SEMS  Newsletter Nov. / Dec. 2018 Issue
President's Message | New Leaders  Conferences

Hello SEMS Friends!
Fall is a season of change as we transition from the lush green warmth of summer with all its outdoor fun to the grey chill of winter with its warm fires and comfort foods.  Fall 2018 is also a season of change for engineers and engineering managers.  Changes in political and trade policies have changed the operating environment for many businesses.  New trade deals and tariffs have blown up many cost models for goods and services forcing businesses to implement quick and sometimes radical change.  U.S.-based companies have been on a trend of decreasing offshoring and increasing reshoring or near shoring products and components for several years as the gap between U.S. wages and wages of other countries has narrowed.  However, the sudden shock change of prices for some off-shored components and materials has created an almost emergency need for reshoring.  Engineers and engineering managers are on the front lines ensuring that the necessary changes in our facilities are performed and installed efficiently and effectively.  It is truly an exciting and challenging time, and this is what we are trained for. 
It may be a bit early, but I expect to see some papers and talks in the Engineering Management Track at the IISE Annual Meeting.  Speaking of which, be preparing your abstracts.  I can't wait to see everyone and everyone's work at the conference.  Take care.
Brian K. Smith , SEMS President  
Chinweike Eseonu, SEMS President-Elect  
Sreekanth Ramakrishnan , SEMS Past-President

Member Spotlight I Rochelle Cook, Ph.D. 

Dr. Rochelle Cook was the 3rd place winner of our SEMS Best Paper competition, sponsored by Missouri Science & Technology University and Old Dominion University at the 2018 Annual Conference & Expo in Orlando. Dr. Cook has a strong passion for utilizing education as a means of connecting academic and industry. This is summed up in her recent work: "Project Managers ' Use of Lateral Influence Tactics to Achieve Team Commitment in New Product Development Environments: A Conceptual Theoretical Comparative Analysis" which is published in the Proceedings of the 2018 Industrial and Systems Engineering Conference. In this article she states that
" It is my aim to forge an environment of interdependency so that
information and knowledge sharing is vital to the survival of entities
that benefit from the efforts of individuals. "

Dr. Cook's research focus is to apply transformational leadership theory to complex adaptive systems while using technical tools and techniques. The recently published article was inspired by her experience as an individual contributor for over 20 years in engineering and project management roles. She is the sole author of this article, which was derived from her dissertation which was completed at North Carolina A&T State University. Overall, the study suggests that the structured project management methodology tends to be met with complexity as people, processes, and technology are involved. In addition, the societal phenomenon of an individual who lacks formal authority and is responsible for leading a cross functional team of individuals to achieve organizational goals is one that needs to explained. The project managers' ability to initiate behaviors that result in an environment of collective enthusiasm, confidence, and critical thinking needs attention.  Read more here.

IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2019 I Deadlines are Approaching

As we transition from Fall to Winter, it may be hard to think about a conference in sunny Florida in May, but now is the time to submit your abstracts and papers for inclusion in the conference and consideration for the SEMS Awards. Submit your paper now for either the 2019 SEMS Best Student Paper Competition or the SEMS Best Paper Competition.

Details for the Student Paper Competition

Eligibility Criteria for the SEMS Best Student Paper Competition

  • The applicant must be a full-time student at the time of submission.
  • The paper must present original research results.
  • The research must have been conducted while the applicant was a student.
  • The paper must not have won or been considered for an award in another competition.
  • At least one author must be an IISE member and present the paper at the IISE Annual Conference & Expo.
  • Winning papers will appear on the SEMS website.
Authors will be asked to sign an ethics statement stating that they are full-time students and that the research and writing is their own work. Advising by a non-student is allowed, such as an academic or industry advisor. However, only students can be authors or co-authors.

Full paper submission deadline: Jan. 31, 2019
Notification of winners to IISE: March 5, 2019
The winner will be notified by March 8, 2019

SEMS Best Paper Competition

Important Dates:

September 11, 2018 - Abstract submission system opens
November 9, 2018 - Abstract submission system closes (no extensions)
November 30, 2018 - Authors will receive abstract review outcome
January 18, 2019 - Deadline for submitting required program abstract and optional paper
February 19, 2019 - Authors will receive Conference Proceedings paper decision
March 5, 2019 - Final paper due
March 8, 2019 - Presenting author registration due
May 18 - 21, 2019 - IISE Annual Conference

