Fall 2011: Railcar Management Senior Design Team Wins First Place

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After a semester of collaborating with corporate partners to solve an industry specific problem using new methodologies and innovative approaches in their solutions, three out of seventeen teams of undergraduate students in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering were chosen as finalist in the Senior Design Competition.

The three finalist teams, listed in alphabetical order by organization, include:

  • Caterpillar, Inc.
  • Railcar Management, Inc.
  • Whirlpool

The team who worked on a project sponsored by Railcar Management, Inc. (RMI), a leading software solutions provider for railroad companies, received the coveted first place award in the competition. Guided by faculty advisor, Xiaoming Huo, students Sikander Hajiyani, John Kang, Zachary Laguna, Sojeong Lee, Camilo Lotero, Clara Moon, and Tina Yu were chosen for their project “Private Fleet Optimization.”

“We are ecstatic with the results of our three month collaboration with Georgia Tech and these undergraduate students,” said David Bell, Senior Director of RMI’s ShipperConnect Solutions.  “The team was tasked with analyzing hundreds of rail shipment scenarios and transportation variables to deliver a solution that optimizes rail shipments and reduces transportation costs.  The projected savings are quite significant and we are evaluating how we can incorporate their findings into our rail fleet optimization solution.”

The two other teams (Caterpillar and Whirlpool) were honored as runners-up in the competition. 

The Caterpillar team included students Katie Davignon, Danielle DeBow, Christine Eldridge, Brad Gay, Young Gul Kim, Heeseung Moon, Courtney Suen, and Daniel Wood, guided by faculty advisor, Pelin Pekgun. Caterpillar purchases packaged products from over 1,000 suppliers globally.  Suppliers individually select their packaging material vendors, passing costs to Caterpillar.  To reduce costs by consolidating this large vendor base, the team designed and implemented a combinatorial auction in a project titled, “Caterpillar, Inc.: Consolidating Packaging Material Vendors to Reduce Supply Chain Costs.” This allows vendors to offer price discounts on product bundles as well as bid on individual products.  The team also developed a vendor selection tool via an integer program incorporating business constraints.  The solution provides an estimated annual savings of $700 thousand – $1 million in the Midwest region, and is scalable for global implementation.

The Whirlpool team was guided by faculty advisor Seong-Hee Kim, and included Michele Bertolino, Ana Herbst, Andy Jones, Adam Liem, Travis Nemes, Melanie O’Gorman, Samantha Russel, and Eric Sood. For their project titled “Batching Outbound Shipments for Whirlpool Corporation,” the team investigated the implementation of batch-picking shipments at a regional distribution center for Whirlpool Corporation, the world’s largest appliance manufacturer.  An Excel-based optimization tool was created to strategically batch shipments to more effectively utilize carrying capacity of clamping forklifts across the network.  Due to the decrease in labor hours, this could result in an estimated savings of $1.1 million annually.

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 five to seven 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.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Ashley Daniel
  • Created:12/22/2011
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016