LGO Alumni Newsletter August 2014

Message from Thomas Roemer

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Thomas A. Roemer

Dear Alumni,

I am happy to report that I am settling in at LGO and am trying to catch up on 26 years of LGO history, processes and people. Fortunately, Don will be around for the summer, easing me into my new role. The exceptional staff at LGO are also instrumental in getting me up to speed. I truly appreciate their hard work and dedication to provide continuity.

I am currently en route to visit Boeing in Seattle and am excited that many alumni in the area have registered to meet with me during a Happy Hour on Monday night. I plan to hold similar events in the future when traveling away from Boston so I can meet many of you. Conversely, if you are in Boston, please drop by and meet old and new friends.

Working with the current students and seeing their enthusiasm, effective committee work and the emergence of the distinct LGO culture and values among them has been particularly rewarding for me. It's good to be back!

Thomas A. Roemer
Executive Director, MIT Leaders for Global Operations Program

Danaher, PG&E are LGO's newest industry partners

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Two new companies—Danaher Inc. and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E)—have joined the roster of LGO partner companies. The additions bring the partner company total to 25—18 of which are in the Fortune 500 or Global Fortune 500.

Read more about our new partners

A toast to remember: Video from Don Rosenfield retirement celebration now available on LGO VC

donfest

The LGO retirement celebration for Don Rosenfield at Fenway Park on May 15, 2014 featured toasts and tributes from alumni, the MIT leadership, current students and staff, and friends of Don—as well as a “Stump Don” segment with hidden alumni helping Don guess their identities.

Read more about the celebration and watch the video


LGOs trek to India and Africa for GlobalHealth Lab

K.C. Collins MBA '15 (left) and Daniel Roberson LGO '15 (center) observe a speech therapy session conducted by video conference in Muzaffarpur, India.

MIT Sloan’s GlobalHealth Lab in the spring took several LGO students off campus—way off campus—to help improve health care in sub-Saharan Africa and India.

Teams of students in GlobalHealth Lab collaborate with partner organizations to address specific factors that limit the delivery of health care to the people who most need it. The student teams start on campus, working with leaders at the overseas organization via Skype and other means as they’re guided by faculty and domain experts. Then they do intensive on-site fieldwork during MIT’s spring break in March.

Daniel Roberson (LGO ’15) and his teammates worked at a hospital in Varanasi, India to see if telemedicine clinics would be feasible. The team reviewed procedures and infrastructure at the G.S. Memorial Plastic Surgery Hospital in Varanasi, India, which serves cleft lip/palate and burn patients free of charge thanks to NGO funding. Telemedicine would support screening and follow-up care while freeing patients from having to make a multi-day journey to the hospital.

As well as providing a crash course in understanding infrastructure and business in India, the project also developed Roberson’s leadership and communications skills. “It forced me into an environment where I knew next to nothing and was still expected to succeed. I used several parts of the LGO playbook early on in the project to understand the constraints of the hospital,” he said.

Details about the telemedicine project can be found in a blog by team member Michelle Villagra, a first-year MBA student at MIT Sloan.

Also in India this spring was a group including Guadalupe Mota (LGO ’15) that collaborated with India’s Institute of Public Health to understand systemic failures that impact quality of maternal care in rural India. Health officials had noticed that maternal mortality rates were higher in Karnataka than in the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Goa and Kerala, so Mota’s team studied the issue for several months with the host and then traveled to the Tumkur district in Karnataka to conduct primary research. They did more than 100 primary patient interviews to understand patient decision trees and system-level impacts.

Learn about other LGOs whose GlobalHealth Lab projects brought them to South Africa and Zambia

LGO faculty co-director Simchi-Levi shares INFORMS award for Rue La La pricing optimization project

David Simchi-Levi, LGO engineering faculty co-director

LGO engineering faculty co-director David Simchi-Levi and two others from MIT—along with online retailer Rue La La—have received an INFORMS award for a pricing optimization project that’s expected to increase Rue La La’s revenues.

As reported by the MIT News Office, the award for the analytics-based pricing-optimization application developed through the Accenture and MIT Alliance in Business Analytics was presented on June 5 at the INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Conference in Istanbul. Simchi-Levi is professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering systems.

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) is a group for professionals in the field of operations research, management science and analytics. Its annual Revenue Management and Pricing Section Practice Award recognizes outstanding applications of revenue management and pricing techniques.

