SOLA's mission is to promote the development of analytical methods, techniques and tools in the tradition of operations research/management science (OR/MS) as applied to the study of facility location. “Facility location” is defined as the choice of location(s) for entities at which services are provided in order to optimize measures of efficiency and possibly equity and effectiveness, subject to resource constraints and institutional considerations.
As facility location is a task performed by actual organizations, SOLA addresses the concerns of researchers as well as practitioners, using a variety of disciplinary approaches, as applied to problems in the private, governmental and non-governmental sectors. SOLA assists in the professional development of junior members, recognizes the achievements of senior members and supports other professional associations inside and outside the United States focused on facility location.
Facility location has natural links to a variety of other OR/MS application areas, including health services, environment and natural resources, transportation and logistics, production and inventory management and urban and public affairs. Facility location has natural links to many OR/MS methodological areas as well, including mathematical programming, multi-criteria decision models, economics and stochastic modeling. Therefore, SOLA attempts whenever possible to strengthen links between the section and other INFORMS subdivisions whose interests overlap the application areas and methods listed above.