ZS was founded in 1983 by Andris Zoltners and Prabhakant (Prabha) Sinha, two Ph.D. classmates turned college professors at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. 

 

While studying at the University of Massachusetts, they’d conducted research together on the knapsack problem, an approach to combining items so that the total weight of those items together is less than or equal to a given limit. They realized that their research could be applied not only to planning and distributing meals for astronauts and members of U.S. military, but also to consumer industry issues related to sales force sizing and resource allocation. 

 

In 1982, Zoltners and Sinha presented their sales force sizing and territory alignment models to their academic colleagues, demonstrating the world’s first personal-computer-aided territory mapping system.

 

In 1983, the pair founded ZS Associates in their off hours, offering companies increased sales force efficiency using their now-proven territory mapping software. 

 

In its first three years, ZS helped eight of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world align territories and resize their sales forces. By 2011, ZS worked with 49 of the 50 largest drugmakers in healthcare and 17 of the 20 largest medical device makers. 

 

Today, ZS works with companies around the world and across the marketplace, in industries ranging from healthcare to high-tech to financial services and beyond. ZS’s expertise and offerings have expanded significantly as well. We now help clients with everything from discovery through to commercialization, with the strategy, analytics and technology to enable it.