to is understaffed in the front, so I always end up waiting in line for 10 minutes behind Walmartians buying the most random crap you can imagine while the cashiers perform at what can only be described as a glacial pace.

Having been a Walmart cashier for three summers, I want to step in here and point out that
(a) they do use software to generate a massive number of shifts in need of filling each week;
(b) they then assign employees to fill these roughly equally (ie equal proportion of empty slots at all times);
(c) the employees work a different schedule literally every day (sometimes I would have this sequence: 8am-5pm, 2pm-11pm, 4pm-9pm) just because the computer says to;
(d) I am a speedy checker and as efficient and awesome as my WNFF persona suggests, but:
(e) the main cause of slowness is idiot customers, for example:
(e.i) old fogeys who want you to cash in coupons that expired in 1971 [this ACTUALLY HAPPENED to me - it was two cents off];
(e.ii) other old fogeys who pay by check;
(e.iii) moms who forgot milk and send their 8-year-old daughter to get some milk and say "Don't worry, she runs fast";
(e.iv) people who say "Oh, I thought I was buying [some other thing]. I don't want that";
(e.v) young women who see how much the clothes cost, say, "Oh," and then start saying, "Okay, I don't want that, or that, or that, or that... now how much is it?";

(f) and most relevantly to the original post, the leading reason that Walmarts are understaffed is not "bad computer simulation" but "nobody wants to work in a goddamn Walmart."

Offline The Chief

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #38: November 17, 2011, 03:01:53 PM »
Having been a Walmart cashier for three summers, I want to step in here and point out that
*snip*

While I understand all that and my sympathies go out to anyone working at a Walmart, the staffing simulations should factor in things like this, especially customer demographics that would bog down the processing speed of X number of cashiers.

Offline houston-nat

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #39: November 17, 2011, 03:03:50 PM »
While I understand all that and my sympathies go out to anyone working at a Walmart, the staffing simulations should factor in things like this, especially customer demographics that would bog down the processing speed of X number of cashiers.

There's some stuff they're good at. For example, the reason the express lanes close at 11pm is that after 11pm - at least here in Texas - nearly all the customers are entire Hispanic families buying $150 of food in cash.

Offline Baseball is Life

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #40: November 18, 2011, 01:37:15 PM »
I like the idea of more interleague play but I think the DH becomes a bigger headache then. Think about  it, you are playing a big part of your game with different rules. Does any other sports do that? Nothing comes to mind.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #41: November 18, 2011, 08:09:11 PM »
I like the idea of more interleague play but I think the DH becomes a bigger headache then. Think about  it, you are playing a big part of your game with different rules. Does any other sports do that? Nothing comes to mind.

Well, the SEC plays football under NCAA rules rather than the same rules as the other professional football conferences.

Offline HalfSmokes

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #42: November 19, 2011, 10:06:32 AM »
I like the idea of more interleague play but I think the DH becomes a bigger headache then. Think about  it, you are playing a big part of your game with different rules. Does any other sports do that? Nothing comes to mind.

It gives us one of the best parts of the DH- resting a slugger while keeping them in the line up, without having it be an every day thing

Offline Kevrock

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #43: November 19, 2011, 10:15:51 AM »
Well, the SEC plays football under NCAA rules rather than the same rules as the other professional football conferences.

I'd say they are closer to paying according to the NFL rules than they are to playing according to the NCAA rules.

Offline HalfSmokes

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #44: November 19, 2011, 10:47:21 AM »
Is there a salary cap in the sec?

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #45: November 19, 2011, 05:05:29 PM »
Is there a salary cap in the sec?

Yes.  It's based on the net worth of the state, which is why Ole Miss has had some problems.  On the other hand, with Walmart, Arkansas is living high off the hog.

Online Mathguy

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #46: November 20, 2011, 08:24:23 AM »
So Houston - do you think this is a good or bad decision ?

More interleague play? But they'll be playing the Rangers all the time.

Also: the DH rule still sucks.


Offline hammondsnats

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Re: Astros to the AL
« Reply #47: November 20, 2011, 08:33:15 PM »