LGO Best Thesis 2017 for Integrated Manufacturing Analytics Project

After graduation ceremonies at MIT, Jeremy Rautenbach won the Leaders for Global Operations Program’s Best Thesis award for his project at a Danaher Corporation subsidiary company. “Jeremy’s capstone thesis shows how all of the operations concepts we develop at LGO work together. He applied skills in advanced data analytics, manufacturing optimization, and leading all levels of an organization. In the end, he created sustainable solutions for his host company,” Thomas Roemer, the executive director of the LGO program, said when announcing the award winner.

Applying MIT knowledge in the real world

MIT LGO best thesis 2017 - rautenbauch
Jeremy Rautenbach won the 2017 LGO best thesis award for his work applying statistical analysis onto a manufacturing line.

Jeremy prepared for his thesis project during one of his courses: Control of Manufacturing Processes. Current and former LGO Faculty Co-Directors Duane Boning (EECS) and David Hardt (ME) teach the course, which is jointly listed as a mechanical and electrical engineering graduate class. Students study statistical decision making, yield modeling and identifying root causes, multivariate SPC chart methods, and nested variance. Both professors noticed Jeremy’s passion for the topic and agreed to supervise his internship and thesis. Professor of Statistics and Engineering Systems Roy Welsch served as Jeremy’s final supervising professor. All LGO students work with least one management professor and one engineering professor when completing their dual-degree internship and thesis.

During his internship, Jeremy worked at a biotech firm and analyzed the company’s manufacturing processes. “Jeremy took to heart ‘classical’ statistical ideas: sampling, experimental design, and variance analysis to improve the company’s processes. He learned to carefully observe both the human and technical factors at the plant and considered that in his recommendations too,” Welsch said. “He left behind a true spirit of continuous improvement.”

Jeremy found and fixed multiple problems in the company’s manufacturing process. He identified a number of small and very different yield loss sources using a highly methodological approach. He also worked with the team on site, Boning stated, “so that they ‘owned’ the improvements. More importantly, they now own the methodology for continually improving the line.”

Every spring, the LGO office asks for nominations from MIT professors throughout the Institute who worked with LGO theses. LGO alumni read and comment on the thesis to select a winner. Jeremy will return to the Danaher Corporation at a facility in the United Kingdom in a full-time role after graduation. Before enrolling in the program, he completed undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and worked in the South African mining industry for four years.

LGO Class of 2017

Forty-five students graduated in the MIT LGO Class of 2017 on Friday, June 9. As of graduation, 98% had received a job offer. In addition to Danaher, recruiting companies include Amazon, Amgen, Boeing, Blue Origin, Cruise Automation (a General Motors subsidiary), Boston Scientific, Dell, Flex, and Nike.