LGO Alumni Newsletter July / August 2015

The monthly LGO Alumni Newsletter goes out by email to all alumni; archived issues are posted on this page. If you would like to change your contact information, please email Josh Jacobs.

Message from Thomas Roemer


Thomas A. Roemer

Dear friends,

It's now been a year since I've joined LGO, and it's time to reflect and also look forward. It was an eventful year at LGO—I've seen students apply and integrate into the LGO family, and I've had the pleasure of being with them on the domestic and international plant treks, in classrooms and committees, and at their internship sites, graduation and "The Universe Within." I saw three new partners and four new staff members join LGO. This very week marks the formal end of the Engineering Systems Division (ESD), the engineering home of many of our alumni. I even witnessed four distinct seasons (a big change after living in San Diego), including a winter for the ages.

Unfortunately, we have more sad news to report as the LGO family recently lost another recent alum, Ashleigh Range ’13. Even for those of you who did not know Ashleigh personally, this is a sorrowful blow. If you would like our help to connect with and support alumni or others in the community, please let us know.

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

LGO News

Roemer looks at the rise of robotics in Chinese manufacturing

In an op-ed piece, LGO Director Thomas Roemer writes about the factors driving increased use of robotics in manufacturing in China. Read more...


Team wins recognition for device to detect falls by the elderly

Dan Burseth contributes his LGO know-how in design for manufacturing, supply chain to his award-winning team in MIT’s $100K entrepreneurship competition. Read more...


LGO faculty members, students win awards

Several awards and honors were bestowed at year's end on LGO students and faculty. Read more...

Meet with prospective students at Sloan on the Road events

LGO alumni are encouraged to attend any of MIT Sloan's upcoming Alumni Sloan on the Road (SOTR) events. Each event begins with a brief admissions presentation and a panel of pre-selected alumni, and LGO alums have a great opportunity to highlight the MBA program and the achievements of their classmates during the networking portion of the event.

MIT Sloan alumni in key markets will be invited to participate in panels. If you're interested in being on a panel, please email Jolene Monson, LGO's Director of Admissions and Marketing, at jmonson@mit.edu. To see a list of upcoming events and register to attend, visit MIT Sloan's SOTR web page.

LGO admissions staff will attend a number of events with Sloan and on their own throughout the year. Click "LGO Off-campus Events" on our newly revamped "Meet LGO" web page for a list of cities in which they'll be appearing.

Alumni Scholar profile

The Alumni Newsletter includes periodic first-person accounts by students who have benefited from an LGO Alumni Scholarship.


Mike Macmillan

Born in Silver Spring, MD but raised in Atlanta, Mike Macmillan holds a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech. Before coming to LGO, Mike worked as a process engineer and operations line leader at Procter and Gamble in Baby Care Product Supply (Manufacturing). Mike is now doing his LGO internship at Inditex (Zara) in La Coruña, Spain.

When I graduated from Georgia Tech and started working, I always had the hope of going back and getting either a master's degree in engineering or an MBA. At that point in time, I believed that I had to choose one path and depending on the choice, I would find myself in two very different careers, one purely technical or one purely management. Thankfully, I discovered the LGO program during my research and that split no longer seemed like it was inevitable.

Discovering the program was only the first step. I didn't know any alumni or program members, and I quickly found the student and alumni profiles to be a huge help in building my understanding of LGO. By viewing the alumni profiles, I was able to imagine myself in post-grad school roles at great companies, which was critical in my understanding of what the program would teach me.

When I received the call from Don Rosenfield, I was definitely surprised–if for no other reason than I was sound asleep and only vaguely remember actually talking to him! The other reason I was surprised was that I only had two years of experience before starting LGO, and I did not expect to get into the program as a younger applicant. My hope had been to apply to schools, get some feedback and reapply for the next class; however, this quickly shifted into excitement at the realization of my impending start at MIT.

Receiving the Alumni Scholarship on top of the LGO fellowship was a great incentive to accept the offer as it made MIT competitive with the other offer I ended up receiving. Likewise, the financial assistance has been extremely helpful, as it supplements some of the savings that I would have accrued had I decided to work a few more years instead of returning to school.

As an LGO student, I have had the pleasure of working with several alumni in preparation for internship matching and International Plant Trek. In every case, the alumni have been extremely understanding and supportive of the students, going out of their way to enhance the educational experience. I look forward to connecting with more alumni as a student and to helping LGO students as a future alumnus.

— Mike Macmillan , LGO '16

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.


Click on the job titles below for more information. Contact: Patrick Mereur, mireurp@amazon.com.

Senior Operations Managers – multiple 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.

