Forging a Stronger Partnership

Senior Design Team receives 1st place by joining forces with Lenovo engineers to solve a real world problem

In a job market where many college graduates are underemployed and saddled with debt, NC State ISE graduates are in high demand worldwide for their expertise in advanced analytics, logistics, systems and manufacturing technologies. Each year, an average of 93 percent of the ISE graduating class are recruited and employed prior to or upon graduation, with companies offering more jobs than there are candidates to fill them. As a result, enrollment in the department has more than doubled.

Not surprisingly, many of the 86 graduating seniors in the Class of 2015 were solving real-world problems even before they left campus. At the annual Senior Design Day competition in May, ISE student engineering teams presented solutions developed for North Carolina-based companies as part of the annual Senior Design Project. The program, directed by Dr. Anita Vila-Parish, Director of Undergraduate Programs at ISE, is available to companies who have engineering challenges and are looking for low-cost solutions that can have a measurable impact on the bottom line.

It also represents a direct pipeline to top engineering talent from NC State ISE who are prepared to make an immediate contribution.

The winning ISE Senior Design project was for Lenovo’s North American fulfillment center in Whitsett, N.C. The challenge from Lenovo was to increase capacity for same-day shipping to meet consumer demand. The ISE team designed simulation models to find ways to increase efficiencies in order picking, packaging and loading. A new system was designed to enable Lenovo to reduce the time from order to delivery by 475 percent, and increase the total percentage of same-day deliveries by 20 percent. “We’ve developed a strong partnership with NC State and the year’s effort is noteworthy for the recognition that the team received,” said Cliff Richards. “It’s rewarding to help bring along young people who will contribute to companies like Lenovo soon.”

Lenovo will begin implementing the solution immediately.

The winning design team is an extremely impressive group. Yuchen Yang has been hired by Lenovo corporate as a supply chain analyst. Michael Harrison is headed to Brown University to train for a two-year fellowship with Venture for America, an entrepreneur program that places top graduating talent within start-up companies across the U.S. to stimulate innovation. Nathan Fouratt, a Navy ROTC scholar, will be serving as an engineer aboard a nuclear submarine and Daniel Godfrey is moving to Atlanta to work for RockTenn as a continuous improvement engineer.

Congratulations to Team Lenovo and all the ISE senior design teams for their outstanding accomplishments this year