The Home Depot Team Wins First Place in the Fall 2013 Senior Design Competition

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Out of twenty four teams of undergraduate students in the Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE), the Home Depot team received the first place award in the Fall 2013 Senior Design Competition. Students Lauren Kley, Drew Keller, Michael Gilkenson, Bryce Ferguson, Robert Faulk, Silvana Vivanco, Jing Mei Ho, and Melanie Ostis, guided by their faculty advisor, Steve Hackman, were chosen for their project “Analyzing Paint Department Operations to Improve Customer Service.”  

The Home Depot is an American retailer of home improvement and construction products and services. The senior design team redefined how The Home Depot should staff and service customers in their paint departments. The team created a customer service simulation analysis tool that the corporate labor team can use to explore for each store when associates should be staffed and how their roles could best be used to meet changing customer needs throughout the day . The team designed easy-to-implement policy changes that will simultaneously lower wait times and lead to a projected annual multi-million incremental profit due to increased sales.

Finalists in the competition were two senior design teams who worked with Coca-Cola Refreshments and United Soft Plastics.

The Coca-Cola Refreshments team includes students Erinn Manby, Drew Downey, Meredith Freeman, Kevin Jamison, Sahil Ramakrishnan, Natalie Souther, and Max Tanski. Their faculty advisor is Ton Dieker. The purpose of their project is to reduce Coca-Cola Refreshments’ total inventory costs at three in-scope plants by developing new inventory replenishment policies. By creating three new policies and customizing policy parameters for each raw material, they have identified a 36% reduction in total annual inventory costs.

The United Soft Plastics team includes students Yash Dabriwal, Po-Hsian Wang, Patrick Koehler, Chang Woong Yoon, Patrick Chen, Dylan Arnold, Cathy Nguyen, and John Kincheloe.  Their faculty advisor is Leon McGinnis.  United Soft Plastics, Inc. (USP), located in Lawrenceville, GA, is a manufacturer of customized thermoplastic elastomers. Experiencing quality complaints, late customer deliveries and excessive managerial time spent on clerical activities, USP asked for a senior design team to investigate potential process improvements. The team analyzed the production process, developed new layouts and new standard operating procedures. In addition, the team developed an Excel-based production scheduling tool, and an Access-based application for inter department communication. USP can expect approximately a 35% reduction in costs from incurred quality complaints, 60% reduction in late orders, and elimination of almost 3 hours per day in clerical work by senior managers.

All senior students in ISyE culminate their undergraduate educational experience with the Senior Design course in order to provide firsthand experience at solving real world problems in a team environment. Students typically work in teams of six to eight individuals with 15-25 Senior Design teams running each semester. Each group is advised by an ISyE faculty member, and the faculty coordinator manages the overall course. Companies interested in submitting a project for consideration can either contact Joel Sokol, at 404 894-6484 or can post a project through the ISyE webpage at Senior design teams look for projects before the start of the fall and spring semesters.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Lizzie Millman
  • Created:01/02/2014
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016