Tag: Manufacturing

You’re invited to attend the Operational Excellence Speaker Series Thursday, Feb. 26 featuring JoAnne Levy, vice president of Integrated Sourcing Solutions at ROi. The series is sponsored by the Boeing Center for Technology, Information & Manufacturing (BCTIM).

JoAnne Levy

JoAnne Levy

Levy will be presenting on “A Transformational Journey: Building an Integrated Supply Chain in Health Care.” For more information, please click here.

Levy earned her undergraduate, law and MBA degrees from WashU. She is the second executive in this year’s BCTIM Operational Excellence Speaker Series. Dan Friedman kicked off the series last month.

Dan Friedman OESs Image

Dan Friedman

Dan Friedman has 30 years of footwear industry experience and serves as Division President of Global Sourcing & International at Brown Shoe Company. Friedman combines oversight of Brown Shoe Co. Inc.’s worldwide sourcing operations with a responsibility for all branded wholesale product development and international.

To view Friedman’s presentation “Global Sourcing: Adapting to Transformational Changes in a Portfolio Footwear Company”, click here.

We hope you will join us for another inspiring talk and intellectual conversation!

Beer is a serious business. And we’re not just talking about having a few pints at the local pub. Graduate students in the supply chain management degree program studied the beer industry as part of a research project last semester for ABInBev in conjunction with Olin’s Boeing Center for Technology, Information and Manufacturing (BCTIM).

Masters in Supply Chain Management students Yucong Li, Weiyi Tang, Pu Zhang, and Junyan Zhang, MBA student Chris Walling and operations management Ph.D. student Seung Hwan Jung, under the active supervision and expert advice of the BCTIM Director and professor of supply chain management, Dr. Panos Kouvelis, engaged in a logistics efficiencies improvement project with global brewer, ABInBev.

The team provided solutions to improve operations logistics between the brewer, their contracted trucking companies, and the network of their wholesalers in a project entitled “Shipment Optimization at AB/InBev”. The team’s recommendations and spreadsheet tools, after implementation by the company, will result in higher shipment volumes on any given day without the need for increased trucking capacities, and with potential labor cost reduction at the shipping docks.

Click here to read more about the project scope.

BCTIM_BugPreparing professionals for key supply chain positions is a BCTIM priority. BCTIM’s experiential opportunities via mini-consulting projects with its member companies are grooming the next generation of supply chain leaders from Olin Business School’s Master of Science in Supply Chain Management (MSSCM) and MBA students specializing in operations management and supply chains. The students on each mini-consulting team tackle critical technology, information and supply chain issues, and work to find innovative solutions to member companies’ operational and management challenges.

Five to seven student teams are assembled each semester to tackle research projects with BCTIM’s key member companies like Monsanto, BE Aerospace, Boeing, Edward Jones, Emerson, Sigma Aldrich and more.

Professor David Simchi-Levi of Engineering Systems at MIT, delivered the 11th Annual Meir Rosenblatt Memorial Lecture on Friday, Nov. 21 with a clear message on a change of direction in high impact operations management research. The lecture is sponsored by the Boeing Center for Technology, Information, and Manufacturing (BCTIM).

Guest Blog by: Panos Kouvelis and Guang Xiao

The title of his talk effectively encapsulates the message: “OM Research: From Problem Driven to Data Driven Research”.  In this lecture, he shared with the audience his experience and perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of doing research in the field of Operations Management from a practical point of view, and outlined a vision for the future of research in the operations management field.

His talk consisted of two main parts:

  • Paradigm 1: Problem Driven Research
  • Paradigm 2: Data Driven Research

For the problem driven part, he argued that the OM researcher should have the ability not only to apply theory in solving practical problems, but also to develop new theory inspired by the real world practice. To illustrate the former point (application of theory for solving complex real world problems) David described what he referred to as his “Manhattan project,” in which the “traveling salesman” algorithm was used to solve the New York City school bus routine problem, and resulted in significant cost savings, i.e., reduction of over 30%-40% in annual costs.

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Professor David Simchi-Levi of Engineering Systems at MIT.

