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Staff Applied Research Scientist (Planning and Routing Science)


Data Science & Analytics



Staff Applied Research Scientist (Planning and Routing Science)

The Opportunity

Flexport is looking for a strong technical leader to lead our strategic/tactical/operations planning initiative. This person is an expert in large-scale optimization methods (exact and heuristics) for general integer and combinatorial optimization, vehicle routing, consolidation and packing, and simulation optimization.  

Data is at the heart of our business, and as a Staff Applied Research Scientist, you will design and create first-in-class science products to make global trade easy and efficient. In collaboration with multidisciplinary product, engineering, user experience, and business/operations teams, you will apply advanced Operations Research (OR)  and Machine Learning (ML) methods to deliver data-driven insights, predictive capabilities, and automated decision solutions in Flexport’s freight forwarding space. 

Our product and engineering teams collaborate closely with our science team to share domain knowledge, test hypotheses at scale, and develop promising solutions that can be quickly and widely deployed. In addition, we are passionate about providing effortlessly accessible intelligence and actionable insights to our end users. Thus, the ideal Staff ARS candidate is: self-motivated, highly analytical, technically excellent at writing code, and passionate about delivering cutting-edge solutions.  

Locations: San Francisco, Bellevue 

You Will:

  • Lead research, development, and production deployment of large-scale end-to-end planning optimization solutions. The end results will be first-in-class, multi-modal planning systems that support (near) continuous planning across all freight modes at various time scales. 
  • Hands-on, guide the evolution of our core strategic/tactical/operations planning systems while identifying and developing new greenfield opportunities.
  • Establish technical standards and drive the science system architecture, engineering practices, and engineering methodologies.
  • Build high-quality, scalable, and architecturally sound planning systems that support the needs of our freight forwarding team.
  • Mentor a team of talented data, applied research, and machine learning scientists, demonstrate thought leadership and guidance to make the right scientific or technical trade-offs.
  • Create the technical vision for the team on both data foundations and advanced models/algorithms. 
  • Work collaboratively with product, engineering, and business to:
    • find opportunities to improve and enhance planning technology products, 
    • understand Flexport’s business and operations processes to identify impact opportunities, 
    • translate ambiguous business requirements into the right technical solution, and
    • design and build robust and scalable production solutions.

You Should Have:

Minimum Qualifications

  • Masters degree in quantitative fields, such as Operations Research, Computer Science, Applied Math, etc. 
  • 8+ years of experience in solving transportation/logistics optimization problems and developing practically efficient solution strategies for large and extreme-scale networks.
  • 5+ years of technical leadership experience.
  • Deep expertise in algorithm design, engineering, and production implementation.
  • Proven object-oriented design and implementation skills (Python, Java, or C++) and strong knowledge of design patterns.
  • Extensive knowledge of software engineering best practices for the complete software development life cycle.
  • Experience developing and deploying OR/ML solutions for high-volume, critical production service environments. 
  • Experience taking research prototypes to production, especially in transportation and logistics (e.g., vehicle routing, scheduling, etc.).
  • Great at system design with strong evidence of capability to design complex solutions at the right level of abstraction.
  • Experience performing and leading the development of complex software systems that have been successfully deployed.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills. Demonstrated ability to communicate with business stakeholders to understand requirements and present findings and recommendations that show value.  

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ph.D. (or equivalent research experience) in quantitative fields, such as Computer Science, Operations Research, Applied/Computational Math, etc. 
  • Deep hands-on technical expertise in designing, developing, and deploying large-scale transportation routing algorithms and software systems.
  • Deep expertise in large-scale optimization, especially in designing efficient metaheuristics, decomposition, and hybrid algorithms.
  • Deep expertise in designing and implementing optimization models for large-scale discrete/combinatorial problems (e.g., vehicle routing, scheduling, network design, scheduling, and facility location) 
  • Deep expertise working with large data sets and knowledge of tools for big data analytics (e.g., SQL, Python, Perl, or Ruby).
  • Strong research track record (e.g., tier-1 publications and patents).

About Flexport

We believe global trade can move the human race forward. That’s why it’s our mission to make global trade easier for everyone. We aim to do this by building the Operating System for Global trade - a strategic model combining advanced technology and data analytics, logistics infrastructure, and supply chain expertise. Flexport today connects almost 10,000 clients and suppliers across 109 countries, including established global brands like Georgia-Pacific, as well as emerging innovators like Sonos. Started in 2013, we've raised over $1.3B in funding from SoftBank Vision Fund, Founders Fund, GV, First Round Capital, and Y Combinator. We’re excited about the three big ways we’re moving forward after our recent $1B investment from SoftBank Vision Fund in February 2019.

Are you worried about not having any freight forwarding experience?

  • Don’t be! We’re building the first Operating System for Global Trade. That’s why it’s crucial for us to bring people from diverse backgrounds and experiences together with our industry veterans to help move the freight forwarding industry forward.
  • What’s freight forwarding, and why does it matter? Freight forwarding is the coordination and shipment of goods from one place to another, and it’s what makes global trade possible. Flexport is on a mission to make global trade easier for everyone because we believe it can help connect the world and break down economic barriers.
  • We know this industry is complex. That’s why we invest in education starting day one with Flexport Academy, a one-week intensive onboarding program explicitly designed to set every new Flexport employee up for success.

At Flexport, our ability to fulfill our mission of making global trade easy for everyone relies on having a diverse, dedicated, and engaged workforce. That is why Flexport is committed to creating and nurturing an environment where anyone can be their authentic self. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, physical and mental disability, health status, marital and family status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, military and veteran status, and any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

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