Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

February 2011    |    Volume: 43    |    Number: 2

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers

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Life support for hospital staff 

Life support for hospital staff

Professional labor is the biggest cost component of healthcare in a hospital, and measuring professional activities has been an engineering challenge due to knowledge requirements, inconsistency of the activities, variation of activity duration, and the dynamics of clinical care for each patient. The research described in this article centers on a nurse staffing model that predicts appropriate staffing levels daily and measures the financial impact of an improved staffing process.
By Timothy C. Stansfield, Ronda Massey and Joshua Manuel

Discretely evaluating complex systems 

Discretely evaluating complex systems

Discrete-event simulation is a powerful computer modeling tool that helps engineers understand the impact that variability can have on a production system. Modeling a proposed system change in a project's planning phase increases the chances for success. Six Sigma black belts and lean project team leaders should understand when to use discrete-event simulation and where to go for help in developing this skill set for their teams.
By Paul D. Babin and Allen G. Greenwood

Are you ready for VMI? 

Are you ready for VMI?

Vendor managed inventory (VMI) long has been considered a best practice to integrate the supply chain. But while VMI receives kudos as a panacea for inventory-related problems, evidence is mounting that it doesn't work for everyone. This article presents research about 15 factors that affect an organization's readiness for VMI as well as case studies to illustrate how these factors are applied. 
By Tarikere T. Niranjan, Stephan M. Wagner and Bublu Thakur-Weigold

 
Out of space 

Out of space

Inventory accuracy is critical for NASA astronauts in space, so researchers at the RFID Supply Chain Lab in the University of Nebraska's Department of Industrial Engineer decided to tackle the problem. This article shows how optimizing inventory policies with technologies such as RFID and discrete-event simulation can improve inventory control in space and how real-time inventory control can impact life on Earth.
By Erick C. Jones, Maurice D. Cavitt and Angela Garza

 
Confessions of a lean lunatic 

Confessions of a lean lunatic

Can lean methods and a bit of common sense increase profitability when businesses produce or sell a high variation of products at lower volumes? One entrepreneur set himself up to answer this question when he purchased a small, profitable manufacturing business with no experience in that industry. By using lean methods, the company became even more successful, and the entrepreneur lived to tell the tale.
By Greg Lane



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