For the latter one (generalizable theory from practical challenges and best practices), David used examples from his recently published work on process flexibility. The Pepsi Bottling Company consulted with him on solving practical operational challenges on how to balance resources to better match supply with demand. David and his students applied the concept of process flexibility (flexible resources are enabled to handle multiple operational tasks) and achieved significant benefits for the company.

Of course, flexible resources are also expensive undertakings, and the natural question that arises is to what degree the flexibility of a resource should be developed in order to obtain effective system performance meeting the demands placed upon it. The answer was, ‘not that much,’ and for a system appropriately designed to take advantage of its limited flexibility resources its performance quickly approaches the performance of the fully flexible system.

Seeing the power of process flexibility, they explored deeper and developed a theory explaining the intriguing rationale of why even little flexibility used appropriately can result in tremendous performance improvements.

Shifting his emphasis on the role of data driven research, which uses data not only to uncover symptoms of problems but delves deeper into understanding the nature of the “true” problem and then uses the same data to model and optimize the performance of the studied system, David used his work for the “Rue La La” online retailing business as an example for the approach.

When digging into the company’s large sales data, he and his students found that the retail pricing practices were highly influencing the consumer’s purchasing behavior. Consequently, they incorporated the dynamic pricing strategy and learned through experimentation lessons of induced consumer behavior from it to build “smart pricing algorithms” resulting in a more than 10% increase in revenue for the company.

Guang Xiao, Operations and Manufacturing Management PhD candidate

Guang Xiao, Operations and Manufacturing Management PhD candidate

Data driven research is a new research direction and thinking approach for the operations and supply management area, which will also require researchers with our unique combination of skill sets from diverse but analytically driven areas, such as Economics, Statistics, Econometrics, Stochastic Processes, Learning Theory, and Dynamic Optimization. It is a fruitful research with ample opportunities for high impact theory and valuable practical applications.

Panos Kouvelis, Director of The Boeing Center for Technology, Information, and Manufacturing and Emerson Distinguished Professor of Operations and Manufacturing Management

Panos Kouvelis, Director of BCTIM and Emerson Distinguished Professor of Operations and Manufacturing Management

David’s talk pointed out a trend and research direction that perfectly fits the philosophy and capabilities of our operations and supply chain management Olin faculty and fellows at our BCTIM Research Center. BCTIM will strongly pursue and sponsor activities in this direction and it will offer ample opportunities for both faculty and students in data driven research for high impact real world applications.

Please click here to view Mr. Simchi-Levi’s presentation.

BCTIM is buzzzzzing with activity; we’re busy, busy! With so many great events on the calendar, we’re expecting to see lots of bright faces, some familiar and some new!

Here’s a first look at what we’ve got coming up:

BCTIM’s Operational Excellence Seminar Series will start this year with John Stroup, CEO & President of Belden, Inc. presenting “A New Era in Manufacturing Management: Manufacturing Closer to Home Markets”. Join us on October 23rd for this interactive and intriguing lecture.

The Fall Lecture Seminar Series continues with the next lecture on November 7th, featuring Onur Boyabatli, visiting professor from Singapore Management University.

The 11th Annual Meir J. Rosenblatt Memorial Lecture will be November 21st. This special event is in honor Meir J. Rosenblatt, who taught at Olin Business School as the Myron Northrop Distinguished Professor of Operations and Manufacturing Management. This year’s Lecture will feature David Simchi-Levi of MIT, presenting “OM Research: From Problem-Driven to Data Driven Research”. Please visit our Rosenblatt Memorial site for more information and registration to this event.

Where an educator’s influence on a student ends cannot be said for sure, as knowledge is a tool that provides infinite possibilities. A single educator can have a profound impact on his/her pupils if passion is at the core of learning. Panos Kouvelis, the director of the Boeing Center for Technology, Information, and Manufacturing, agrees.

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Panos Kouvelis

Kouvelis is also the Emerson Distinguished Professor of Operations and Manufacturing Management.

Read more about his passion for education and BCTIM’s Partnership for Students here.

For more information about the Center, please visit www.olin.wustl.edu/BCTIM