A third-year Fisher College of Business undergraduate student who spent time overseas this summer in nonprofit consulting has joined the Center for Operational Excellence as its intern for the academic year.
Tuhina Bhatt, a native of Clarendon Hills, Ill., will be assisting in administrative work and event management for the center through May 2019. In addition to her undergraduate work specializing in accounting, Bhatt participates in the college’s Business Analytics Industry Immersion Program and is vice president of membership for Ohio State’s Leadership and Service Academy.
This summer, Bhatt was part of a team that traveled to London, England, to work with Soles4Souls, a U.S.-based nonprofit, through the college’s Global Projects Program. In her work with the project consulting team, Bhatt and her colleagues helped the nonprofit with its operational expansion into the United Kingdom.
As part of its efforts to connect students to industry and support tomorrow’s leaders, COE employs a student intern each year. Past interns include Christopher Schmitt (2017-18), now a transaction advisory services staff consultant with Ernst + Young; Eric Schlabach (2016-17), now a senior analyst at center member Nationwide; and Savanna Coen (2015-16), now an assistant buyer with the corporate office of retailer Kohl’s.
The final speaker for the Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence’s sixth-annual summit opened his keynote with a statement that had emerged as a running theme across the three-day experience: “We’re no longer a knowledge economy; we’re a learning economy,” said Dr. Bradley Staats (pictured, above), an associate professor of operations at the University of North Carolina and author of the forthcoming Never Stop Learning. “It’s not what you know today; it’s how you’re going to adapt, how you’re going to change to deal with the uncertainty you face tomorrow.”
COE’s Leading Through Excellence summit brought together nearly 500 process excellence leaders from across the country to Columbus in April for a dynamic variety of continuous learning opportunities, a record crowd for the event, which launched in 2013. Take a look back at Leading Through Excellence 2018 through this photo essay, featuring photography from Jodi Miller …
More than 200 summit attendees headed offsite on the first day of the event for gemba visits offering an up-close look at problem-solving and innovation strategies at companies around Ohio. One group traveled all the way to center member Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Akron headquarters to walk the floor of its race-tire manufacturing plant and see how visual management is embedded in the company’s product development process.
Another group headed up Kenny Road to experience the student-industry partnerships under way at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research, which has partnered with the summit on two other occasions in the past.
Center member Clopay Building Products hosted a wide-ranging tour of its massive 1 million-square-foot-plus manufacturing operation in Troy, guiding attendees through the site on trolleys that stopped throughout for quick looks at problem-solving strategies embedded in the facility.
Back in Columbus, keynote Karen Martin opened the day with an exclusive workshop on her latest book, Clarity First, which examines how too many companies are leaving value on the table by letting ambiguity flourish – and details how to overcome it. “The words we choose and the actions we take make or break what happens to people’s lives and the financial well-being of organizations and employees,” Martin said in her keynote the following morning. “Clarity is a big deal – and we need to take it seriously.”
Fisher College of Business faculty member David Veech, who works with the Master of Business Operational Excellence degree program, led a half-day morning workshop that taught attendees hands-on team-building strategies to use in their organizations – and rarely had them in their seats.
Brutus Buckeye stopped by COE’s annual reception for speakers and board members at Ohio Stadium. Pictured are, from Columbus-based Leverage HR, breakout hosts Shawn Garrett (left) and Sapna Welsh (right).
Each year, COE features a number of Fisher College of Business researchers sharing the latest insights with their work in industry. Here, Nathan Craig, assistant professor of management sciences, gives his breakout session attendees a crash course in machine learning, a technology that’s transforming how organizations are putting data to work.
The COE summit isn’t possible without the support of more than 40 student volunteers, who assist on tours and workshops and introduce featured speakers, and other Fisher and Ohio State staff members. Pictured, from left, are students Muhammad Shire, Anthony Lazerri, and Jin Li.
The threat – and opportunity – of disruption emerged as a running theme of the summit and was the featured topic in a number of breakout sessions. Here, Root Inc. Managing Director David Kalman in his breakout session offers insights on building a culture of disruption.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Charles Duhigg served as the first-ever keynote for COE’s inaugural summit in 2013. He returned this year to share insights from his latest book, Smarter Faster Better, telling attendees that “thinking more deeply has always been the killer productivity app. People who are able to think more deeply about their goals and priorities, and what they ought to be spending time on, or about how to innovate faster, about how to see insights better. Those are the people who end up succeeding over time.”
