Fall*2008 Senior Design: First Place Goes to the Manheim Seattle Team

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During fall semester's Senior Design course, students wrapped up their undergraduate experience by spending some long, hard, intense hours producing some remarkably high quality projects with real-world implications.

"Senior Design was simultaneously one of the best and most gut-wrenching experiences I've had at Tech. I had never before been part of such a large collaborative effort; we were continually challenged and pushed to our limits. We learned to use our course work as a base and then go beyond,* said Margaret Reinhard, one of the students on the Manheim Seattle team who came in first place in the finalist presentations.

Reinhard and team (Sanin Fetic, Alejandro Gordillo, Jacques Gouws, Jorge Guzman, Lindsay Mills, and advisor Craig Tovey) worked on a project for Manheim Seattle entitled, Improving Operations at Manheim Seattle.

All projects in senior design must have some design component and provide a value-added change within an organization. For the Manheim Seattle project, the team recommended facility and operational changes for Manheim, the world's largest automobile resale company, at its Seattle site. The team also clarified the impact of short queues during auctions, and performed a pilot study of productivity comparison of 77 auction sites. The methodologies used included innovative data capture, detailed simulations, 3D facility layout models, and optimization-based productivity assessment. Because of the company-wide implications, the group has been invited to reprise the report to company executives.

Three teams were honored as runners-up in the competition. The runners-up are (in alphabetical order by organization): Emory Crawford Long Hospital, advised by Christos Alexopoulos; Platt Electric, advised by Shabbir Ahmed; and the World Food Programme, advised by Ozlem Ergun.

The Emory Crawford Long Hospital Emergency Department team included Mark Braza, Nick Grivas, Junaid Qureshi, Eileen Santo Domingo, Vivian Soler, and Ryan Williams with advisor Christos Alexopoulos. Their project titled, Application of Real-time Simulation to Improve Patient Satisfaction in the Emory Crawford Long Hospital Emergency Department, used a predictive tool for patient wait-times in Emergency Departments. The tool utilizes discrete-event simulation in combination with real-time data to generate predictions. This work will enable low-severity patients to be scheduled in off-peak hours while increasing customer satisfaction and recapturing lost revenue form patients who leave prior to completion.

The Platt Electric team included Sara Cermenaro, Jonthan Duarte, Julio V*squez, Mariana Villegas, Taylor Virgil, and Luis Willis with advisor Shabbir Ahmed. Their project titled, Distribution Center Location and Expansion Plan, provides Platt Electric with different options for the expansion of their business and the addition of 110 branches. Using demand forecasting and robust optimization modeling, the team recommended plans including when and where to locate new distribution centers, the branch opening schedule, and the branch allocation to the distribution centers over time. The team's recommendation could save Platt approximately $3.2 million per year.

The World Food Programme team included Santiago Aviles, Elhadj Bah, Manuel Jimenez, Alvara Morales, Lawrence Li, and James Wade with advisor Ozelm Ergun. Their project titled, World Food Programme Supply Chain Optimization, tackled two problems: lack of smooth operations due to variability in donations, and lack of standardized inventory management methodology. They created an inventory ordering tool ready for immediate implementation and a mathematical model of the supply chain to optimize its operations and study long- term strategic changes. After testing historic and simulated data, the team traveled to Rome, Italy, to present their findings to the World Food Programme, demonstrating significant benefits in increased service levels and decreased costs through the use of their models.

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


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Barbara Christopher
  • Created: 01/13/2009
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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