LGO Alumni Newsletter September 2014

Message from Thomas Roemer

photo

Thomas A. Roemer

Dear Alumni,

Another month has flown by. I’ve had great visits with partners in Seattle, New Jersey, and Detroit that gave me the opportunity to (re-)connect with many of you. A heartfelt "thank you” to the organizers and all of you who attended. Alumni in New Jersey even planned to have regular regional alumni meetings from now on. What struck me most during these meetings was the common culture across 26 years of alumni. There was a fluency in the interactions, even between alumni who never met before, that seemed more family reunion than alumni meeting. I hope I will continue to foster this very special LGO culture.

Meanwhile our first-year LGO ‘16 class is setting new records in their committee work. The seminar schedule is filled for the entire year, development of the domestic and international plant treks is well ahead of schedule, and, since this is MIT, we even had a student riding his motorcycle into the classroom. Obviously this was strictly for educational purposes. Our second-year students receive glowing feedback from their internship advisors and I am looking forward to seeing them for midstream review and listening to their presentations.

On a personal note, I am doing well in New England. I recently acquired a 60- quart pot (for the scientifically inclined among you, this is 56.781 liters). Since then, I am heartily enjoying the fruits the New England shores have to offer.

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

Meyer ’16 follows her mother as an MIT Sloan woman

photo

Deborah Meyer (SM ’79) and her daughter Lillian Meyer (LGO ’16).


Although MIT has produced many “legacy” familes (including all five Rosenfields), Lillian Meyer is unusual in one regard—when she graduates from MIT in 2016 with an MBA and SM in civil and environmental engineering, she and her mother will be only the second mother/daughter pair to receive degrees from MIT Sloan.

As MIT Sloan Admissions Director Dawna Levenson noted in a recent blog post, Lillian’s mother, Deborah Meyer, earned an SM from MIT Sloan in 1979. She passed on her regard for MIT Sloan to her daughter, who says, “The way I have experienced the collaborative spirit has surprised me. It’s not just students working together to solve a problem set, but building and feeding off of each other’s ideas.”

Read Levenson’s full blog post here.

As internships start, student looks back on plant trek, thanks alumni for support

LGO ’15 students at the GM Hamtramck assembly facility during the 2014 Domestic Plant Trek

As the LGO Class of 2015 wraps up its first year at MIT and embarks on our internships, we thought this might be the perfect time to reflect on how the Domestic Plant Trek in January shaped our class identity and ignited our interests in the partner companies. Many LGO students past and present consider this well-timed, pinnacle experience to be a cornerstone of the LGO program because it exposed us to commercial opportunities and reinforced the bonds within the class. This year's trek—Don Rosenfield's 25th and our first—carried on these traditions in its own unique way.

On the first morning of the trek at the height of our enthusiastic anticipation, my cell phone rang at 6 a.m. with reports from Albert Chan and Daniel Roberson, both on the West Coast, that their flights to the plant trek's first stop in Detroit had been delayed due to inclement weather. Shortly thereafter, the main flight from Boston to Detroit for the rest of the class was also cancelled.

Airline, train and bus tickets prices soared in immediate response to the winter storm, and the class was looking at missing up to the first three stops on the trek. After exploring all of our options and surveying a variety of weather forecasts, we decided it was time to get to know our classmates in the intimate interior of Avis's finest fleet of Town and Country minivans. So Don bid the class farewell and the six cars rolled west on the long journey toward our first destination: General Motors.

A road trip is a great way to learn a lot about yourself and your teammates. Some of the things we learned about each other: Steve Fuller, an Army captain and father of two, can safely drive 1,500 miles in the snow. Scott Bromley can dance the Harlem Shake. No matter what happens in the universe, Ammar Asfour will get his team to a tour on time.

After a nearly 24-hour journey, with temperatures approaching -40 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill, the class was reunited in Detroit. GM held a reception at the Heritage Center, where we heard an overview of the company's future while surrounded by a museum of car models that served as a monument to its past. We were impressed with GM's progressive response to changing consumer demands and were particularly grateful to the leadership for opening a Volt battery plant for a private tour.

Read about all the other adventures the LGO ‘15s had, with the support of alumni and many meetings with them along the way


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.

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 webinars: send us your suggestions and feedback!

The LGO webinar series has been running for several years as a service to the broader LGO community: alumni, students, and partner company staff. We’ve heard from alumni that they join the webinars to hear MIT faculty provide new insights into their research and to learn what peers are working on. In addition, students have told us that these webinars—archived on our website —provide crucial insights into the program and the career paths of alumni.

As we look ahead to potential webinar offerings this year, we would be grateful to LGO alumni to give us your feedback on the webinars.

  • Which presenters (alumni, faculty, industry speakers from LGO partners) would make you want to listen during your lunch break?
  • Are there webinar series offered by other organizations that could offer us some best practices?
  • If you have joined one of our webinars in the past couple of years or watched one on archive, how was it valuable to you?
If you have any feedback or suggestions, please write me at jsjacobs@mit.edu.

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.

Nike

Supply Chain Design Manager – Portland, OR

Nike’s Global Supply Chain Innovation group is looking for a talented and energetic self-starter with a passion for supply chain analytics to join our Supply Chain Design Center of Excellence team.

As a Supply Chain Design Manager, you will adopt and proliferate the use of advanced analytics and visualization in designing Nike Inc.’s end-to-end supply chain network for profitability, responsiveness and sustainability, optimizing across various scenarios and tradeoffs impacting financial, operational and sustainable parameters. You will employ advanced modeling, optimization, simulation and statistical analysis techniques to validate new opportunities to improve supply chain performance and to prescribe actionable recommendations to leverage those opportunities.

