Trio of new professors joins Fisher’s Management Sciences department

As students at The Ohio State University kick off another academic year today, Fisher College of Business is welcoming a dozen new faculty members, including three new faces in the Center for Operational Excellence-affiliated Department of Management Sciences.

Joining Management Sciences this fall are:

elliot bendolyElliot Bendoly, who comes to Fisher as a full professor. Most recently an associate professor of information systems and operations management and a Caldwell Research Fellow at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Bendoly is a widely published researcher. His current interests include the interface between operations, information technology and psychology; and operations/strategy/technology alignment.

nathan craigNathan Craig, who joins the department as an assistant professor. His teaching experience includes courses in operations management and stochastic modeling as well as custom and executive-education programs at Harvard Business School and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His research interests focus on retail supply chains, including capital structure and liquidation in the retail industry as well as mechanisms for improved manufacturer service levels.

john draperJohn Draper, who joins Fisher from Ohio State’s Department of Statistics as a senior lecturer. His teaching experiences at Ohio State also include statistics in business, engineering and sports as well as biostatistics courses for graduate-level students in the College of Public Health and Dentistry.

Read more about the new Management Sciences professors and other new faces at Fisher at the college’s website.

COE member Crane Group growing with acquisition of PVC sheet pile business

A subsidiary of Center for Operational Excellence member Crane Group Companies is bolstering its parent’s portfolio with the acquisition of a PVC sheet pile business.

crane groupJacksonville-based Shoreline Plastics in August said Crane Group subsidiary Crane Materials International acquired its vinyl sheet pile business, including all related assets and intellectual property. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Crane Materials is headquartered in Atlanta, where Shoreline also has operations, and makes products for the marine industry, including seawalls, docks, piers and gangways. Holdings of parent Crane Group, which joined COE in 1998, include Crane Materials and several other brands, including Able Roofing, Engineered Profiles and Screen Machine Industries.

Shoreline Vinyl said it’s selling the business to allow it to focus on other core products. Crane Materials said the acquisition will allow it to invest in the growing demand for vinyl products.

Duane Bryant, president and CEO of Crane Materials, called the deal “a good business decision for our company.”

Ohio State president shares vision, insights on industry partnerships

Only a few months into his presidency at The Ohio State University, Dr. Michael Drake took the time at a public forum to share his insights on the importance of university-business partnerships and what’s in store for one COE member on the brink of major change.

ohio state president drake
President Drake, left, speaking at the Columbus Metropolitan Club forum

President Drake, who stepped into the post June 30, took the stage at an August forum hosted by the Columbus Metropolitan Club and co-sponsored by COE member Mills James.

Asked about Ohio State’s vision for public-private collaboration, President Drake said the school already has great partnerships with private industry.

“We want to do even better with that,” he said, later adding that “one of the things that attracted me to the city is its potential for partnerships.”

If President Drake’s very first day on campus serves as an indication of his future priorities, the Columbus community is poised to benefit. Drake on the afternoon of his inaugural day joined city and federal leaders to announce $30 million in federal funding for Columbus’ struggling Near East Side that will go toward job training and education assistance, among other uses.

One key item on Drake’s agenda looking forward is Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, only months away from opening a $1 billion-plus expansion years in the works for years. It’s a challenge, Drake said, to be able to continually improve, but “we want to be able to increase quality, access and affordability.”

And while all eyes are on President Drake in the nascent days of his term, he insists it’s how he leverages the resources of faculty, staff, students and the business community that will make all the difference going forward.

“The job of the president is to do what he or she can do to facilitate the work of the great people that are a part of this great institution,” he said. “You don’t make or break an institution. It’s all about all the people here doing this great work and the students who are the beneficiaries of our focus.”

Watch Drake’s full address here.