The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, a regular partner at past COE summits, returned again this year to entertain attendees during the second day’s evening networking reception.
At the annual networking reception, COE also features Fisher College of Business students who have successfully completed operational excellence projects with a number of Columbus-area nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
Fresh off his Big Ten Coach of the Year win, Buckeye Men’s Basketball Head Coach Chris Holtmann stopped by the kick off the third and final day of the summit, sharing his insights on leadership and offering a candid look at a blockbuster first season at Ohio State.
Companies willing to “lift the hood” and share how they’re tackling tomorrow’s biggest challenges are at the heart of COE’s summit line-up. Here, Nationwide leaders (from left) Kevin Yania, Tobi Milanovich, Tom Paider, and Erik Bennett take part in a panel discussion on how the Columbus-based insurer is incorporating artificial intelligence into processes.
Fisher’s Master of Business Operational Excellence program is a driving force in creating tomorrow’s lean leaders. One of those graduates, Emily Jackson, hosted a breakout session on the summit’s final day to detail how she’s working to embed a culture of continuous improvement and respect as director of nursing quality at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
Leading Through Excellence isn’t a solo sport. Each year, dozens of organizations bring teams – like this one from member BMW Financial Services – to learn new problem-solving strategies and search for the next great idea to implement at the office. Leading Through Excellence 2019 returns to the Fawcett Center in Columbus April 9-11, with registration set to open Dec. 10, 2018.
The Ohio State Center for Operational Excellence is more than just a community for today’s business leaders. It’s a pipeline for tomorrow’s.
COE this spring announced the latest annual round of scholarship funding for high-achieving first-year MBA students at Fisher College of Business who are heading into their second and final year of the program. The $4,000 in scholarship funding is supported by the center and the Department of Marketing and Logistics’ Logistics Scholarship Fund.
Here are this year’s recipients:
Jared DeVore (pictured above, second from left), an operations management major, received $500 in scholarship funding from COE. DeVore has worked at companies including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Battelle, and most recently, Huntington National Bank. His post-graduation aspiration is to work for a benefit corporation such as Patagonia, Honest Co., or TOMS to drive operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Bhargav Ram Dharnikota (pictured above, far right) received $2,500 in scholarship funding through the William L. Berry scholarship. This honor, endowed by the emeritus professor, is designated each year to a student expected to have an impact in the operations world. Dharnikota, an operations management major, came to Fisher for his MBA after managing end-to-end project operations in an IP consulting firm. This summer, he’ll be participating in Fisher’s Global Applied Projects (GAP) program with Western Digital as well as serving as a summer associate with GEP Consulting.
Vimal Gopinathan (pictured, above second from right) received $500 in scholarship funding from COE. The operations major is at Fisher pursuing his second MBA. Upon graduation next year, he plans to leverage his quantitative skills and diverse experiences to build a career in the consulting industry. He’s also participating in the Western Digital team through the GAP program.
Praveen Kumar(pictured above, far left) received $500 in scholarship funding from the Logistics Scholarship Fund. The logistics management major will be working in a global e-procurement consulting role for his summer internship. After graduation, he plans to work in inbound logistics, working closely with suppliers and helping them determine their effective logistics strategy.
Looking to take your networking opportunities with students through the Center for Operational Excellence to the next step?
COE has rolled out a new benefit for members: Resume books of first- and second-year Fisher College of Business MBA students specifically focused on pursuing careers in operations. The inaugural 2017-18 edition includes 16 first-year MBA students’ resumes and 11 second-year MBA students.
Fisher’s Office of Career Management has fielded the resumes, which are housed on COE’s Members Only website (just click the “Download MBA resume books” button and, if you haven’t already, log in and/or create a COE username).
How does it work? We recommend considering first-year MBA students for project and/or internship opportunities. Second-year MBA students are candidates for full-time employment. If you find a candidate you’re interested in from either resume book, feel free to reach out to them directly.
Have any questions and/or needs regarding hiring/recruitment? Contact Jamie Mathews-Mead in Fisher’s Office of Career Management at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resumes currently on the website will remain there through the spring of 2018, with a new round posted each fall.
The resume books are one of a number of features on COE’s members-only website. There, you have access to dozens of past event recordings, COE summit breakout session slides, and the portal that offers livestreaming of upcoming events.
In your pocket. On your wrist. In your shopping cart. On your browser.
Data are everywhere, and companies’ demand for workers who have the skills to translate those into insights is only growing by the day. The McKinsey Global Institute has predicted a gap of nearly 200,000 workers in the U.S. with deep analytical skills – just by next year. The gap for data-savvy managers with analytical skills is even wider, at 1.5 million and counting.
