The World Food Program Team Takes First Place in the Spring 2014 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 World Food Program team received the first place award in the Spring 2014 Senior Design Competition. Students Maria Ayers, Lakshmi Sangeeta Gadepalli, Ashfaque (Ash) Kachwala, Tahsin Munir, Cane Punma, Gabriel Rodriguez, and Yuvraj (Yuvi) Singh, guided by their faculty advisor Ozlem Ergun , were chosen for their project WFP Global Supply Chain Optimization.

The World Food Program (WFP), is the largest humanitarian organization fighting world hunger, has a decentralized decision making process across its supply chain.  In order to centralize commodity, sourcing, and routing decisions, the team created a customizable optimization tool, based on a multi-period multi-commodity minimum cost network flow model.  The tool outputs the most cost-effective solution given optional constraints over a planning horizon.  With this visibility, WFP can potentially save $34 million or 12.91% of the supply chain costs.

Finalists in the competition were two senior design teams who worked with Heidelberg Spares and Manheim SureSell.

The Heidelberg Spares team members include Gian Di Carlo, Benedict Herbst, Christoph Koehler, Lior Koren, Andrea Pava, Mark Vaisberg, and Daniel Zuleta and their faculty advisor is Doug Bodner. Their project was on Predictive Replacement for Spare Parts of Printing Presses. This project improves the service business of Heidelberg USA, a company that manufactures industrial printing presses, by shifting it towards a proactive service model.  Utilizing reliability theory, correlation analysis, optimization, and simulation, the team created a suite of tools that identify economically optimal part replacement times, helping prevent Heidelberg customers from incurring unexpected, expensive machine failures. With this win-win solution, Heidelberg has a potential service revenue increase of up to $49M, and its customers have potential downtime reduction of 40%.

The Manheim SureSell Team members include Hannah Berkhan, Layla Bouzoubaa, Alicia Hess, Claudia Lara, Maryann Remy, and Alexandra Underwood. Their faculty advisor is Sebastian Pokutta. Their project is titled Risk Transfer Mechanism through SureSell. Manheim facilitates more than $50 billion annually by auctioning automobiles for outside sellers but only earns revenue itself when cars sell.  To encourage sellers to accept bids rather than continuously retry at auction, the team developed a risk-transfer mechanism, SureSell, in which Manheim will pay the difference between the highest bid and the market price of cars that have been auctioned four times but have not yet sold.  SureSell returns pricing control to Manheim and increases car conversion rates.

According to ISyE Professor Emeritus Leon McGinnis, the three teams collectively created between $40 million and as much as $100 million in potential value for their clients. He also cites that all senior design participants worked on projects with remarkable outcomes. “The breadth of projects and the overall quality of the work is quite impressive, and it may spur us to think about ways to make the undergraduate curriculum even better,” said McGinnis.

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.


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