UPS Team Wins Spring 2010 Senior Design Project Competition

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In a field of outstanding project teams, the UPS team stood out as the Spring 2010 winner of the renowned Senior Deign Project competition. Considered to be the most important and most challenging undergraduate industrial engineering course, Senior Design pushes students to apply what they have learned in the classroom in solving a complex real-world problem.

 With the top teams all being outstanding, Chen Zhou, associate professor and associate chair of undergraduate programs, stated that the overall quality was amazing and that the selection process was difficult.

ISyE Senior Design, which Zhou says has become known for its quality, challenge and rewards, has worked with organizations ranging from local startups to Fortune 100 companies to international humanitarian organizations. The impact of Senior Design projects has been felt not only in the Atlanta area, but across the country and as far away as Europe, Africa, and Asia. The average team is able to use its IE skills to create hundreds of thousands of dollars in value for the company they work with.

 For UPS, team members, Anish Bhatt, Justin Chmielewski, Nupur Patel, Rathin Ramesh, Nik Reddy, Ryan Smith, Zoheb Virani, and Ian Yancey, with faculty advisor Alex Shapiro, redesigned UPS’ warranty policy. Currently UPS spends $330,000 more than it recovers from its warranty system each year, and the team’s goal was to shift the focus from maximum dollars recovered to maximum net return. By using sophisticated data analysis and model building the team developed a drastically different approach to the warranty policy which, if implemented, could save UPS up to $1.8 million per year.

 Finalists in the competition were the Senior Design teams who worked with Burger King® Restaurant Operations, Radiant Systems, and Norfolk Southern Corporation.

Working on a project titled "Process Improvement of Burger King® Restaurant Operations", team members Jennifer LaPerre, Matthew Powers, Jared Trammell Sears, Stephen Spicher,Patrick Sugar, and Kristen Vila, under the guidance of faculty advisor Craig Tovey, addressed three areas of improvement for Burger King®: determining the optimal number of point-of-sale units, eliminating excessive labor hours, and reducing wait times in the drive-thru. The team developed the following three project deliverables: a stochastic model, a labor scheduling integer program, and a series of simulations. These resulted in a potential cost savings of over $6 nillion annually.

With guidance from faculty advisor Xiaoming Huo, team members Dillon Blakes, Josh Click, Ian Craig, Randy Darnowsky, Joel Feyereisen, Kristina Kaylen, Jesse Kent, and Mackenzie Weber developed a redesign project for Radiant Systems Field Services. The team recommended a facility layout redesign and an inventory management tool for their Radiant Systems’ field services division. Intensive data collection, a thorough simulation, labor optimization analysis, and robust sensitivity analysis resulted in reduced overtime, transfer/walking time, and linestock stockouts. Project deliverables will save Radiant Systems, the leading global manufacturer ofpoint-of-sale products, $1.28 million over the three- year lifetime of the project.

Shabbir Ahmed, associate professor and advisor to the Fall 2009 Senior Design winners, advised David Chen, Susan Curry, Aldren Lobo, Yatong Lu, Tom Minderman, MatthewThornton, and Sheng-Bo Zhu on their projected titled “Optimization of Locomotive Fueling Policy for Norfolk Southern Corporation.” The team worked with Norfolk Southern Railway to optimize its locomotive fueling policy. Implementation of a simulation-based optimization model gave an immediate value added of $8 million annually. The team recommended future changes, which will allow Norfolk Southern to increase its potential savings to $29 million.

All three teams gave presentations of their work on Wednesday, May 5, 2010, to a room filled with faculty, company sponsors, students and parents.

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


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Edie Cohen
  • Created:05/17/2010
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016



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