Webinar – How Birchbox Transformed its Operations With Mathematical Optimization

July 28th - 29th, 2020

Please join us for this upcoming webinar

Join us for this upcoming webinar to discover how e-commerce company Birchbox uses mathematical optimization.

Birchbox – the trailblazing subscription box service that launched in 2010 – had created a mixed-integer programming formulation to determine the products that would be sent to its subscribers in individual boxes on a monthly basis. The goal is to produce a set of different box configurations that are then assigned to customers – so that Birchbox can meet the diverse needs of its varied customer base.

As the business grew, the mixed-integer program was taking days to solve, and it was impossible to experiment with different business requirements to determine the best set of configurations. The RIP (Reciprocating Integer Programming) technique was created to reduce solution times to typically under 20 minutes using Gurobi, which has dramatically changed the way that Birchbox can run its subscription business.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • How Birchbox, with Princeton Consultants, utilized the RIP technique to reduce solution times to under 20 minutes using Gurobi.
  • How Birchbox was able to transform and improve the way the company runs its subscription business using mathematical optimization.

Tuesday, July 28th at 8:00 am PDT (GMT -7)

Wednesday, July 29th at 3:00 pm CET (GMT +2)

Click on the “Show in My Time zone” link at the top of the registration page for each webinar to see the start time in your local timezone.


Dr. Irv Lustig from Princeton Consultants uses Gurobi to optimize Birchbox subscriptions.

The presenters of this webinar will be Optimization Principal, Irv Lustig, PhD, and Senior Optimization Specialist, Robert Randall, PhD, at Princeton Consultants.

Irv Lustig, PhD, is the Optimization Principal at Princeton Consultants and a global subject matter expert in state-of-the-art optimization and a Certified Analytics Practitioner.

Irv is one of the world’s top experts in optimization. Irv started his career in academia, where he earned a PhD in Operations Research at Stanford University. Irv’s thesis advisor was George Dantzig, the inventor of the Simplex algorithm who is thus often called the father of linear programming. Irv started his career as an Assistant Professor at Princeton University, teaching optimization. Irv won the Beale-Orchard-Hays Prize for Excellence in Computational Mathematical Programming, and has authored more than 30 articles and scientific papers.

Irv was one of the original developers of CPLEX, the first commercial optimization solver that was available on commodity hardware. It is no exaggeration to say that CPLEX, as well as Gurobi which was created by three former CPLEX employees, have powered by a wide margin the majority of the world’s successful optimization implementations. After CPLEX was acquired by ILOG, Irv led Technical Services and Product Management and eventually was a Vice President of ILOG leading the optimization and visualization software sales and marketing activities. After ILOG was acquired by IBM, Irv worked in IBM Research, where he investigated approaches for optimization/predictive analytics/business integration.

After years of working to improve the foundational solver tools, Irv joined Princeton to work directly with top industry clients to leverage these tools for maximum speed, reliability, and scalability. Both Irv and Princeton’s founder Steve Sashihara, have for many years both been active in INFORMS – the leading society for analytics and operations research.

Rob Randall from Princeton Consultants uses Gurobi to optimize Birchbox subscriptions

Rob Randall, PhD, is a Senior Optimization Specialist with Princeton Consultants. Rob develops custom production optimization models and decision support systems in areas such as fractional airline scheduling, less-than-truckload (LTL) flow plan optimization, rail car allocation, bulk chemical trailer assignment, transportation order acceptance, workforce scheduling, and subscription box optimization. He helps executives and operations personnel improve asset utilization and increase profit. He has also developed prototype models to analyze systems in expedited trucking and cargo shipping.

Creating custom optimization models based on mathematics and operations research, combined with advanced data analytics and simulation techniques, Rob provides the tools and software to create and implement optimal recommendations that save his clients time and money. Working with client executives at their offices and facilities, Rob implements these advanced tools to transform business processes and help ease the burden on the employees. In addition to building models, Rob is heavily involved in the gathering of requirements and design of surrounding decision support systems.

Rob’s work with Schneider National on bulk chemical trailer assignment was a finalist for the INFORMS Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in the Practice of Advanced Analytics and Operations Research, recognizing quality and coherence of analysis used in practice.

Rob joined Princeton Consultants in 2006. He holds a PhD from Clemson University in Industrial Engineering with a focus on metaheuristic design and development.

Princeton Consultants Gurobi Optimization

Princeton Consultants helps organizations integrate optimization and new technologies into core business processes. Princeton Consultants have a track record since 1981 of developing and deploying breakthrough solutions. Advisory services include model review and validation for advanced analytics.

David Bendes of Birchbox hosts webinar with Gurobi Optimization

David is the VP of Global Business Technology at Birchbox, the easiest way to discover and shop for beauty and grooming products. David leads Subscription Technology & Operations, Data & Business Intelligence, and Platform Product Management, focussing on creating data-driven experiences and the technologies that power them. Prior to Birchbox, he worked in music technology at early-stage startups. David is an MBA candidate in the executive program at Columbia Business School and holds a BA from the University of Rochester, where he studied Economics, Computer Science, and Music and was an award-winning Kauffman Entrepreneurial Fellow. David also founded and plays drums in the Birchbox Band.

Birchbox webinar with Gurobi

Birchbox is a simple and delightful way to update your beauty routine. The trailblazing subscription box service launched in 2010 and delivers five to six samples of beauty products a month, tailored to each subscriber’s needs and preferences, all handpicked by the Birchbox team, matched to your unique needs, and paired with helpful tips on how to use them.