Leyuan Shi sees immense potential for improving production efficiency in the manufacturing industry. She’s hoping to help drive that progress as the new director of the Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (CQRM) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Shi, a professor of industrial and systems engineering, has developed “smart manufacturing” technology that allows companies to more precisely monitor and optimize their production scheduling, thereby reducing waste and boosting profits. Her work is well suited to companies producing low volumes of highly variable goods, making her a natural fit to lead CQRM.
“I bring the latest technology to the center, our students and to the industry,” says Shi, who’s worked with CQRM industry partners National Oilwell Varco and John Deere over the course of her career. “I think manufacturing companies, particularly in Wisconsin, should be aware of this kind of technology to help them improve their efficiency and lower their cost.”
ISyE Professor Emeritus Rajan Suri founded CQRM in 1993 to bring together companies and academics to trim lead times and improve bottom lines. The center currently has 50 industry partners, most concentrated in the upper Midwest but some coming from as far away as California, Georgia, New York and Texas.
CQRM’s new leadership team also includes alumna Charlene Yauch (PhDIE ’00), who has returned to her alma mater as associate director.
Yauch, who also holds master’s degrees in manufacturing systems engineering and sociology from UW-Madison, has previously served on the faculty of Oklahoma State University and Milwaukee School of Engineering and worked as a practicing engineer. In her new role, she’ll visit partner companies, lead workshops and training sessions, and recruit new members. She’ll also teach Design and Analysis of Manufacturing Systems, a graduate course that gives students opportunities to work on projects for industry partners.
“I really like to see manufacturing processes and how materials are transformed into products, so I love getting involved in visiting manufacturing companies and seeing how they operate,” says Yauch, who worked with CQRM as a graduate student. “I also like the challenge of trying to re-envision how to do it.”
Together, Shi and Yauch hope to challenge traditional mindsets while improving the manufacturing sector.
“The technology is there. Lots of companies are so hesitant,” says Shi. “We need some visionary people.”
Author: Tom Ziemer