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Spring 2020 Senior Design Results in Tied Winning Teams

May 19, 2020

Despite the spring semester’s challenges ensuing from the COVID-19 pandemic, which included all classes at Georgia Tech moving to 100% online instruction and the cancellation of the semi-annual Capstone Expo, 30 Senior Design teams from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) successfully completed their projects.

“We had one of the largest cohorts in ISyE Senior Design history this semester. Despite the disruptions, all 30 teams were able to deliver high-quality solution to their project sponsors," said ISyE Director of Professional Practice and Senior Design Coordinator Dima Nazzal. "My conclusion after evaluating these 30 teams is that we have uncovered untapped ingenuity in our students – their ability to adapt and deliver a product on par (or one that exceeds) previous cohorts. This is a testament to their resilience and training.”

ISyE still held its Best of Senior Design competition – virtually via BlueJeans – on Tuesday, April 28. Over 300 people attended the event, at which three teams presented their projects for Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW), Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), and Plasmaxis (Kinaxis). Teams GWCC and Kinaxis were selected as tied winners. Each winning team will receive $1,500 to split among their team members.

The GWCC team, whose project was “Waste Diversion System Design,” has created solutions for their client that will have significant environmental impact. They diverted 13% of waste from the landfill in 2019. Standardized processes and incentive-based fee structures can increase diversion to 45%. Using a custom web application, GWCC can predict conference waste hauls, track conference charges, and reward sustainable conferences. The waste operation can improve from a 7% loss to a 20% profit. The 32% increase in waste diversion saves the equivalent of 3,054 CO2 tons and creates a roughly $473,000 impact on the local recycling industry.

“This team from Georgia Tech combined their natural inquisitive natures and their industrial engineering skill sets to generate a straightforward and accessible set of tools even in the face of data availability limitations and constantly variable operating circumstances,” said Dominic Bruno, director of facility operations at GWCC Authority. “They faced their challenges undaunted and were able to generate a multi-pronged real-world approach to solving the challenges.

"Their solutions are easy to understand, but they are also quite clever in that when combined. They will incentivize better action while providing for a lower overall program cost. In this way, they have provided something that can truly change behavior – often the missing element from process improvement projects.”

The team included Erin Abbott, Elena Buter, Benjamin Espy, Kiran Gite, Toral Kadakia, Abhita Moorthy, Sahana Subramanian, and Caleb Tysor. They were advised by ISyE Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies Chen Zhou.

The Kinaxis team, whose project was “Plasmaxis: Plasma Production Planning,” partnered with Kinaxis, a supply chain planning software company, to improve the efficiency of a major biopharmaceutical manufacturer’s global supply chain for plasma-derived therapeutics. The team developed an optimization model that plans plasma fractionation into “pastes,” an intermediate product in the manufacturing system. This model was integrated into a software tool for use by the client’s production planners. The improvements achieved will save the client an estimated $4.5 million dollars annually and allow them to more rapidly deliver life-saving medication to those in need.

“The Senior Design course at Georgia Tech is an excellent platform that fosters collaboration between academia and industry. Through this project we presented a biopharma industry plasma fractionation planning problem that required synchronizing discrete manufacturing plan with process manufacturing. Once we described the goals and objectives of the project to the Plasmaxis team they successfully created a digital twin of the problem and optimized the plan using mixed integer linear programming approach,” said Arif Mohammed, Kinaxis vice president of professional services, North America.

“We were blown away by the quality of the deliverables that exceeded our expectations – truly world-class, boardroom-quality, top-notch. For Kinaxis it was truly a rewarding experience, and it is an honor to be included among such a distinguished list of Senior Design project winners, both past and present,” Mohammed concluded.

Team members included Nosrat Chowdhury, Brice Edelman, Osman Ghandour, Aniruddh Hari, Yash Lunagaria, Alice Pagoto, and Maria Yagnye. They were advised by ISyE Professor Emeritus Leon McGinnis.

The Buffalo Wild Wings team, whose project was “Untapped Potential: Product Mix Selection Strategy,” worked to improve BWW’s beer selection strategy. The team implemented demand forecasting and streamlined the product selection process to increase profit and generate the most profitable monthly product mix on a store-by-store basis. The proposed system, which can be utilized at any Buffalo Wild Wings location, observed a $30,000 average annual increase in profit per store and reduced the product selection process time from six months to two weeks.

The team included Diego Granizo, Ashwin Haritsa, Selin Karaoguz, Philip Murray, Katie Neil, Wilson Pu, Katie Wah, and Andrew Yowell. They were advised by ISyE Virginia C. and Joseph C. Mello Professor Nicoleta Serban.

“All three teams gave terrific presentations of difficult problems with design solutions that have huge potential impact to their clients,” said Nazzal. “Team BWW developed an impressive suite of deliverables with great potential value. Team GWCC faced data availability, process variability, and multi-player challenges but developed an integrated suite of solutions that are immediately implementable and will have a huge environmental and societal impact. Team Kinaxis had a challenging biomedical engineering production problem that crossed disciplinary boundaries and required advanced modeling and optimization technology to obtain solutions.

“Team GWCC and Team Kinaxis were both exceptional in very different ways, which is why we selected them as joint winners this semester,” Nazzal added.

More Reading about Spring 2020's Senior Design Teams

How Senior Design Teams Succeed in the Middle of a Pandemic

How Georgia Tech ISyE Capstone Seniors Rose to the Challenge of COVID-19, and What It Means for Business at Large

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Georgia Tech Supply Chain and
Logistics Institute
H. Milton Stewart School of
Industrial & Systems Engineering
765 Ferst Drive, NW, Suite 228
Atlanta, GA 30332
Phone: 404.894.2343