Read the full story…

LGOs put on a C-Function for the ages

Adam Miller and Bradley Genser (both LGO ’14) show off their USA-themed MIT T-shirts.

LGOs and other graduate students at MIT Sloan enjoy organizing and attending social events known as C-Functions, but LGO had never hosted one—until its first-ever USA C-Function broke attendance records and showcased LGO’s operations savvy.

C-Functions are Thursday evening events during the semester where MIT Sloan’s student groups share their culture with the larger Sloan community. In a typical year, clubs representing countries including Israel, Brazil, Mexico, China and other Asia regions, and the Women in Management and LGBT clubs host events that include free food and drink, entertainment and fun with classmates, family members and friends. Because there is no USA Club, there had never been a USA-themed C-Function, but a group of LGOs worked with the MIT Sloan Student Life Office to launch the event despite not having the backing or experience of a Sloan club.

"We wanted to really showcase parts of America which many of our international classmates don't get to experience while being in Cambridge," said JS Bolton (LGO '14), one of the event organizers. "There's a lot more to the USA.”

The LGOs had their practical experience in operations to help them in organizing the event, especially when it came to apparel ordering and distribution. Ben Polak (LGO '14) drew on his internship experience with Nike and worked with his classmates to design American-themed MIT shirts, tank tops, trucker hats and sunglasses to help raise funds.

"We had very high uncertainty in demand," Polak said. "We analyzed various scenarios and planned to reduce our overstocking risk by ordering a conservative quantity from a long lead time, low-cost supplier. Once we began sales and had a better understanding of which products and sizes were selling best, we would make another order from a local quick-turn vendor to ensure supply met demand."

This reorder strategy proved useful. "We had no idea the designs would be so popular. Actual demand was way out the tail of our predicted curve," said Erik Charpentier (LGO '15). Ellen Ebner (LGO'15) described the scene at the table where apparel was being sold. "I've never seen a C-Function sell shirts so quickly,” she said. “Our strategy of accepting mobile payments and offering bundled apparel packages, which other groups don't do, certainly helped drive sales.”

Spoiler: after the LGOs applied their operations savvy to organizing the USA C-Function, it was the best ever…read about the Rolling Sloans, push-up competitions, Fenway Franks and more Americana!

Join LGO at Sloan on the Road!

MIT Sloan on the Road (SOTR) events are among the most important channels LGO uses to reach out to prospective students. Having alumni at these events is key to our success because no one knows LGO as well as you do. You are the best at marketing LGO, and you provide great value to potential applicants when you share the experiences you had during and after LGO.

To ensure the continued success of LGO, we would greatly appreciate if you would help us promote the program by attending a Sloan on the Road event in your area this summer/fall. The alumni registration link is not yet ready, but please save the date for an event near you!

8/14/14: New York, NY

8/18/14: Los Angeles, CA

8/19/14: Newport Beach, CA

8/20/14: Washington, DC

8/22/14: San Diego, CA (veterans event)

9/2/14: San Francisco, CA

9/3/14: Palo Alto, CA

9/4/14: Seattle, WA

9/8/14: New York, NY

9/11/14: Miami, FL

9/15/14: Cambridge, MA

9/18/14: Philadelphia, PA

You must also register online at http://mitsloan.mit.edu/mba/admissions/alumni-events1/. Thank you for your ongoing support. We hope to see you on the road!

Jane Deutsch
MIT LGO Director of Admissions and Career Development

LGO Partner Job Postings

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.

Amazon

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.

For any of these positions (except where noted), please contact Brent Gibbons.

Leader of Global Infrastructure Operations – Seattle
The leader of Global Infrastructure Operations will be responsible for Amazon’s datacenters globally. This position will own the datacenters and the operation of the datacenters once they have been built and commissioned as operationally ready. From the point of commissioning, the leaders will be responsible for security, safety, availability, operations and people. The leaders will be responsible for taking the datacenters and their people through a transition that more strongly brings Six Sigma and lean operations to our leadership, people and processes to ensure the highest quality. This transformation will be crucial to maintaining Amazon.com's competitive advantage in the industry.

This position will be a peer position to the leader of Networking, the leader of Datacenter Global Services (which is location strategy, acquisition, build of mechanical and electrical plants), the leader of Supply Chain and the leader of Hardware Engineering. The leader of Infrastructure Operations will lead a team of hundreds of full-time employees and a much larger number of contractors. This position will be responsible for hiring at a very high growth rate.

