The end of April was obviously a very tragic and difficult time. While we're thankful that nobody in the LGO community was directly affected by the attacks on the Boston Marathon and their aftermath, the suffering and tragedy both at MIT and in the broader community will stay with us for a long time. We are very grateful for all the notes of concern.
We are just finishing the admission of our 47 students in the class of 2015. We will send details of the class in the June report.
We're getting back to normal this week as we prepare for a very significant set of events. May 1 is our joint operating committee and governing board meeting, and May 2-3 is our alumni conference marking LGO's 25th anniversary. We look forward to seeing a large gathering, including 220 alumni who've already registered.
Donald B. Rosenfield
Senior Lecturer, Sloan School of Management
The MIT Leaders for Global Operations program was a finalist for the UPS George Smith Award, which recognizes academic programs for excellence in preparing students to become practitioners of operations research, management science or analytics.
The award from INFORMS (the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science) was presented on April 8 to the Naval Postgraduate School's Department of Operations Research at the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research. In addition to MIT LGO, the other finalist was the Lehigh University Enterprise System Center and Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Making the case for MIT LGO at the conference in San Antonio was program director Donald Rosenfield, MIT Sloan faculty co-director Georgia Perakis, and Femi Oti, LGO '13, while Gavin DeNyse, LGO '01, was on hand to answer questions. Also appearing in a prerecorded video was Jeff WiIke, LGO '93, senior VP for consumer business at Amazon.
"Our entry was a collective effort by our entire staff, and the work of the students was instrumental in our submitting a strong proposal," Rosenfield said. "In addition to Femi, Ashleigh Range and Brent Yoder [both LGO '13] were interviewed, and we were told that those interviews were very effective in our selection as finalists."
The UPS George D. Smith Prize is named in honor of the late UPS chief executive officer, who was a patron of operations researchers at the Fortune 500 corporation and was CEO from 1962-1972. Although his background was in finance, Smith had a keen engineering mind, and after learning about operations research in the 1940s, he recognized it as an engineering approach to making decisions and established it as a crucial tool for UPS as it grew from a regional to a national carrier.
Brian Petersen (back row, light green shirt) and his Verizon
colleagues on 12-12-12.
MIT Sloan recently profiled Brian Petersen, LGO '13, whose internship project was spent at Verizon Wireless in the Centralized Returns Warehouse, in Ft. Worth, Texas, working on a way to improve the processes to handle phone remanufacturing and warranty-fulfillment. To this day, the company continues to use the piece of supply chain software he developed.
Petersen worked for Viju Menon, LGO '94, vice president of supply chain management, on reverse supply chain forecasting. He was tasked with finding ways to keep the correct number of refurbished phones in inventory and improving the time it takes to fix a cell phone and get it back to its owner. He looked at the historical defect rate data and then assessed the company's inventory needs. Verizon has to stock inventory for many different models because they have to support phone returns for more than three years from model launch.
"I looked at ways to make sure that there was enough stock. You don't want to have too much inventory because the value of the inventory begins to decline," Petersen noted. "Having too much inventory at the end of a phone's life is expensive, too. You want to sell enough of the inventory returned by customers to maximize benefit to Verizon. I looked into what the right amount of inventory to sell would be."
Petersen relied on what he learned from both his LGO classmates and courses while interning—noting his Engineering Probability and Statistics (15.064J), System Optimization and Analysis for Operations (15.066J), and Modeling Risk, Dynamics, and Decisions (ESD.862) classes were extremely helpful while at Verizon Wireless.
LGOs visit GM in São Paulo
Brazil is a lovely getaway spot at the end of a long winter—but for about a dozen LGO students, it was also a place for adding to their first-hand knowledge of operations and manufacturing.
The LGO curriculum includes an international plant trek every March, and this year's overseas destinations were the Dell, General Motors and Embraer facilities in São Paulo, as well as Samsung in Manaus, Brazil.
The Dell factory was "awesome—very lean, very organized," Jane Guertin, LGO '14, wrote in her LGO blog, Supply Jane Management. The facility included an area where a group of employees can work on process improvement ideas in a low-cost, low-risk environment," she noted. "They really seem to embrace the ideas around continuous improvement, and the worker morale was extremely high."
At GM, the students watched workers feed metal sheets into huge stamping machines, and saw the painting area for the cars—something they didn't get a chance to visit on the domestic plant trek visit to GM in Lansing, Mich., in January.
"It was surprising to see that the operations, outside of slightly less automation, were almost the same as we had seen before. I would have expected more differences between a newer U.S. plant in the heart of auto country and a decades-old plant in Brazil," said Paul Meggs, LGO '14.
Find out about Manaus and LGOs on the Amazon — read the whole story
MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer
In an article and video interview for the MIT Sloan Experts series, LGO program director Don Rosenfield argued that manufacturing jobs can return to the U.S., and that "a key component of that return involves innovation to facilitate product variety."