Risk, lean leadership share spotlight at September COE seminar

Steering an organization toward operational excellence comes with internal and external headwinds, and next month’s quarterly COE seminar is tackling two critical ones with the help of its featured presenters.

rubik babakanian
R. Babakanian

Kicking off COE’s Sept. 26 seminar at 10:30 a.m. is Rubik Babakanian, senior vice president and chief procurement officer at hard drive manufacturer Western Digital Corp. Babakanian’s company stands today as a $15 billion organization with its stock price on a steady upswing, but the road to be there hasn’t been without risk. Like many manufacturers with heavy operations in Asia, Western Digital suffered severe disruptions and temporary shutdowns during the devastating 2011 Japanese tsunami and Thai floods. The events in a nine-month period rocked the global supply chain and forced Western Digital to examine its risk mitigation and management practices with renewed vigor.

Babakanian, a 30-year industry veteran, will outline the methods and tools the company has put in place to better understand its supply chain, track ever-shifting risk factors, and be prepared for the next “100-year event.” Western Digital’s story highlights the universal business challenge of investing in risk mitigation, one that’s never complete – but truly pays off when crisis comes.

walt miller
W. Miller

At 1 p.m., COE welcomes to the stage Walt Miller, who serves as director of operational excellence at engine maker Cummins. Miller is in charge of driving and coaching a culture of empowerment and continuous learning at the company. He’ll share in this session his approach not only to coaching and developing leaders of the future, but in transforming longtime leaders deeply ingrained in a “command and control” culture.”

Miller, author of will share these principles through the lens of a Cummins case involving the turnaround of a plant that started out with a lagging on-time delivery rate costing millions of dollars in missed monthly sales and a rigid, top-down leadership model. It’s a story that shows a lean organization can be built and sustained anywhere with people, a process and a customer – and that behind every good leader is a great team and a great production and management system.  The challenge is how you build it and, most importantly, sustain it.

Babakanian and Miller are just part of a full-day event that includes a networking lunch and a special event at 2;30 p.m., after Miller’s presentation . Co-hosted with Fisher’s Office of Career Management and the Operations and Logistics Management Association, the third-annual Supply Chain Career Connection is a chance to network informally with Fisher’s great graduate students interested in pursuing careers in the supply chain arena. Unlike a rigidly structured job fair, industry attendees are encouraged to mingle with students, share their career path, and share experiences with their current employer.

COE also will announce the featured keynote speakers for its April 2015 summit at the seminar, immediately prior to the 2:30 p.m. networking event.

Seating and space for all of these events are limited, so register now to reserve your spot in-person or to watch a live webcast of the morning and afternoon sessions!

At a glance:

Date: Friday, Sept. 26

Location: Ballroom, The Blackwell, 2110 Tuttle Park Place, Columbus, OH


  • 9 a.m.: Board meeting (COE board members only)
  • 10:30 a.m.: Morning Session – Western Digital (COE members only)
  • Noon: Networking lunch (COE members only)
  • 1 p.m.: Afternoon Session – Cummins (COE members and guests welcome)
  • 2:30 p.m.: Supply Chain Career Connection networking event (COE members and guests welcome)
  • 4 p.m.: Seminar concludes

Op-ex principles drive design, processes at new Wexner Med Center emergency department

A Columbus Dispatch story this week on The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s new emergency department set to open this weekend includes a few discouraging statistics on the operation’s current state.

wexner medical centerWait times for patients eventually admitted, according to the article, exceed 6 hours, the third-longest rate among Ohio hospitals. And about 4 percent of patients leave before they’re treated, double the national average.

The steps Wexner Medical Center is implementing to combat these problems, however, are extremely encouraging.

Here are just some of the new features of the new emergency department, the first part of its new $700 million hospital tower to open:

  • An increase in beds;
  • Mobile computers that allow registrars to go to ailing patients;
  • Relaxing décor touches instead of stark white light;
  • A physician available on visitor-heavy weekdays ready to treat quick and easy problems, such as wounds needing stitches;
  • And a 16-bed unit focused exclusively on cancer patients, which Wexner Med Center claims is the first of its kind in the nation.

It’s a sharp focus on process and a drive to improve the patient experience that underlie all of these changes. These also show that Wexner Medical Center’s commitment to operational excellence is alive and well.

Read more at the Columbus Dispatch.