The leader of Global Infrastructure Operations must be a visible leader who earns the respect of our leaders and their teams due to the experience, strong communication skills, and deep knowledge of operations management. The role is highly impactful and will drive our success in a new market.

This position will be responsible for the following strategic focus areas:

  • Get big fast with high quality: Between Amazon Web Services (AWS) nd traditional Amazon.com businesses, we believe Amazon has one of the largest data centers in the world and is on an incredible growth path. This position will be responsible for ensuring we have the process and people needed to keep up with that growth.
  • The leader will champion operational excellence with a combination of the tools of Six Sigma and lean operations. The leader will establish great working relationships with U.S.-based development teams (Networking, Hardware Engineering and Datacenter Engineering).
  • This leader will need to ensure we have the leadership team in place to hand our large growth and scale.
  • This leader will need to focus on the creation and automation of standard work in the datacenters to improve the efficiency and predictability of manual processes.
  • This leader must also focus on the creation of industry-differentiating cost advantages.

Director, Regional Operations — Seattle
Amazon.com’s success is built on a foundation of customer obsession, and the Director of Regional Operations will lead multiple Amazon Fulfillment Centers, which are the last Amazon touchpoints in the customer experience. The Director of 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 and from process technology to process improvement. A successful executive will be able to provide strong vision and direction for the team while fostering bottom-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 of Regional Operations will manage multiple facilities consisting of 500,000 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 per facility. The role will have a budget responsibility of $1B+.

Head, Sort Center Engineering – Seattle
As senior member of the management team, this position provides the leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure that the organization has the proper financial and operational controls, the necessary administrative and reporting procedures, and the required information technology and systems in place to effectively grow the organization and ensure financial strength and operating efficiency. The role has primary responsibility for over $4B in transportation cost partnering with many internal teams (Operations, Transportation, Supply Chain, Accounting, Retail Finance, Accounts Payable, Engineering, Real Estate, and IT) to drive performance and simultaneously build a world-class transportation team.

This candidate will be responsible for the development of the North America transportation strategy utilizing the USPS and contribute to the development of the organization’s strategic goals, including driving cost-out. He/she will lead the operational planning process, interacting with vice presidents within Transportation and Technology. The successful candidate will drive new insights into key financial and operational performance drivers and become a trusted leader within the organization. This candidate will be a strong and inspirational leader who has a proven track record for hiring, developing and retaining the best talent.

Head, Transportation Network Optimization – Seattle
Amazon’s Worldwide Transportation Strategy group is looking for a passionate, talented and inventive expert and leader to join the team. The Transportation Strategy team is responsible for optimizing the global transportation network for Amazon.com and making sure the company is able to deliver our customers’ products to them as quickly, accurately and cost-effectively as possible. The group owns the strategic planning and development for initiatives associated with the transportation network including long-term forecasting, optimization algorithms and mathematical modeling. The Head, Transportation Network Optimization will work with cross-functional teams to build long-term strategy and simplify and solve the world’s most complicated network problems using advanced mathematical methods and tools.

We are looking for a motivated individual with a recognized background in mathematical modeling, network optimization and machine learning with deep experience and expertise in the transportation space. The person should have current or prior academic experience with a heavy practical consultative component, or industry experience managing a research team that is engaged in mathematical/statistical modeling and analysis. The qualified candidate will have experience in building long-term strategy for inventory, network and forecasting.

The analyses and models produced by the team will guide business decisions by highlighting opportunities, identifying correlations, defining experiments, and determining cause and effect relationships. You will partner closely with many groups such as operations, IT, retail, and finance teams to support various business initiatives.

The candidate will work closely with Transportation leadership and operations research/data science teams and leverage the expertise of each individual to construct models, perform analyses, and derive relevant metrics. The candidate must have relevant domain knowledge to teach and mentor group members and to critique models and approaches taken by the group in terms of business relevance, technical validity, and computational performance. The candidate must have the skills to write documents that influence important decisions by clearly articulating strategy, business impacts and technical challenges.

Head of Finance for Worldwide Logistics – Seattle
As senior member of the management team, this position provides the leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure that the organization has the proper financial and operational controls, the necessary administrative and reporting procedures, and the required information technology and systems in place to effectively grow the organization, ensure financial strength, and operating efficiency. The role has primary responsibility for over $300M in operating expense and requires partnering with many internal teams (Operations, Transportation, Supply Chain, Accounting, Retail Finance, Accounts Payable, Engineering, Real Estate, and IT) to drive performance and simultaneously build a world-class Finance team.