In the key section of his argument, Rosenfield wrote, "U.S. manufacturers can gain competitive advantages over those foreign manufacturers by offering product variety. When you're based closer to your customers and it only takes a few days to get a product into a warehouse, store or customer's home, variety suddenly becomes much more affordable and feasible. You can produce products based on market demand without worrying about large inventory costs and reserve stocks. You can build to order without fear that large quantities of your product will remain unpurchased in warehouses."
He went on to cite New Balance and Zara as examples of companies that had succeeded in part through their emphasis on product variety.
Andrew McAfee, LGO
'90, and Prof. Erik
Brynjolfsson are co-
directors of MIT Sloan's
new Initiative for the
Andrew McAfee, LGO '90, is associate director and principal research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business. MIT Sloan recently profiled McAfee's work with Prof. Erik Brynjolfsson as co-director of MIT Sloan's Initiative for the Digital Economy, which focuses on ways in which increasing technological innovation can lead to job growth.
As the article states, "Brynjolfsson and McAfee describe themselves as digital optimists. They believe not only that technological innovation has not and will not stagnate, but that it can also mean a better economy and a better society for everyone." The basis for this optimism is in the potential collaborations of economists, artificial intelligence experts, finance experts, and innovative researchers in groups such as the MIT Media Lab, whose joint efforts can help society find ways for job creation to keep pace with technological change.
The LGO web seminar series continues with several speakers this spring. These sessions will be conducted over WebEx, and speakers will conduct Q&A sessions after their seminar presentations. Previous presentations by Matt Vokoun, LGO '05, and Prof. Andrew Lo of MIT Sloan are archived on the LGO TechTV channel.
To learn more about the seminars and to register for the WebEx sessions, please visit:
Friday, May 10, noon ET:
Professor Zeynep Ton, MIT Sloan: "From Bad Jobs to Good Jobs: How Successful Retailers Use Operations to Break the Tradeoff Between Good Jobs and Low Prices"
Professor Ton is a key instructor of LGO as the co-leader with Don Rosenfield of 15.769 (Operations Strategy). Her work on retail jobs has appeared in the Harvard Business Review and she will publish a book on the topic this fall. She also presented this research to His Holiness the Dalai Lama during a recent seminar at MIT.
To connect LGO partner companies with potential LGO alumni job prospects, this year we've started a regular section listing LGO partner opportunities. If you work at a partner company and want to include a posting in this section, please contact Josh Jacobs.
At Amazon, we are seeking the best and brightest leaders in the Manufacturing and Operations space. Our leaders will be challenged to lead and develop large teams, as well as show the ability to analytically problem-solve in a very metrics-driven culture. We value strong engineering backgrounds and those who bring new and innovative ideas and solutions. Whether it is within our fulfillment center network or our supply chain and transportation groups, we are looking for individuals who can demonstrate a track record of successfully leveraging Lean Six Sigma tools and concepts to drive process improvement. Amazon is experiencing rapid expansion in North America and globally: please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore the possibility of joining our team.
Director of Emerging Regions ACES—Seattle, WA
Amazon is seeking a Director of Emerging Regions ACES who will build and lead ACES teams for Emerging Markets. ACES (Amazon Customer Excellence System) is Amazon.com's innovative program for driving process and customer experience improvement. ACES brings together the tools of Lean, Six Sigma, technology, and Amazon's customer-obsessed culture to drive continuous customer experience improvement.
The Director of Amazon Customer Excellence System (ACES) is responsible for implementing the ACES system enabling Amazon Emerging Regions Fulfillment Operations to benefit from the productivity gains available via Lean Six Sigma.
In this role you will develop and lead a team of senseis who identify, create, develop and integrate innovative solutions and programs that lead to improvements in our Emerging Regions ACES Programs. This highly visible position has primary leadership responsibility for implementing continuous improvement, standardization and best practice development across operations at multiple locations around the world. This position reports directly to the Director, Emerging Regions and must exercise considerable judgment in the identification and execution of strategic continuous improvement plans and the tactical project implementation and completion process.
Director, Emerging Regional Operations — Seattle, WA
Amazon.com's success is built on a foundation of customer obsession, and the Director, Emerging Regional Operations will lead multiple Amazon Fulfillment Centers, which are the last Amazon touchpoint in the customer experience. The Director, Emerging Regional Operations is an extraordinarily complex leadership role, requiring an executive to balance flawless daily execution with the long-term development of a team. The role requires a detailed understanding and ability to balance every operational component of multiple facilities from employee needs to IT, from process technology to process improvement. A successful executive will be able to provide strong vision and direction for the team while fostering bottoms-up input and participation in process improvement from all levels of the organization. This role will serve as the face of the organization to thousands of employees across North America. Amazon's Director, Emerging Regional Operations will manage Fulfillment facilities globally which consist of 200,000 to 1 million square feet with 500 to 1,500 full-time hourly and salaried employees. At peak these numbers will increase to 2,000 to 4,000/facility. The role will have a budget responsibility of $1.5B+.