The Center for Operational Excellence’s home at Fisher College of Business is responding to this gap by launching a new graduate degree that’s set to offer its first classes next fall: the Specialized Master of Business in Business Analytics (SMB-A). In announcing the program last month, Fisher said the program is built to equip professionals with an understanding of the science of data analytics and its impact on business innovation, productivity and growth. Applications are being accepted now.
“Fisher’s SMB-A program directly addresses this workforce need and the needs of countless businesses and organizations around the world,” said Greg Allenby, co-academic director of the SMB-A program and a professor of marketing and logistics. “Data and data collection is in everything we do — from how we shop, to how we choose our music to how we consume our news and entertainment.
The SMB-A program is the third master’s program Fisher has launched in the past decade and comes just nine years after the debut of the Master of Business Operational Excellence program. MBOE, which launched largely as a result of COE member demand, has trained hundreds of lean leaders since its inception in 2008 and is heading into its 10th cohort next month.
Fisher’s latest innovation, the SMB-A, also represents another example of the college’s continuing efforts to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. After rolling out course options and offering weekend bus service for students in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton this year, Fisher announced the SMB-A program will be a blend of online and weekend classes.
Spanning 10 months, the program has a curriculum built around descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics and includes a “capstone” project using real data from students’ employers or other businesses partnering with Fisher.
Waleed Muhanna, co-academic director of the SMB-A program and a professor of accounting and management information systems at Fisher, called the program a “relevant, high-impact graduate degree that appeals to professionals from across multiple fields and industries.”
“Those who enroll in the SMB-A are taking control of their career development as data-savvy professionals and consultants and are choosing to elevate themselves as leaders in an area that is critical to business now and for generations to come,” Muhanna said.
One of the best ways to unlock the value of your company’s membership in the Center for Operational Excellence is engaging with students at Fisher College of Business.
Once again, COE is offering member companies the opportunity to partner with groups of students on projects designed to give them real-world experience – and give you real value at no cost. COE Associate Director John Gray is seeking interested companies to host a group project for his second-year MBA and junior/senior undergraduate “Strategic Global Sourcing” classes for autumn semester 2017.
To indicate your company’s interest, just fill out a quick survey by Tuesday, Aug. 8. If your project is selected, you’ll work with Prof. Gray in August to create a more detailed project scope, which will be presented to students at the start of the academic year.
In these projects, students take what they’re learning in class – make-vs.-buy decisions, location decisions, supplier management, and more – and apply it to a real-world problem-solving need at your company. By opening up your doors, providing data and committing to roughly one call per week, your company receives up to three hours of work per week per MBA student along with a written deliverable, which can include analyses conducted through the project.
Many COE member companies take advantage of project opportunities as a way to network with students and build relationships that ultimately could open doors to internships and/or job opportunities. Projects also offer the chance for concrete ROI – the “I” being solely your company’s time and commitment.
Looking to engage more with the global sourcing community? Join Prof. Gray’s LinkedIn group. If you have questions or would like more details, contact him at email@example.com.
While only about two in every five undergraduate supply chain-focused students at universities are women, they hold a scant 3 percent of executive-level leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies. The Management Sciences department at Fisher College of Business this fall has launched a new initiative seeking to grow those numbers at both ends of the pipeline.
The department this academic year welcomed its first round of scholars in the Pathways for Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain program, a group of eight first-year undergraduate women at Fisher College of Business. Each student has received a $2,500 scholarship, funded by this year’s Pathways Scholars sponsors: Columbus-based Motorists Insurance Group and Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Cooperative.
Management Sciences Department Chair Ken Boyer said he worked to launch the program for reasons both personal and practical. He’s the son of one of the first women to earn a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin 60 years ago.
“Barriers to women in a variety of professions have been greatly reduced in the intervening decades,” Boyer said. “Unfortunately, this is far different from saying there are no challenges.”
Indeed, data from research firm Gartner shows women staff only 20 percent of supply chain leadership roles at the director level and higher. This comes as the nation’s supply chain workforce faces a troubling shortage as waves of baby boomer retirements crest.
Krista Pohlman, senior director of program management for Wendy’s QSSC, said developing the company’s talent pipeline was a key motivator in signing on to fund the Pathways Scholars program.
“We really want to be a world-class supply chain organization,” Pohlman said. “To collaborate with Ohio State in an effort to bring more women into this industry is something we’re immensely proud of.”
