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Industrial Engineering

Clockwise from top right: Derek Ceglarek, Jean-Phillippe Loose, Jijun Lin, Suzy Wang, Michelle Bezdecny, Shiyu Zhou, Wilson Huang, and Kamal Mannar

Clockwise from top right: Associate Professor Derek Ceglarek; students Jean-Phillippe Loose, Jijun Lin, Suzy Wang, Michelle Bezdecny; Assistant Professor Shiyu Zhou; and students Wilson Huang and Kamal Mannar Jean-Phillippe Loose, Jijun Lin, Suzy Wang, Michelle Bezdecny; Assistant Professor Shiyu Zhou; and students Wilson Huang and Kamal Mannar. (26K JPG)

Manufacturing it right the first time

There are 60,000 to 80,000 different surfaces that must fit together in a car. If even a few of those parts are geometrically "off," the vehicle won't perform as it should. However, prototyping each part to check its size and fit is time-consuming and expensive in an era when fierce competition dictates moving a product quickly and cheaply from design to launch.

With almost $2 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program, Associate Professor Darek Ceglarek and Assistant Professor Shiyu Zhou are developing a computer simulation system to model, analyze, predict and optimize the performance of complex multistage manufacturing processes requiring accurate part alignment. They hope to help manufacturers avoid building prototypes to check product dimensions, shortening design and ramp-up times. In addition, they hope to help manufacturers reduce dimensional variations once production has begun and will develop techniques to diagnose the root cause of variation errors during production. They call the process "first-time right."

Students Wilson Huang, Jijun Lin, Jean-Philippe Loose, Michelle Bezdecny, James Kong, Kamal Mannar and Suzy Wang are working with the two on the project. Ultimately, their industry partner, Dimensional Control Systems, will implement their algorithms in its software, which helps companies track dimensional quality.

Is bar-coding the best medicine? Study tracks how new technology affects health-care organizations

At a large hospital, a nurse bustles into a patient's room with a palm-sized computer and hand-held scanner. She swipes the scanner across the patient's wristband, then scans her own identification and the vial of medicine in her hand. The computer beeps, warning her that this is the wrong drug for her patient — and alleviating what could have been a serious medical error.

A few studies have examined how bar-coding technology affects medication-administration errors, says Assistant Professor Ben-Tzion Karsh. However, with a $1. 36 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Karsh is leading an effort to study how implementing the technology will affect an entire organization.

The research is unique because it is the first major study of bar-coding technology as it's applied in pediatric hospitals, which have a unique set of potential medication errors. Karsh's group is working with similar pediatric hospitals in Wisconsin and Tennessee to assess the technology's overall effect. When the study concludes, the researchers will establish guidelines to help health-care organizations prepare their entire facility to implement bar-coding technology and understand and navigate the changes and difficulties that may occur afterward.

Team spirit: New model could boost care-worker morale

In many nursing homes, direct-care workers often leave their jobs because they are dissatisfied with their work environment and level of input into resident care. Professor David Zimmerman calls the retention rate for staff at all levels, including registered nurses (RNs) and administrators, "terrible."

With a five-year, $640,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Zimmerman is directing a project to implement and evaluate a team-based care model he hopes will increase worker job satisfaction, boost retention rates and improve the quality of care nursing-home staff deliver.

The model will open the lines of communication among nursing-home staff by laying out clear policies and procedures for providing care. A licensed health-care professional — usually an RN — will lead a team and staff at all levels will play key roles.

The model could mitigate the negative effects of a staff member's leaving and, because it sets forth consistent policies and procedures, make training new staff easier. Ultimately, says Zimmerman, nursing-home residents themselves will receive better care.

Director of the college's Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis (CHSRA), he is collaborating with Nursing Professor Barbara Bowers and the Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging on the project. CHSRA Associate Scientist Allan Stegemann is project director; several CHSRA researchers are part of the project team.


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Date last modified: Thursday, 17-Feb-2005 14:09:29 CST
Date created: 17-Feb-2005