Director, Operations Engineering, Emerging Regions — Seattle, WA
The successful candidate will lead the Operations Engineering team for our Emerging Regions. The Operations Engineering Emerging Regions team works with the Global Fulfillment Design and Engineering groups in the development, selection, construction, facility design and layout, capital equipment budget and selection, advanced mechanical engineering and software development for Global Fulfillment Center Execution in Emerging Regions. The team provides global business expertise to exceed customer expectations while minimizing end-to-end supply chain costs. This is a highly visible position that is critical to the company's operations management and forward capability. The fast-paced growth and scaling of our fulfillment network relies on the innovation and operational excellence of this impactful leader.
Fulfillment Center General Manager — Multiple U.S./international locations
Amazon.com's success is built on a foundation of customer obsession, and the GM of an Amazon Fulfillment Center is the last line of defense in the customer experience. The Fulfillment Center GM is an extraordinarily complex leadership role, requiring an executive to balance flawless daily execution with the long-term development of a team. The role requires a detailed understanding and ability to balance every operational component of a facility from employee needs to IT, from process technology to process improvement. A successful executive will be able to provide strong vision and direction for the team while fostering bottoms-up input and participation in process improvement from all levels of the organization. The Fulfillment Center GM serves as the face of the organization to potentially thousands of employees and the entire community where the center is located. Our corporate leadership depends upon the fulfillment centers to deliver the ultimate in customer experience and satisfaction, and it is a role that is taken extremely seriously throughout the company.
Amazon's field leadership roles manage 500,000 to 1 million square foot facilities with 500 to 1,500 full time hourly and salaried employees. At peak these numbers will increase to 2,000 to 4,000. Many of our sites handle over $1B in revenue per year with a $60-100 million budget.
Contact for this position: Brent Gibbons
Senior Operations Manager — Multiple U.S. locations
Our Senior Operations Managers are responsible for all budgetary, people development and operations objectives for one functional area of our Fulfillment Center (Inbound or Outbound). Additional responsibilities include managing and leading a team of Operations and Area Managers, coaching and mentoring the team to ensure performance objectives are met, building positive employee relations, and building leadership bench strength within the Fulfillment Center.
Performance Manager — North Andover, MA (moving to Boston in 2015)
Converse believes in unleashing the creative spirit. We want to be more than a brand; we want to do some good out there. We strive to foster originality, promote uniqueness, challenge the boring, and make more art. And when we hire, we look for those who believe in creating, too.
Associate Director, Technical Operations Global Planning and Capacity Management — Holly Springs, NC
This role is responsible for leading detailed assessments and analyses which drive decision-making on manufacturing network strategy, make-vs.-buy decisions, capacity investments, and supporting assessment of new commercial opportunities or acquisition of new products / technologies by NV&D. This role is also responsible for leading operational excellence initiatives and capability building projects within Technical Operations. This role works with cross-functional stakeholders to generate clear recommendations for senior management.
Contact: Tom Hensey, Head, Global Planning and Capacity Management
Positions are in the Supply Chain Strategy and Analytics team located in Basking Ridge, NJ. For more info contact Laura Currie.
Supply Chain Data Scientist: Opening for a skilled expert in data mining, predictive modeling and information assessment. The Data Scientist will be part of a leading-edge advanced analytics team responsible for driving strategic efforts across the Supply Chain organization, leveraging advanced analytics to optimize processes and procedures that lead to improved device life cycle management, working capital optimization and cost reduction.
This month we feature two projects that were done at ABB on technologies associated with the energy grid. The first is by Erick Corona on the use of smart-grid sensor technology and asset health analytical tools in electrical power distribution. The second is by Eugene Minh on a strategic technology roadmap for devices used for distribution protection and control.
Erick G. Corona
Name: Erick G. Corona
Company: ABB Power Products Medium Voltage (PPMV)
Supervisor: Stuart Laval, Project Manager, Smart Grid PPMV
Champion: Doug Voda, Vice President, Smart Grid PPMV
Academic Advisors: John G. Kassakian, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Roy E. Welsch, Professor of Statistics and Management Science
Title: Evaluation and Implementation of Smart-Grid Sensor Technology for Asset Health Analytical Tools in Electrical Power Distribution
Summary: The medium-voltage electric industry is a very conservative and risk-averse sector that has undergone very little change in the past 30 years when compared to other technologically dependent activities, but this reality is rapidly shifting.
The advent of cost-effective and reliable telecommunications, coupled with the drastic price decrease of wireless communication and sensing technologies, are steering the industry towards an information-based era that is generically known as Smart Grid.
