Culminating their undergraduate education experience with the capstone Senior Design Project, students in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) gain confidence and professional experience working as part of a team addressing real-world problems with bottom-line impact for corporations and nonprofit organizations.
Students comprising the GE Energy project team, the winning team in the Fall 2010 Senior Design Project competition, credit team work as being a considerable factor that drove their team to win the renowned competition and an experience they look forward to transferring as they take on projects in their work environments.
“Being a part of a team is not all about being competitive and focusing only on the work, “states Saloni Desai, GE Energy team member. “It is about building a family,” she continues, adding that she hopes that when she starts her first team project at Coca Cola Company, she will be able to create a similar team synergy like that of her senior design team.
This is a sentiment shared by other team members, including Avadhi Dhruv, who states that “the success of our project is specially attributed to the tolerance and patience of our team members throughout the process.”
In addition to Desai and Dhruv, students comprising the GE Energy team included Manan Bhatt, Mark Herman, Ariz Himani, Mohsin Lakhani, and Swathi Narayanaswamy . Yajun Mei, ISyE assistant professor, advised the winning team.
With their project titled, “Parts Allocation for GE Energy,” the GE Energy team designed a parts allocation system that enables sharing of gas turbine parts across GE Energy’s maintenance contracts. By employing successive network flow optimizations and grouping methods, the project demonstrated annual savings of $8.7 million resulting from reduced new part purchases and increased utilization of contract assets.
The GE Energy team was one of three finalists in the Fall 2010 Senior Design competition out of a pool of twenty total projects for the semester. Teams working with ADEX and Mars Chocolate were the other finalists.
The ADEX team comprised team members David Gagne, Joseph Hsu, Mitchel Martinez, Cory Swanson, Mary Anna Ribock, and Terrance Yarber. Pinar Keskinocak, Nash professor in ISyE, co-director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Logistics, and associate director of Research for the Health Systems Institute, advised the team on its project titled, “GATR Strategic Production Planning for ADEX Machining Technologies.”
In 2010, ADEX Machining Technologies was selected as a potential supplier for Alliant Techsystem’s new Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket (GATR) line. For ADEX, the senior design team developed a set of decisions support tools for evaluating capacity expansion alternatives and operational decisions, such as raw material inventory policies, to minimize production cost and enable a sixty percent lower selling price for the nozzle and fin component. Upon signing the contract and reaching the highest projected demand level, GATR will help ADEX realize substantial sales growth and the creation of over 100 high-wage manufacturing jobs.
Colby Allen, Blaine DeLuca, Emma Elgqvist, Sayeed Mehrjerdian, Amanda Persaud, Jamie Serratelli and William Tang made up the Mars Chocolate team, which Alan Erera, ISyE associate professor, advised.
The team conducted a two-part project, titled “Co-pack Supply Chain Design and Production Scheduling,” which focused on supply chain and production improvements. The first part of the project addressed a redesign of the co-pack supply chain to determine where all co-packed products are to be produced. A mixed integer programming optimization model was developed to balance transportation and handling cost savings with new production line upgrades at co-pack facilities. The resulting redesign plan should yield $4 million in annual savings for Mars. The second part of the project addressed production scheduling at the Kennesaw, Georgia, co-pack facility. A scheduling optimization model was built to construct an optimal production plan given weekly product demands. The model included the capability to configure lines with varying staffing levels to increase efficiency. The scheduling tool is estimated to yield $700 thousand in annual savings.
The partnership that is created through Senior Design is truly a win-win collaboration for both ISyE undergraduate students and Georgia Tech’s industry partners. The average team is able to use its industrial engineering skills to create hundreds of thousands of dollars in value for the company they work with. For example, these three finalists alone could help their client companies realize more than $13 million in savings and $12 million in increased sales. And the impact is far reaching: ISyE Senior Design has worked with organizations ranging from local startups to Fortune 100 companies to international humanitarian organizations. The impact of Senior Design projects has been felt not only in the Atlanta area, but across the country and as far away as Europe, Africa, and Asia.
For Desai, making such a substantial impact on a reputable company such as GE Energy helped her become more self-confident, more appreciative of the Georgia Tech education, and more optimistic towards her goals. Further, Desai explains, “GE Energy's reaction of amazement toward our work has inspired me to always go above and beyond of what is expected for any challenge I may come across.”
Industrial and Systems Engineering