Twice a year, Simio holds an international competition where teams of college students battle each other for fame, glory and $6,000 in cash. According to SIMIO, their most recent contest consisted of 868 students making up 250 teams which came from 33 schools across 14 countries. The team known as Group 11 (sure, the name needs some work. Got something better? Leave it in the comments below), consisting of Michael Rosenberg, Ethan Stewart, and Samuel Ferry, placed second, the highest finish for an NC State team ever! Of the top 16 teams, consisting of winners, finalists, and semi-finalists, three were from the ISE Department. We’ll do the math. That’s ALL ISE teams in the top 6.4% of all participants! The team projects were part of Dr. Stephen Roberts‘s ISE 441 Introduction to Simulation class.
The teams had to come up with a solution to a real-world, supply-chain problem. This problem not only challenged their model-building skills, but creativity, project management, and even video production and presentation skills as well. “A manufacturing company headquartered in Asia has to meet demand supply in Central and South America,” explained ISE Junior Michael Rosenberg. “They were trying to decide whether to build a regional distribution center in Miami, Florida or Panama to be able to handle supply surges as well as reduce lead times.”
Also, the company had six-week demand spikes that the team had to address. “That is where our model was the strongest versus our competition,” speculated ISE Junior Ethan Stewart. “We added a property that we could turn on and off to simulate surges. Many teams calculated a flat 10% or 20% increase, but we created a continuous function for them.” “Our model could show what would happen at any surge level,” said ISE Junior Samuel Ferry.
“We found that we should build a distribution center,” said Rosenberg. “Ethan and I built a separate model for Dr. Mayorga’s ISE 361 Deterministic Models in Industrial Engineering class. That model used linear optimization and gave us independent data to compare to our Simio model.” “They by and large came up with the same results.
So they presented their project to Simio with only one regret. “We wish the competition allowed the winners a chance to go to the actual corporation and pitch their solutions,” said Rosenberg.
What Did They Learn
Now having this experience under their belt, the team felt they could take this knowledge and apply it anywhere. “It’s so applicable to all industries,” said Stewart. “As I was working this problem, I thought about my internship last summer and how much of an impact it could make if I had something like this. I can already see applications for future projects.” Ferry added, “Dr. Robert’s did such a wonderful job of tying many things together for us.”
“When you do homework, that is great,” shared Rosenberg. “But when you work on a project like this and you know you will have to present it and you know people will see it, you think twice about the things you say. You are subjecting yourself to the world.”
The team also received help from ISE alumnus and new department head for NC State’s Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science Jeff Joines. “He gave us the upper hand on understanding inventory management,” said Stewart. “It paid off.”
The team learned of their second place finish in an email from the Vice President of Operations from Simio, David T. Sturrock and each received a certificate. They want to send a special thanks to Dr. Roberts, Dr. Joines, and Dr. Mayorga for their guidance throughout the entire project.
Watch the team’s short introduction video
Team: 4 the Win
Members: Kelley Anderson, Brent Goldstein, Annie Lin, Danielle Sumner
Members: Addison Garrigus, Kalene Hanson, Anjali Mani
Congratulations to all our winners and participants.
Watch the team’s in-depth project video