You will join a world-class team of analytics professionals to identify, scope and execute high-impact projects across Nike’s global supply chain. You will partner with Global Sourcing and Geo Ops teams across the globe on high-visibility projects, gaining insights from data and modeling and presenting recommendations to senior leaders.

The role is perfect for a team player with strong supply chain experience, analytical skills, drive and exceptional communication skills.

Requirements for this position include:

  • MBA/MS/PhD in business analytics fields (Industrial Engineering, Management Science, Operations Research, Supply Chain, etc.) preferred
  • Strong technical and analytical skillset (Excel, R, SQL, Matlab, Supply Chain Guru, or equivalent)
  • 6+ years of experience in consulting, supply chain or analytics roles
  • Ability to view the big picture and to define and shape strategies
  • Proven ability to frame and structure problems, synthesize and identify critical information, and perform rigorous and complex analyses
  • People management, leadership, coaching and mentoring skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including superior presentation skills and ability to make intuitive recommendations to senior leadership and build consensus among broader audiences
  • Strong project management experience across multiple project streams and complexities; propensity for thinking through projects in a process-oriented way
Contact: Hugo Mora, Hugo.Mora@Nike.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’s newsletter will feature two projects on forecasting. The first is by Jose Garcia ’14, who did his work for Zara on modeling the demand forecast based on seasonality. The second is by Ash Koul ’14, who interned at Verizon Wireless forecasting call center staffing based on product release response.



Name: Jose M. Garcia (LGO ’14)

Jose M. Garcia

Company: Zara (Inditex, S.A.)
Supervisor: Katherine Chaloupka
Academic Advisors: Josef Oehmen, Georgia Perakis

Title: Demand Forecasting: A Look at Seasonality, Product Lifecycle and Cannibalization

Summary:

Zara’s distribution department is responsible for fulfilling two shipments per week from its three central warehouses in Spain to 1925 Zara stores in 86 countries. This thesis presents a methodology for forecasting short-term (one week) and long-term (24 weeks) demand.

Long-term Demand Model
The long-term model forecasts the total units of demand for a particular store for any period between and and 24 weeks in the future. This model uses a regression, which combines historical performance with dummy variables to capture the impact of general seasonality and specific events. The most valuable aspect of this model is that it automatically accounts for changes in demand due to events that shift in the calendar from year to year (e.g., Easter, Ramadan, etc.). Comparing the forecast accuracy of the models developed for this thesis, MIT9, to Zara’s current methodology improves forecasting error from an average of 21 percent to 17 percent.

Short-term Demand Model
The short-term model forecasts the total demand for a particular clothing article in a specific store. This model also uses regression and combines variables that describe the article’s recent performance, its life cycle demand trend, and the impact of cannibalization from new product introductions. Due to the large volume of data needed to calculate the performance of this model, a representative subset of five stores was used to test its potential. The tests on the subset of stores show that the new model could significantly reduce lost sales while maintaining total inventory levels unchanged.

Short-term Model Performance
___________________________________________
Region - Store ID Reduction in Lost Sales
Barcelona - 160          -18%
Barcelona - 30            -22%
Belgium - 376             -23%
China - 3832               -39%
Saudi Arabia - 3161    -24%
=========================================
Total                            -24%



Name: Ashish Koul (LGO ’14)

Ashish Koul

Company: Verizon Wireless
Supervisor: Christine Wong
Academic Advisors: Bruce Cameron, Stephen Graves

Title: Device-Oriented Customer Call Center Demand Forecasting

Summary:

Background
Verizon Wireless maintains a call center infrastructure employing more than 15,000 customer care representatives across the United States. These representatives provide telephone support to customers addressing billing issues, technical problems and other general questions. The current resource management process requires a lead time of several months to hire and train new staff for the customer rep position. To ensure that call center resources are balanced with customer demand, an accurate forecast of incoming call volume is required months in advance.

The standard forecasting method used at Verizon relies on an analysis of aggregate call volume. By analyzing the growth trend of customer base and the month-upon-month seasonal fluctuations within each year, the total incoming call volume is predicted several months in advance. While this method can yield solid results, it essentially groups all customers into a single category and assumes uniform customer behavior.

Objective and Apporach

This project aims to create a call forecasting model that segments customers according to wireless device type. By taking into consideration customer behavior on a per device basis and accounting for the continuous churn in mobile devices, there is the potential to create a forecasting tool with better accuracy. For each device model, future call volumes are estimated based on projected device sales and observed customer behavior. Aggregate call volume is determined as the sum across all device models. The call volume projection is based on analysis of two distinct factors:

  1. Device Activation: Observation of calling patterns for all device models has shown that customers have the highest probability of calling for service immediately after device activation, when they typically have the most questions. Over time this probability converges to a steady-state level that is distinct for separate devices.
  2. Transient Calling Rate Shifts: Call volume fluctuations are driven by short-term events that have a predictable impact on customer calling rates. Such events include holidays, device software upgrades and the introduction of new service plans.
Taking into account these factors, linear regression techniques were employed to construct forecast models for each of the top 20 mobile devices (those which generate the most customer service calls) using historical device activation and call volume data.

Discussion and Next Steps
The aggregate call volume forecast for these top 20 devices was benchmarked against the standard forecast currently used at Verizon to validate the reliability of the device-oriented approach. By incorporating device-oriented data analysis into the call volume forecasting process, Verizon Wireless hopes to improve forecast accuracy. This will enable the company to improve staff planning, resulting in maintenance service levels while reducing overall staffing costs at call centers.


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.

Both Andrew Byron ’16 (with SO Sarah) and Tamara Belkina ’16 (with SO Joe) took advantage of their August break to climb Mt. Katahdin in Maine

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).