This candidate will be responsible for the development of the World Wide Amazon Logistics financial management strategy and contribute to the development of the organization’s strategic goals, including driving cost-out. He/she will lead the operational planning process, interacting with vice presidents within Finance and Operations. The successful candidate will drive new insights into key financial and operational performance drivers and become a trusted leader within the organization. This candidate will be a strong and inspirational leader who has a proven track record for hiring, developing and retaining the best talent.

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 bottom-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 on the fulfillment centers to deliver the ultimate in customer experience and satisfaction, and it’s a role that’s taken extremely seriously throughout the company.

Amazon’s field leadership roles manage facilities of 500,000 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. Many of our sites handle over $1B in revenue per year with a $60-100 million budget.

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. Contact for this position: luiperez@amazon.com.

Senior Manager and Senior Program Manager, Worldwide Engineering Services — Seattle
Amazon is looking for a Senior Program Manager with a strong delivery record and proven project management experience to own and execute strategic, cross-functional operations and technology projects on the Worldwide Engineering Services team. The team is also looking for a Senior Manager to manage the PMO office.

The Senior Manager and Senior Program Manager on the Worldwide Engineering Services team will develop and implement standardized tools and processes for Capital Planning and Management and for Project Planning and Project Management, and will develop and manage strong strategic relationships with our key suppliers and business partners to reduce cost, streamline project implementation and improve capital efficiencies. These roles will develop and implement standard project management and construction management processes and methodology to be utilized by the engineers and project managers in all Worldwide regions including project planning, status reporting, budget tracking, schedule tracking, open issue resolution, system acceptance, and project closeout. Contact for these positions: luiperez@amazon.com.

Sanofi

Director, Mobile Platforms – Cambridge, MA

Sanofi, an integrated global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme.

We are in the process of building a medical device technology group that will govern the definition, design and execution of Sanofi’s integrated care roadmap for medical devices. Our mission is to build a market leading technology platform enabling differentiated professional services that support the needs of patients, providers, payers and Sanofi itself to deliver differentiated and improved patient outcomes. To accomplish this, we are establishing core competencies in cloud based data management, data analytics, mobile platform applications, and software-based medical device life cycle, managing internally as well as externally executed projects. The team has broad visibility within Sanofi and we are looking for candidates who are passionate about patients and healthcare, focused on our core values of working as one team and treating others with respect, and last but not least, being some of the brightest and most talented resources in the industry.

The Director of Mobile Platforms will be responsible for driving Sanofi’s strategy for mobile portals in the integrated care arena with a strong focus on diabetes care. Mobile portals will provide access to patients, providers, payers and service providers to enable workflows that interact with data stored in the cloud or on mobile devices, originating from sensors, meters, EMRs, consumer fitness and health trackers, etc., as well as manual data entry. The target platforms for Sanofi’s mobile portals include dedicated apps for iPhone, Android, and windows smartphones and iPads/tablets and include html5-type portals.

The ideal candidate will properly identify the appropriate frameworks for the mobile portals to enable synergies across the various platforms and form factors while striving for a differentiated user experience that will be recognized in the market place. The position will require analysis of the competitive landscape, ensuring Sanofi will be ahead of its competitors and be the #1 in integrated care in the pharma industry.

Requirements:

  • BS in computer science or equivalent
  • 10+ years of experience in software development
  • 5+ years of experience in technologies such as Angular, html5, html, Objective-C, Java etc.
  • 5+ years of experience in managing complex enterprise software projects
  • 2+ years of experience in developing in the context of cloud based deployments

Desired skills

  • Experience in human centered design to enable a differentiated user interface and experience
  • 5+ years of experience in design controls and FDA / ISO 13485 / IEC 62304 compliant software development

Contact for this position: Suzanne Bellomo

Knowledge Transfer

When you click on the Internship page on the LGO website, you’ll find detailed profiles of recent LGO internships to show you examples of LGO projects and the results they achieve.

The internships are organized into seven categories:

  • Capacity and production planning
  • Energy and sustainability
  • Lean operations
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Product development
  • Sourcing
  • Supply chain

Each section includes profiles of two internships with information on the students’ approach, project impact and MIT faculty participation. New profiles will be posted on a regular basis.

This month will feature two projects done at National Grid with a focus on process improvement. The first project, by Ryan Doss, analyzed customer satisfaction and implemented changes in areas that drive service quality and cost competitiveness. Bradley Genser’s project evaluated the true cost of material handling that should be included in the procurement processes to drive improved operating costs and practices.