Lend a Helping Hand | Call for Volunteers 

If you are interested in getting involved with SEMS, there are always numerous opportunities for volunteers. We need people to help with new initiatives and ongoing activities like conference planning, newsletters and Industrial Management magazine. If you have ideas and suggestions related to how to improve the value for industry members contact Brian K. Smith , SEMS President (2018-2019).
SEMS SAYS | A Fresh Face on the SEMS Board of Directors 

It is an honor to serve as a new Board Member of SEMS. I have been involved with IISE since 2006 in some capacity, and SEMS for over three years now. As part of SEMS, I served as a Board Member from 2016 - 2017, and have been the Track Chair for the Engineering Management track at the 2017 and 2018 IISE Annual Conferences. I have volunteered to be the Track Chair again for the Engineering Management track at the 2019 IISE Annual Conference.
I have had the pleasure to work with pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food & nutrition (human consumption and animal health), chemicals, semiconductor, finance, electronics assembly & packaging, heavy machinery manufacturing, and education sectors - no I was not fired, nor did I change jobs that frequently. I work as a consultant, and am with CRB Consulting Engineers as the Director, Operations Improvement.
Having worked on numerous projects, I realized an underlying theme: Irrespective of the industry type, project objectives, schedules, funding, etc. - Organizations want to increase their competitive advantage while maintaining (or improving) their social image. Better resource management, improvements in engineering or design solutions, attracting new/more business, etc., are a few ways to increase competitive advantage. On the other hand initiatives and programs such as, sustainable programs, 'giving-back' initiatives, employee health programs, and Net-Zero, to name a few, help with the social image.
Now you may ask, what does this have to do with SEMS? Read more here. 
Niranjan Kilkarni is the Director of Operations Improvement with CRB.

SEMS SAYS | Success Comes From Our Volunteers 

We hope everyone who attended the IISE Annual Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, enjoyed the conference and used the opportunity to attend the excellent programs put together across the various tracks. Thanks to all of you who made the conference a tremendous success - our track chairs, invited speakers and the presenters. We are collecting the feedback from the conference to identify specific actions that can improve the 2019 conference.

As we transition to the new year in SEMS, we will use the inputs and suggestions from the town hall to shape our key initiatives in 2018-2019. Many of the town hall attendees indicated an interest in getting more involved with SEMS, and we are most grateful for that interest. SEMS is a volunteer-driven organization, and all help is appreciated. Over the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to those expressing interest in volunteering. Please let us know if you have an interest in helping SEMS.
As always, we welcome suggestions and volunteers to ensure SEMS remains a strong society for engineering and management systems. Contact any of your officers to offer input or get involved.

- SEMS President Brian K. Smith is an assistant professor at Mississippi State University. SEMS President-elect Chinweike Eseonu is an assistant professor at Oregon State University. SEMS Immediate Past President Sreekanth Ramakrishnan is a senior data scientist at IBM Corp.

SEMS Says | Enabling People Through Lean Six Sigma 

Engineering managers carry the world in our hands where people are at the forefront of everything we do. Our actions, our presence, our words are empowerment in a business, personal or educational setting.

Education through empowerment comes with the following principles: Esteem, respect, loyalty, legacy and enduring success. Once achieved, these principles will bring us followers and expectations of great things.

The importance of management support and enabling people is the distinguishing factor of engineering and management systems. Establishing proactive engagement principles will drive continuous improvement methodologies in any business setting.

The focus of enabling people is top management support. Every level must buy in for lean Six Sigma to succeed. Therefore, executive management needs to work in direct correlation with front-line supervisors, middle management and support functions. Coordination of all personnel through participation and team building will promote team-based activities within the organization, keeping the end goal in mind.

Leadership must structure its implementations with a focus on total employee involvement. This is enabled by leadership pushing decision-making and system development down to the lowest levels.
Tools are important. Processes are important. But they mean nothing if leaders cannot engage the people and encourage them to think and see differently. It is all about involving everyone in the organization. Empowerment involves "we," not just "I."

While strong leadership must come from the top, implementation must come from the rank and file. People doing the work know their work, so if they have the right direction and motivation, they will come up with the right solutions. Nothing rallies an organization behind a change initiative better than demonstrable and measurable wins.

First, engineering managers need to ask basic questions. Read the basic questions and more here. 

- Tina Agustiady is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt and continuous improvement leader. She has held numerous leadership posts in IISE, including Lean Division president. She currently is an IISE technical vice president.

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