And the Spring 2017 Senior Design Finalists Are: Teams CDC Contact Tracing, CDC Smoke, Emory Discharge, and MBUSA Drone

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Thirty-one Senior Design teams from Georgia Tech’s Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE) completed real-world Capstone projects for the spring 2017 semester.

“The 31 spring 2017 Senior Design projects involved 234 students and 10 faculty advisors. The projects served a broad range of clients, from manufacturing, operations, logistics, warehousing, energy, financial systems, hospitals, online business, retail, and government. Several teams explored solutions involving new technologies, including crowd-sourcing delivery services, drone delivery of urgent orders, online collaboration services, and blue-tooth tracking of medical staff and patients,” said Leon McGinnis, professor emeritus and Senior Design coordinator.

“Every team provided significant value to their client, and a significant fraction of teams projected benefits valued at six or seven figures,” continued McGinnis. “As always, it was an intense and important learning experience for the students. The difficulty in narrowing down to four finalists for the ISyE Best of Senior Design is a testament to the high expectations, tough standards, and overall outstanding quality of our graduating seniors.”

The 31 teams presented their projects at the spring 2017 Capstone Expo on April 18, 2017. Out of this group, four teams — CDC Contact Tracing, CDC Smoke, Emory Discharge, and MBUSA Drone – were chosen as finalists to compete in the ISyE Best of Senior Design on May 3. Team MBUSA Drone was selected as the first-place winner.

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) engaged the MBUSA Drone team to identify how drone delivery could be valuably introduced as the first same-day part ordering option for its dealerships. The team designed a drone delivery solution to reduce part delivery time and loaner car cost and developed a coverage optimization model to determine the optimal locations to hold the drones and parts eligible for drone delivery.

MBUSA will be able to leverage the model's user interface to modify key parameters, including associated costs and drone capabilities, and view updated model results as well as their respective net present value. Implementing such a drone delivery solution will allow MBUSA to gain a first-mover advantage, an increase in customer satisfaction, and cost savings.

According to team leader Vikrant Jain, MBUSA will continue to build on the foundation created by the team’s delivery, with the ultimate goal of implementing drone delivery in the future. “Our project, from an IE perspective, was particularly unique,” Jain noted. “Our objective was not to simply improve a current process but rather to design a specific new process to valuably introduce drone delivery into the MBUSA's current part distribution system.”

The team presented two unique recommendations based on highest returns and highest shipments replaced, respectively.

If MBUSA implements a drone delivery system based on highest returns, they will realize a net present value of $66,414 with a total of 9,887 referral part shipments replaced. If MBUSA implements the alternative recommendation based on replacing the most shipments, they will realize a net present value of $15,729 with a total of 10,172 referral part shipments replaced. Replacing more referral part shipments will translate to greater delivery time savings, resulting in greater customer satisfaction – a factor not included in net present value.

“We could not have partnered with a better Senior Design team for our project,” said Angela Lee, who is a network support specialist for MBSUA Parts Logistics. “The team was professional and determined to exceed expectations on every level. They have set the bar high for all who participate in the Senior Design program going forward. It was exciting to engage in such a successful partnership this semester, and we look forward to continuing this partnership.”

In addition to Jain, team members included Ram Bhutani, Stephen Murphey, Ryan Rodwell, Austin Proctor, Alvin Tight, and Yanyang Zhao. They were advised by Associate Professor Santanu Dey.

Team CDC Contact Tracing developed a decision support tool to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify infected airline passengers during contact tracing investigations. Taking in pathogen and flight parameters, this novel application returns a transmission-risk model and analyzes alternative protocols. The application's versatility enables comprehensive scenario coverage, and its back-end allows for continuous improvement by health authorities nationwide. If the CDC adopts the revised protocol, the organization could save up to $300,000 per flight.

Team members included Jason Bermudez, Kevin Desprez, Alexander Kehres, Chungjae Lee, Leah Patterson, Suphaphat Petlerkwong, and Yuntong Zhu. They were advised by William W. George Chair and Professor Pinar Keskinocak.

Team CDC Smoke worked with the CDC to support a recent policy by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Effective February 3rd, 2017, all 1.3 million public housing units must go “smoke-free” within 18 months.

The team created a targeted approach to smoking cessation by estimating smoking prevalence within the public units, calculating the return-on-investment (ROI) of each cessation intervention at a granular level, and prioritizing recommendations that yield the highest returns. They also developed a tool, EXTINGUISH, that visualizes relevant data in order to help better utilize resources to connect smokers to cessation resources.

The values of the project include greater efficiency for health departments, better connections between agencies and cessation resources, and increased support of smokers wanting to quit. With this project, the team identified approximately $12 to $582 million dollars in savings (approximately six percent to 20 percent in cost reductions) for the stakeholders for different smoking cessation interventions.

Team members included Aaron Ahn, Kristie Choe, Vishal Mummigatti, Connor Owen, Jose Rodriguez, Diem Tran, Divya Vedula, and Jiali Zhao. They were advised by Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Professor Julie Swann.

Team Emory Discharge designed process changes and developed a unique tiered discharge procedure precipitating patient departure time from Emory Midtown Hospital. The team also implemented an expedited taxi arrangement, which indicated the viability of solutions with increased patient uptake throughout the pilot.

By facilitating patient flow, solutions are shown to reduce diversion by 2.6 percent, cut boarding times by 30 minutes, and allow Emory to serve 63 more ambulance arrivals per year.

Financially, the project yields a $306,000 increase in annual revenue and a $1.1 million net present value, while also increasing patient quality of care.

Team members included Samuel Curtsinger, Dylan Floyd, Joshua Kulas, Sean Monahan, Derek Nalodka, Emily Smith, Rachel Thorne, and Phillip Vetrano. They were advised by Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Professor Julie Swann.

During the spring 2017 Capstone Expo, a panel ISyE alumni judges chose two teams as the ISyE winners: Team CDC Contact Tracing (see above) and Team Equifax.

The Equifax Credit Marketing Services (CMS) team creates customer information reports for client marketing efforts. The CMS team had concerns with the lack of standardization in their current staffing and project assignment process. In fact, CMS has delivered 32 percent of projects late, or past the client committed date, over the past two years. 

Team Equifax created a labor allocation tool to help CMS efficiently assign employees to projects. In addition, they conducted a general process improvement to reduce total project completion time by implementing process manuals and training. Their tool and process improvement reduced late project percentage by nine percent, which opens opportunity for $5.5 million in additional revenue for CMS.

Team members included Divya Achtani, Shivum Agrawal, Maria Auslander, Yeji Lee, Jihwan Oh, Srida Saraogi, and Anju Suresh. They were advised by Professor Alexander Shapiro.



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Shelley Wunder-Smith
  • Created:05/09/2017
  • Modified By:Scott Jacobson
  • Modified:03/28/2018