General Manager, Fulfillment Center – Brampton, Ontario

General Manager, Fulfillment Center – Delta, British Columbia, Canada

Key qualifications include:

  • Have clear goals for safety, customer experience and productivity and will be expected to determine how to manage and achieve these goals without close supervision or corporate involvement
  • Engage all levels of the organization to remove waste from operations processes employing Lean/Six Sigma practices across the Center.
  • Oversee product flow and implement new processes as required in order to improve efficiency and to support growth in new product lines
  • Support the scalable growth of the company by developing and enabling the success of each member of the Center’s leadership team. Team members should be developed for promotion across the Global Operations Network.
  • Own and deliver the operational budget of approximately $50-100 million.

American Industrial Partners

American Industrial Partners is a $6 billion operationally orientated middle-market private equity firm that invests in North American based industrial businesses with a global footprint. AIP owns 98 U.S. manufacturing sites and seeks leaders with world-class integrated operating company experience who want to transform and run U.S. manufacturing businesses. AIP Portfolio Companies often offer three points of leadership entry for individuals with appropriate manufacturing leadership experience:

  • VP/GM — Lead an operational budget of approximately $100-500 million, lead strategic planning and overall business growth, steward business transformation through cultural change, continuous improvement engagement and prioritization of improvement actions.
  • Plant Manager — Run day-to-day visual factory with responsibilities in production output, product quality, and on-time shipping; lead business improvement efforts to produce better quality products faster with less waste; steward KPI Improvement: OTD cost of quality, yield, throughput, capacity utilization, and EBITDA.
  • Operations Directors — Lead manufacturing systems and process conversion (i.e., supply chain, Kanban, scheduling, SIOP, value stream linkage from sales order to shipped units); lead, implement, coach, and drive safety, quality, delivery, and cost improvements; improve business performance linkages between production, distribution and logistics operations.

Current openings include:

Group Product Manager — A new position situated in a prosperous Southeast city who will build and lead a team of up to ten product managers. The GPM has authority and responsibility to define the product strategy and roadmap for the product management function in conjunction with the Market Segment Strategies. Will act as voice of customers to rest of product team and company. Position requires 10 years industrial manufacturing industry experience, including 6-8 years experience managing commercial, high-volume product lines. Contact Jim Baran, American Industrial Partners Talent Acquisition, at jbaran@americanindustrial.com.


Strategic Resource Planning Senior Manager – Thousand Oaks, CA

The Senior Manager, Strategic Planning and Operations reports to the Director/Executive Director of Operations Strategic Planning and serves as an area leader supporting a portfolio of cross-functional strategic projects. Operations Strategic Planning (OSP) is the internal management consulting arm of Operations which delivers significant value to a diverse set of internal leaders. This individual will be an integral member of a high-performing team chartered to deliver comprehensive analytics that support unbiased network recommendations to capture value for operations.

Responsibilities include:

  • Advancing operations strategy for optimization of the commercial product supply network (across drug-substance, drug-product, device assembly/packaging and distribution) while supporting advancement of Amgen’s innovative molecules and biosimilar product pipeline
  • Advancing operations strategy for management of product supply risk and business continuity planning
  • Developing cross-functional business cases for key manufacturing process areas and risk mitigation strategies Leading analysis of site selections, network optimization and risk analyses, risk quantification, capacity evaluation, scenarios, and business development due-diligence.
  • Aligning with cross-functional stakeholders on operational, financial and regulatory assumptions (quality/compliance, costs, capacity, inventory, risk) that impact performance of the supply network
  • Serving as thought leader in a dedicated process area (drug substance, drug product, device/pack/label, distribution, business development or risk)
  • Developing recommendations, driving decisions, and delivering presentations to the Operations Leadership Team
  • Provide direction, training, and development of supporting analysts

Strategic Resource Planning Manager – Thousand Oaks, CA

The Strategic Planning and Operations Manager reports to the Director of Operations Strategic Planning and serves as an analyst supporting a portfolio of cross-functional strategic projects. Responsibilities include:

  • Supporting advancing operations strategy for optimization of the commercial product supply network while contributing to advancement of Amgen’s innovative molecules and biosimilar product pipeline
  • Developing cross-functional business cases for key manufacturing process areas and risk mitigation strategies
  • Conducting analysis of site selections, network optimization and risk analyses, risk quantification, capacity evaluations, scenarios, and business development due-diligence
  • Aligning with cross-functional stakeholders on operational, financial and regulatory assumptions (quality/compliance, costs, capacity, inventory, risk) that impact performance of the supply network
  • Developing analytical and risk assessment tools and processes
  • Developing recommendations, driving decisions, and delivering presentations to Senior Operations Leadership
  • Performing fully integrated analysis for broader assessments at direction of senior OSP leaders

Contact Leigh Hunnicutt at lhunnicu@amgen.com for more information about either of these positions.

Li & Fung

Project Manager – Hong Kong

This role within the Fung Academy's Sustainability team will have a primary focus on technology, data analytics and information management systems that support the advancement of sustainability internally within the Fung Group’s companies and externally within the group’s supplier networks.