Ralph Smithers, assistant VP of Associate and Community Engagement at Motorists, said the company approached the opportunity with similar goals.
“We’d like to increase the number of women in the supply chain management field, and it’s a great opportunity to work with Fisher on this,” he said.
The scholars in the program, in addition to their funding, connect with mentors from Motorists and QSSC over the course of the year and receive coaching from Fisher professors. They also connect with supply chain organizations through several exclusive events hosted throughout the year. Already this fall, the students have toured Wendy’s and Wendy’s GSCC, attended a National Association of Women Business Owners conference, and met with supply chain leaders from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Nestle USA and DSW Inc.
Ultimately, Boyer said, the participating students will be well-positioned to find supply chain leadership roles as they enter the workforce.
For information on the Pathways program and sponsorship, check out its website or contact Ken Boyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next time you think your organization’s process problems are so singular they couldn’t be happening anywhere else, ask Joe Langlitz and his colleagues how they spent the first month of their summer this year.
Langlitz and fellow Fisher College of Business MBA students James Goetter and Wenzhao Bi closed out their first year in the program with an 8,000-mile trip below the equator to Gaborone, Botswana. They were one of eight groups of students sent overseas through Fisher’s Global Applied Projects (GAP) program to work up-close with a corporation to solve a business challenge. Sponsoring the students’ gap team was the Botswana arm of British banking giant Barclays, where Fisher alumnus Jeff Davis serves as Chief Risk Officer.
Looking back at the work Langlitz and his team completed, Davis says they’ve helped lay the groundwork for some major improvements in Barclays’ business loan approval process. Getting there, however, entailed a frenzied three-week mission to hunt down process waste that put to work what each team member brought from the classroom and enlisted the help of a few Center for Operational Excellence members, too.
‘I wanted a revolution’
Davis cut his teeth in the birthplace of lean manufacturing, working with automakers and suppliers as they applied lean/Six Sigma principles. Today he’s a top officer at Barclays Botswana, which employs 1,200 at its corporate office and 42 branches and ranks as the second-largest bank in the market.
“When I got into financial services later in life, I would see our processes through the lens of the learnings I had in the automotive industry and would get frustrated at our inability to do true lessons and root-cause analysis in our pursuit of simple, repeatable processes.”
A particular target of Davis’ frustration was the corporate loan approval process at Barclays Botswana, which could – and often did – take as few as two days but also could stretch past six months in some instances, putting average turnaround just shy of four months.
“I wanted a revolution,” Davis said. “I wanted 500 percent better.”
Davis took his first steps toward a solution by connecting with the GAP program at his alma mater, eventually bringing the trio from Fisher to Gaborone and pairing them with two MBA students from the University of Botswana. The project team had zero formal corporate banking experience – and that’s exactly what Davis wanted.
“We wanted an injection of new ideas,” he said.
Langlitz admits to a dose of culture shock upon arrival. Gaborone is the governmental and economic capital of a country with a fast-growing economy, but one that also still relies heavily upon mining and the cattle trade. It’s the latter – particularly their penchant for wandering onto busy roads in Gaborone – that struck the team in their early days.
“The first week we were there, it really sunk in: ‘We’re on the opposite side of the equator,’” he said.
The more time the team spent in country, however, the more familiar it became – and the more Langlitz and others saw how universal challenges such as those at Barclays are.
“They’re just like any institution,” he said. “They’re trying to figure out better ways to serve the customer.”
The GAP team and their University of Botswana colleagues took on what Barclays dubbed “Project Firefly,” an extensive effort to visualize the loan approval process flow in the form of a value stream map and, importantly, flag non-value-added elements therein. The long-term goal is to slash average loan-processing time a staggering 90 percent to only 10 days.
Mapping the process required interviewing numerous stakeholders across different offices and navigating at-times fraught situations.
“With the overall process so fragmented, teams tend to be myopic when dissecting which processes are adding to uncompetitive turnaround times,” Davis said. “We asked the team to hold a mirror up and tell our people what’s going on without placing blame, and they did a nice job of lowering defenses.”
In addition to receiving regular coaching from COE Executive Director Peg Pennington, the Project Firefly team also sought insights on the challenge at hand from two member companies: Huntington National Bank and KeyCorp.
“A lot of the pain points they had,” Langlitz said, “were pain points Barclays has been dealing with.”
Jeremy Winstel, a senior manager of enterprise lean/Six Sigma for Key, said reducing customer hassle has been a regular focus for the bank in its process improvement efforts. His insights served as a key early benchmarking opportunity for the project team before and during their stint in Gaborone.
“Providing this knowledge transfer assistance has been a great way to get plugged in to Fisher and try to help out,” Winstel said. “That’s what the COE’s about, holistically.”
Kevin Plaugher, senior vice president and business banking credit manager at Huntington, also spent time walking the team through the credit approval process and imparting a key bit of wisdom:
“It’s like physics,” Plaugher said. “If you want to extend credit to the customer, there are certain things you have to do, and you can’t pretend steps in the process can be skipped or eliminated. Still, even with the most manual processes, there are tools to make it faster, simpler, and clearer.”
Langlitz said benchmarking with Huntington and Key “sent us down the right path” to ultimately making this key discovery: More than half of the time Barclays Botswana spent processing loans was non-value-added. This opened the door to substantial improvements.
Just the beginning
The Project Firefly team capped their nearly three-week stint with Barclays Botswana by reporting out their findings and recommendations to the bank’s executive leadership team and its Managing Director, the region’s top-ranking official. Langlitz said the team took particular pride in the fact that none of its recommendations came strictly from qualitative information.
“All our recommendations were data-driven,” Langlitz said. “These weren’t just because we heard someone say it was a good idea.”
The results and recommendations provided major clarity for Barclays going forward, even if Davis and his colleagues already knew process waste was a problem.
“We knew there was a lot of waste in the system, but we’d never been able to measure it,” he said. “They did a great job of taking a complicated set of data from a lot of locations and distilling it down to a very clear story to tell.”
Through the summer, Barclays Botswana began hiring additional associates and making its first strides in implementing some of the Project Firefly recommendations. Improvement efforts are set to ramp up through the fall, Davis said, for what is expected to be an ongoing process.
As for the students, Langlitz said he and his colleagues gained invaluable process improvement skills, through an unforgettable experience, no less.
“Being able to say I’ve been there, done business in a different culture, I’m a lot more comfortable now.”
Much of what we do at the Center for Operational Excellence involves outreach and professional development with industry, but we’re proud to support our fantastic students at Fisher College of Business as well.
This week, we honored four first-year MBA students headed into their second year at Fisher with scholarship funding from COE and an annual fund through the Management Sciences department. Awarded $750 each from COE were Sreekanth Kolan and Aiswarya Ramamurthi. Seth Johnson and Rahul Parameswaran each received $1,250 through the William L. Berry scholarship. This honor, endowed by the emeritus professor, is designated each year to students expected to have an impact in the operations world.
Kolan this summer is headed to an internship at Warsaw, Ind.-based medical device maker Zimmer, while Ramamurthi is Cleveland-bound for an internship in operational excellence and process improvement at PolyOne Corp. Johnson has internships lined up in Columbus this summer in data analytics at Gear Digital, and in operations at Ohio Power Tool.
Congrats to all scholarship recipients!
This article appears in the April 2014 edition of COE’s Current State e-newsletter. Have a colleague who should be receiving this e-newsletter? Contact Matt at email@example.com.
Looking for a great volunteer opportunity that gives you face-time with leaders from a wide range of industries?
The Center for Operational Excellence’s second-annual three-day Leading Through Excellence summit will bring together Fisher College of Business faculty, dynamic leaders, and process improvement experts with acute insights into today’s business challenges. We expect this event to draw more than 250 mid-level and higher-ranking operations professionals – and we’re seeking Fisher undergraduate and graduate students to volunteer.
You can help out by:
Staffing the check-in / registration desk
Riding along during Wednesday, April 9, plant tours
Introducing professors / visiting professionals during breakout sessions
Assisting with audiovisual needs during presentations
Helping attendees as a greeter / way-finder
…among many other opportunities.
Some important details on this opportunity: The summit takes place at the Fawcett Center, 2400 Olentangy River Road. COE is running shuttles between Gerlach Hall and Fawcett every 30 minutes during the summit for the 5-minute trip. Volunteer shifts begin at 7:30 a.m. each day and are available until 7 p.m. Weds./Thurs. and 3 p.m. Fri., and you can select one or multiple 2-hour slots.
If you’re interested, please contact Sreekanth Kolan at firstname.lastname@example.org. All you have to do aside from staffing your volunteer slot is attend a one-hour volunteer info session on Wednesday, April 2, in 355 Gerlach, from noon to 1. Pizza will be served, naturally.