Name: Ryan Doss (LGO ’14)

Ryan Doss

Company: National Grid
Supervisor: Katherine Chaloupka
Academic Advisors: Jorge Calzada and Mallik Angalakudati

Title: Improving Customer Satisfaction and Cost Competitiveness in Service Operations

Summary:

Last year, senior management at National Grid defined four strategic goals for the company, two of which are cost competitiveness and customer responsiveness. To align employee activities and initiatives with these goals, key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer satisfaction metrics and operating expense targets were defined for each goal and extensive improvement efforts were started to drive toward them. In response, National Grid has partnered with LGO to address these two strategic goals in the context of the account initiation process, the process by which over 750,000 customers start electric and gas service in the U.S. each year.

This project’s approach involves identification of key customer satisfaction drivers, process redesign in response to identified drivers, and metric and incentive tailoring to align actual behavior with actions that drive service quality. The determination of customer satisfaction drivers is accomplished through employee focus groups, qualitative analysis of customer feedback comments, and statistical analysis of a data set linking over 40 process metrics with customer satisfaction scores by customer account number for over 1,000 customers; the analysis is carried out by linear and logistic regression to identify the factors with the most impact.

Once service quality drivers are identified, the process is redesigned in response; in this case, process changes include moving account processing work into the customer care center to integrate the two groups and providing an inspection of service operations and feedback loop for driving down common errors. Further changes include implementing a priority queue within the account initiation process and several other changes that address the key drivers of service quality. Finally, opportunities to better align metric and incentive structures with behavior that will increase service quality are identified through decision theory analysis for future implementation.

This method successfully identified three of the most important drivers of service quality in the account initiation process. Implementation of the integrated inspection and feedback loop from account processing and the priority queue began in late 2013, with the other defined changes to follow. Customer satisfaction data showing the impact of these changes will be available after full implementation is completed and customer satisfaction scores are collected in Summer 2014.



Name: Bradley Genser (LGO ’14)

Bradley Genser

Company: National Grid
Supervisor: Sarah Jurta
Academic Advisors: Georgia Perakis, Bruce Campbell

Title: A Model for Procurement Decisions Incorporating Handling Costs

Summary:

National Grid USA is embarking on a journey to become a process-based organization across all functions of electric power and gas businesses. National Grid executives are currently in the process of evaluating potential changes to increase the effectiveness and flexibility of its Construction Materials Supply Chain (CMSC)—the supply chain that delivers materials for use in maintenance and construction of electric power assets. The executives believe that National Grid can make significant gains in effectiveness and flexibility by more closely integrating and aligning incentives in the functionally organized component parts of the CMSC: Procurement, Inventory Management and Warehouse Management.

The procurement organization is charged with negotiating contracts with and purchasing quality construction materials from suppliers at the lowest possible cost. Procurement buyers in National Grid do not generally perform an optimization of purchased case-pack quantities when negotiating contracts (Note: the practice of optimizing case-pack quantities is not a common feature of procurement organizations in any industry.) Anecdotal evidence indicates, however, that, case-pack quantity of a given material has a large impact on the handling of that material in the warehouses when fulfilling orders in terms of time and/or policies for handling materials.

This LGO project examines how the purchasing of items in certain case-pack quantities (by Procurement) affects costs within the procurement and warehouse management operations. The primary deliverable for this project is a computer-based policy and decision analysis of cost tool implemented in Python that can be used to evaluate CMSC costs for any inventory item.

The tool shows that, for a few sample items, selection of a case-pack quantity more closely matched to modes of demand can reduce total costs in the procurement and warehouse management organizations by greater than 95 percent when compared to current case-pack quantities. When combined with optimal choices in handling/fulfillment policies, costs can be further reduced and customer service can be greatly improved.


If you have companies or areas of research you’d like to see highlighted in the monthly newsletter, please contact Ted Equi (tedequi@mit.edu).

Student bloggers

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.

Prof. Tauhid Zaman pauses the LGO/CLGO Beer Game exercise for a selfie with excited participants.

Videos on MIT TechTV

Videos of current students, LGO webinar 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

Please visit the website of the MIT Systems Design and Management program to learn about their upcoming events, including Systems Thinking webinars.

Alumni Reference Information

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 lgosdmvc@mit.edu 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 (jsjacobs@mit.edu, 617-253-2959).