A Bridge between the Classroom and Real-world Practice: MS Students in Supply Chain Engineering Create Framework for a Warehouse Design Tool through Capstone Project
An important component of the Master of Science in Supply Chain Engineering (MS SCE) program at Georgia Tech is the capstone project, required of all students prior to graduation. The project provides students with professional practice experience, and creates an opportunity to apply ideas from the classroom to a real-world project, which in many cases is sponsored by a business, government agency, or other organization. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor, students may complete their capstone project by working with a small project team or by pursuing an individual internship.
“These capstone projects require students to demonstrate effective use of supply chain engineering methodology and also to deliver significant value to the sponsor or for the research project,” said Alan Erera, associate professor in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE). “We believe that one key aspect of our program that differentiates us from our competitors is that we require the students to get hands-on experience in applying analytical skills to problems before they graduate.”
After an intensive twelve months in the program, the most recent class of supply chain engineering master’s students has successfully completed a set of capstone projects. One of the groups this year was advised by ISyE Professor Emeritus Leon McGinnis.
Steffen Schieweck, Tim Skrotzki, and Martin Thormann worked on a project titled “Development of a Framework for a Warehouse Design Tool in SysML (Systems Modeling Language).” The goal of their project was to help designers make design decisions about very complex warehouse facilities using an engineering approach with integrated software tools.
“The project was about creating a framework, or tool, which guides the designer through a specific design process,” said Thormann.
Throughout the course of their project, Schieweck, Skrotzki, and Thormann worked closely together in the lab, sharing intense discussions about their project, cross-checking each other’s work, and gaining valuable feedback.
“One of the benefits of working with a team is that it increases the quality of your work,” said Schieweck.
The four months spent working on the capstone project gave the team an opportunity to look at a real world situation and decide how to examine it as an engineering problem. As they worked to complete their project, their faculty advisor provided support and guidance.
“Professor McGinnis gave us insight into the real challenges warehouse designers face on a daily basis. Through that insight and working with real data, we gained practical experience that will be valuable to us in a future real-world setting,” said Skrotzki.
McGinnis, who describes the capstone project as “a bridge between the classroom and real-world practice,” enjoyed advising this group of students and commended their work both on the project as well as in the classroom. McGinnis is part of a team of faculty members who teach SysML at Georgia Tech, the only academic institution working as a named contributor on the SysML project.
The MS SCE programis a professional graduate degree program created to meet the growing demand for business-savvy engineers who can design and operate highly complex global supply chains. The program's 12-month curriculum delivers knowledge in analytic methods, supply chain engineering, and enterprise management while building professional practice skills and real-world industry experience. For more information visit www.sce.gatech.edu.