In today’s highly competitive market, companies must differentiate themselves more than ever before, and for many that means optimizing the customer experience. So it’s no surprise that many of the 136 teams at this year’s fall Capstone Design Expo focused on products and services to improve some aspect of the life of the consumer through innovation.
For many teams, the projects were all about making people’s lives easier. From a 2-D wearable sensor that makes it simple for runners to access their smartphone, to an app that provides a more transparent automotive service experience to car owners, student teams focused their energy on creating projects tailored to the customer. Two separate teams focused on the fan at the Mercedes-Benz and Braves stadiums in Atlanta, ensuring that game watchers could access food and beverages as efficiently as possible to enhance their game day experience. Another team helped customers coming into Home Depot find the exact screw they are looking for with a device that analyzes the screw type, removing shopping frustrations.
Other teams focused on enhancing the customer experience. Luxury car brands manufactured by GM had one team designing driver’s seats with sensors to increase the safety and comfort of commuters, ultimately delivering a higher quality driving experience. Mechanical engineering team members Doug Learnard and Golda Nguyen agreed that offering a novel car experience to drivers is a value add for customers when considering their buying options, and a tailored, personalized seat offers a better commute.
At the end of the night there was a surprise in store for all competitors. For the first time in Capstone’s 10 year history, there was a tie for the overall winner. “Bacon and Eggs” and “Team 16 Emory Risk” shared the spotlight and $3,000 cash prize. Both teams were from ISyE.
“Bacon and Eggs” focused on system improvements for Waffle House to help the chain uphold their commitment to 24/7/365 quality customer service. The team optimized four areas for the restaurant, including restructuring the maintenance van inventory model, modifying geographic assignment of maintenance technicians, reprioritizing preventative maintenance procedures, and recommending a centralized maintenance management platform.
“Waffle house is one of those places where every time you go there, you can tell how much they care about their customers, and it’s really been an honor to help them out with that,” said Christopher Bush, ISyE. “All in all, winning feels like an absolutely amazing experience. Everyone talks about how hard it is for industrial teams to win Capstone, and we set out to defy that.”
For “Team 16 Emory Risk,” students focused on enabling doctors at Emory to provide better healthcare, upholding Emory’s value equation which is “Quality Over Cost.” The team combined Emory’s medical and financial data to provide physicians a way to better allocate their resources and inputs, such as medications and beds for patients.
“Our team is so excited to win, we are really honored to have worked with Emory Healthcare, which is an awesome client,” said Sarah Both, ISyE. “In fact, we had our final handoff meeting with Emory today, and they are incredibly excited and looking forward to implementing our work into their system to preserve resources and provide a better experience to patients.”
Many student teams are poised to take their projects even further after Capstone, either applying for a patent or joining the CREATE-X program to take their business idea to market. And those focusing on the consumer have a distinct advantage in today’s business world that offers high reward to companies who invest in the customer experience.
2017 Fall Capstone Design Expo Winners
Overall winner – Tie
Bacon and Eggs - Waffle House maintenance handling system improvements
Team 16 Emory Risk - Emory Healthcare Risk Modeling and Patient Quality Metrics
Alice Jinks, ISyE, Columbus, GA
Ostrow Air - Commuter Aircraft/Air-taxi Aircraft 2030
Liv'R Little - Laparoscopic Liver Maneuvering Device
Civil & Environmental Engineering
J2AD Engineering - Bridge Replacement - Lee St Over Heart of Georgia Railroad
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Brighter SoluSuns - Intelligent Triport
Industrial Design and Mechanical Engineering
Rampion - Dance Ramp Assembly Optimization Project
Industrial and Systems Engineering
12 Textron Quality - Textron Quality
Blankity Blank - Material Handling Revolution
Miracle on Techwood - Lockblox
For more images visit the Flickr site.