A growing concern for electric utilities in the United States is the advanced age of the distribution infrastructure. With an emphasis on medium voltage circuit breakers, the project's objective is to identify sensor technology and analytics that will allow ABB customers to assess the health of their equipment and utilize this information for O&M decisions. The sensors and analytics proposed by this project are justified both technically and financially.
Results from research looking at equipment reliability and applicable sensing technologies indicate that early detection of mechanical timing abnormalities and gradual increase in apparatus temperature are the most effective means to mitigate equipment degradation and imminent failure.
These findings support previous work that ABB has conducted in temperature sensing technology and have driven the remainder of the project to focus on the characterization of the breaker's operating solenoid current as a means to estimate overall equipment health and aging trends.
The system design incorporating both apparatus temperature and mechanical timing sensing capabilities was tested and verified in a lab environment. From a mechanical timing standpoint, lab testing also served to identify key independent variables required for the characterization of medium-voltage circuit breaker equipment.
Analytics for a reactor switching application were designed and incorporated into the above-mentioned system, and is now being piloted on six circuit breakers belonging to a large US Investor Owned Utility. A year from now, once enough of data has been collected, further refinements to the analytics engine will be possible.
The expectation is that ABB will incorporate this project's findings into the design of future medium-voltage asset health products.
Hyunsik Eugene Minh
Name: Hyunsik Eugene Minh
Supervisor: Harsh M. Karandikar, VP, Product Management, PPMV NA
Academic Advisors: John G. Kassakian, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Roy E. Welsch, Professor of Statistics and Management Science
Title: Strategic Technology Roadmap for Distribution Protection and Control Devices
Summary: ABB, a leading global power and automation technologies company, is headquartered in Switzerland with a strong market share worldwide, but its position in North America is not dominant. Its power products business is subdivided into the high voltage, medium voltage, and transformers business units. Each suborganization comprises the global office for strategic decision-making and the regional offices responsible for execution and market specific strategies. ABB is the classic example of a matrix-structured organization. The ABB Power Products Medium Voltage (PPMV) head office in U.S. is located in Lake Mary, FL and oversees additional operations in Coral Springs, FL, Pinetops, NC, Florence, SC, and SLP, Mexico.
The ABB Relion family of microprocessor-based protection and control relays has been developed using a platform strategy where core hardware and software components are shared across all global markets. The basic product is designed and developed in Finland, and the final customizations and market-specific tests are done in the U.S. As a result of a more regionally focused strategy, future product platform development will be based more strongly upon a distributed development model. The development cycle of a new relay platform is 5-7 years. Thus, in order to prepare for next generation, it is the right time to understand and investigate the technology trends and market.
The technology roadmap project is part of a new R&D initiative in U.S. to understand component technologies and trends relevant to the relay development. The project will focus on understanding the technical requirements for the product, identifying key components, and developing technology roadmap and analysis to speed up the development process for the next generation relays. CPU module and communication technologies were identified as key elements for the relay to implement Smart Grid applications. Each element has been further analyzed into several components. The first half of the internship focused on technical analysis on the CPU module providing first-level architecture suggestions and timeline for next steps. The second half focused on communication technology for the relay researching on Smart Grid applications, wire/wireless technologies and current relay communication interfaces.
If you have companies or areas of research you'd like to see highlighted in the monthly newsletter, please contact Ted Equi (email@example.com).
When Chris Garvin graduated from LGO a year ago, the program lost one of its champion bloggers. Thankfully, Chris has not lost his passion for LGO legends and yarns. Chris is in the operations leadership rotation program at Amgen based in Rhode Island and kindly wrote an update with his insights on life, LGO and his career one year after graduating. Among the many highlights you'll find are his praise for the LGO alumni network, and his calculation of the reorder point for the green tea in his kitchenette so as to avoid the unpleasant stockout that took place a few months ago. Contains equations.
Please make our students' blogs a regular part of your reading about LGO. If you're interested in the current state of the program, these blogs are a great place to start:
Videos of current students, as well as archived videos from the LGO conference on "The Future of Manufacturing in the U.S." in May 2012, LGO web seminar videos, and other notable videos are available through our MIT TechTV collection. Please browse the collection and let us know what other videos you'd like to see.
SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series
Technical Debt in Large Systems: Understanding the Cost of Software Complexity
Daniel J. Sturtevant, Ph.D. MIT and MIT SDM alumnus
Monday, May 6, 2013, noon-1 p.m. ET
Log in to the Virtual Community to see LGO alumni information, find other alumni, update your information, or find theses. If you have trouble getting in, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or use the "forgot password" button. If the email address you submit is in our system, your username and password will be sent to you.
Josh Jacobs, LGO Director of Operations and Partner Integration (email@example.com, 617-253-2959)