The position will focus on sustainability both internally within the group and externally with key stakeholders such as factories and supply chain partners. Internally, the position would manage projects that embed sustainability within the business or improve sustainability performance within the business, particularly through the use of information systems, technologies or data tools. Externally, the position would manage the use of technology and/or data to improve factory operations and sustainability performance, including energy and resource management, worker management, and social and environmental risk modeling, among others.

The position would be based in Hong Kong with travel to key producer countries in South and Southeast Asia. The Fung Academy accelerates learning and builds capabilities across the Fung Group’s companies and stakeholders, in terms of leadership development, sustainability and innovation. The Fung Group is the principal shareholder of Li & Fung Limited, and three other publicly listed companies in Hong Kong, active in consumer products distribution and retailing, with aggregate revenues of $23B annually.

We are looking for candidates with a engineering, technology or operations background who have an interest in sustainability and the emerging markets. If interested, please email Pamela Mar at pamelamar@fungacademy.com.

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 involving factory selection and optimization. Albert Chan developed a predictive approach for high performance factory selection, in his time with Li and Fung. Ryan Shofnos developed an optimization model to increase capacity and throughput for Pfizer’s cell line development process.

If you have companies or areas of research you are interested in having highlighted in the monthly news, please contact Ted Equi.

Albert Chan

Albert Chan

A Predictive Approach for Identifying High-Performance Factories (Li & Fung)

Intern: Albert Chan
Supervisor: Dr. Leonard Lane, Pamela Mar
Academic Advisors: Professor Charlie Fine, Professor David Simchi-Levi

The apparel industry is changing rapidly, and supply chains face faster development cycles and greater demands for social and environmental compliance as well as lower prices. In such an environment, the ability to identify factories that can perform to exacting and evolving standards is a competitive advantage. With its network of more than 15,000 factories, Li & Fung is exploring the use of data analytics to support its sustainable sourcing process.

The project has two levels of analysis. First, it evaluates whether current factory performance metrics in product quality, order delivery, and factory compliance are historically correlated with factory longevity and annual spend. Second, the project will explore and identify inherent factory attributes that are predictive of quality, delivery, and compliance performance.

Based on literature review and on interviews at Li & Fung, a list of factory attributes was created, including past product performance (e.g., quality and delivery metrics), human capacity (e.g., leadership experience and specific roles), and factory characteristics (e.g., firm size, compliance scores, and financial strength). The analysis focuses on two business units at Li & Fung, incorporating data on supplier performance as well as new data collected through a qualitative survey distributed to factories in China, Bangladesh, and Turkey. Six years of factory data and 50 survey responses were analyzed. Key observations include:

  • Quality: There is a direct and strong relationship between product quality and long-term factory performance. To forecast quality performance, internal technical audits (initial evaluations performed on factories to gauge production readiness) appear to be a leading indicator of product quality performance.
  • Compliance: Compliance scores are not consistently predictive, as optimal level of compliance is dependent on business-specific needs and goals.
  • Delivery: There is only a tenuous connection between on-time delivery and both factory longevity and annual spend. This is due to nonstandardized definitions for on-time delivery.

For Li & Fung, these insights on key drivers of better factory performance are first steps in aggregating the large amounts of data on factories and generating insights to support the development of a robust, sustainable sourcing network.

Ryan Shofnos

Ryan Shofnos

Modeling the Impact of Automation and Process Optimization on Cell Line Development

Intern: Ryan Shofnos
Supervisor: Pamela Pegman
Academic Advisors: Retsef Levi, Associate Professor of Operations Management; J. Christopher Love, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering

The development and commercialization of biologic-based human therapies is a significant engineering and financial investment that spans close to 10 years and more than $1B. A critical phase of the development life cycle is cell line development (CLD), which is the creation and selection of a clonal cell line that will ultimately manufacture the biologic drug substance for clinical trials and commercial distribution. Reaching clinical trials quickly enables early assessment of the efficacy of the potential new drug. The CLD group operates as the bridge between molecular discovery and this clinical supply stage. CLD is therefore a critical step towards generating the material needed for clinical studies.

This effort investigated methods to increase capacity and throughput of this process while maintaining current staffing. The primary benefits include the ability to develop more drugs simultaneously with a constant workforce, a timeline reduction between molecular discovery and clinical drug supply, and reduced variation in project timelines and workload. This project includes a model that characterizes each process step and evaluates methods to redesign and automate them at sufficiently low cost. The model incorporates administrative, financial, and operational inputs such as available full-time employees, procedural dependencies, and several automation options. Its outputs include the overall cycle time, utilization, and operating costs, and the strategic benefits and/or risks relative to the current state. The optimum scenario identified by this research has the potential to reduce cycle time by 13 percent and workload by 41 percent while maintaining headcount.

Give to LGO

The Alumni page of the LGO website explains how your donation to one of our alumni gift funds will benefit current and future students.

Alumni Reference Information

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Josh Jacobs, LGO Director of Operations and Partner Integration (jsjacobs@mit.edu, 617-253-2959).