Spring 2009: AJC Senior Design Team Wins First Place

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This spring, the Senior Design team who worked on a project sponsored by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) snagged the much sought after first place in the end-of-semester Senior Design Competition.

The AJC project team consisted of Megan Babb, Jonathan Baggett, Corey Barthelemy, Katie Dickenson, Amanda Hughes, and Katie Rogovin, working alongside advisor Anton Kleywegt. The team's project, entitled Creating Software to Compute the Optimal Number of Newspapers to Deliver to Each Sales Outlet, was a complex application of the familiar 'newsvendor' problem. The team developed a software package that calculates the optimal number of newspapers for each of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's 7,500 sales outlets on a daily basis. The team's optimization model accounts for each outlet's distinct sales revenues, printing costs, recycling revenues, advertising revenues, and the possibilities of theft and shrinkage.

"We are extremely thrilled to have won senior design and would especially like to thank our faculty advisor, Dr. Anton Kleywegt for his support and guidance throughout the semester," said Dickenson. "We would also like to thank our client advisor at the AJC, Mike Burlingame, for all of his help and enthusiasm as well."

Three other teams were honored as runners-up in the competition. In alphabetical order by organization, the three finalists honored include:
* Cooper Lighting, advised by Anton Kleywegt;
* GE Energy Airfoils, advised by Shabbir Ahmed; and
* UPS Mail Innovations, advised by Christos Alexopoulos.

The Cooper Lighting team was comprised of Melissa Gegenheimer, Tessa Hilterbrandt, Russell Kohler, Matthew Nelson, Stephanie Robbins, and Matthew Sheffield with advisor Anton Kleywegt. Their project was entitled Cooper Lighting Sales Forecasting. In 2008, Cooper Lighting experienced a 28% error in its sales forecast for one of its most popular models. To remedy this, the student team analyzed historic sales and seasonal trends to develop a sales forecasting model that incorporates both internal company data and external economic factors. The team's forecasting models and inventory management recommendations could save Cooper Lighting over $100,000 each year.

The GE Energy Airfoils team included Michael Chan, Tareq Dowla, Myles Lefkovitz, Tanzil Manawar, Lance Sun, and Brian Tsang with advisor Shabbir Ahmed. Their project, entitled Improving Quality Audits for GE Energy Airfoils, employed correlation studies to reduce inspection times in the company's manufacturing processes. The team also designed an automated database to provide higher visibility for quality levels and performed a linear regression to estimate more accurate in-process tolerance levels. The project found a potential for GE Energy Airfoils to reduce defect, capital, and purchasing costs by $825,000 annually.

The UPS Mail Innovations (UPSMI) team consisted of Patrick Brown, Ricardo Corrales, Kathryn Currier, Ahmet Emre Eser, Helen Reichardt, and Jennifer Smith with advisor Christos Alexopoulos. Their project, titled UPS Mail Innovations Facility Expansion Design, investigated the infrastructure upgrade UPS would need to undergo to extend its Mail Innovations service to parcels that weigh up to 10 pounds. The team used Automod simulation software to design the layouts for manual and automated mail-sorting facilities. The team's recommendations will help UPSMI expand into the small package market and capture a significant market share estimated at $1.7 billion per year.

For more information on the senior design program, or if you are interested in sponsoring a student team, please visit


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