On a 3,600-acre site about three hours’ drive from Atlanta sits the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, home to Marine Corps Logistics Command (MARCORLOGCOM). MARCORLOGCOM has a presence on both U.S. coasts and is responsible for Marine Corps equipment and its supply chain. The base is located in Albany, Georgia, and serves as the primary sourcing location for the East Coast. (The other location is in Barstow, California.)
The large amount of equipment that passes through the command inevitably results in significant problems involving its supply chain and logistics. Three faculty members from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) — Professors Christos Alexopoulos, John-Paul Clarke, and Dave Goldsman — have been working to provide MARCORLOGCOM with models and methods that improve process efficiency throughout the depot and optimize the overall supply chain.
This project is part of a funded grant involving the Georgia Tech Research Institute and the Supply Chain & Logistics Institute. The initial focus area involves a detailed study of work flows in the facility, specifically the areas of disassembly and assembly.
“There’s a disassembly process that ground equipment coming in for major maintenance undergoes,” explained Goldsman. “So we’re developing a model that improves efficiency in the process.”
Another aspect of the project that Alexopoulos, Clarke, and Goldsman plan to tackle in 2020 is the development of a large-scale simulation that will include not only the flow of parts through the depot but also the flow of information.
“When equipment needs repair, you don’t just need the parts,” noted Alexopoulos. “You also need to schedule the people to do the work. And what happens if a part isn’t in stock and has to be ordered? We need all of the people involved in the process to communicate with each other until the problem is solved.”
“You can call this a classic industrial engineering problem,” added Goldsman. “It’s a process project, certainly, but it also involves statistics, operations research, optimization, and of course human factors.”
Alexopoulos and Goldsman are currently working with two ISyE alumni, Christopher Tipper (BIE 1996) and Jessica Walden (BSIE 04, MSIE 05), on the project. Tipper and Walden are civilian employees at the Marine Depot Maintenance Command (MDMC) in Albany, and their ISyE training has been invaluable in the modeling process.
“As a former student of both Professors Goldsman and Alexopoulos, it has been great to work with them as peers,” said Walden. “They have brought the academic thought process, as well as a fresh perspective, into what Chris and I deal with on a daily basis. Our motto at MDMC is, ‘What you do is important. Every day a Marine’s life will depend on it!’ While progressing through this project, we are able to combine our tribal knowledge of Marine Corps procedures and equipment with the modeling processes, simulation practices, and expertise this partnership affords.”
H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering