A team of graduate and undergraduate students with a shared interest in logistics and engineering recently completed an independent study project that may shape the future plans for a local company.

Second-year Master of Business Logistics Engineering (MBLE) students Bohao Hou, Chuhan Zhang, Mengqi Lei, first-year MBLE students Charles Zhou and Yan Jiao, and undergraduate student Matthew Brichler, spent the fall semester consulting on a project for Secure Handling, a medical waste and document disposal company.

The team was tasked by Jeffrey Gilliam, of Secure Handling, to provide recommendations to a number of challenges facing his company, including:

  • Where to locate his facilities
  • What transportation routes to consider

Gilliam said the reputation of Fisher’s MBLE program prompted him to consider an outside perspective.

“A number business associates suggested that I approach the MBLE program given its strong experience in logistics and its reputation for providing quality analysis,” he said. “The team provided me with a number of options for plant locations with the majority focusing on central Ohio.

“Currently my company will most likely take the recommendation of the team.”

The team, led by Hou, was able to put into practice concepts learned in the classroom.

“It feels very rewarding, as we were able to apply what we learned in class and help our client with his business,” he said. “We also learned a great deal from this experience. My personal takeaway is that sophisticated algorithms are not the only way to solve complex problems. If we look at complex problems with a holistic view, we can figure out what aspect is the most important to the client and start from there.”

Gilliam was impressed with the quality of the Fisher team’s work and its recommendations.

“Having different perspectives provided some needed creativity and validation as well,” he said. “My experience working with the team excellent. They were professional, detailed and creative. They exceeded my expectations.”

Said Steve DeNunzio, senior lecturer and director of the MBLE program: “The MBLE is highly-experiential, and we pride ourselves on that aspect of the program. Only so much can be learned in the classroom, so it’s important to us that students get into the field and work on solving real problems and designing effective solutions. It also allows them to exercise the skills they’re taught in classes, including leadership, conflict resolution, solution design and project management.”