Students from the College of Business and Economics (COBE) and the College of Engineering (COEN) recently completed a semester-long project where they worked with a team from Micron Technology to investigate an operational issue occurring at an assembly line workstation. The student team – supply chain management majors Danielle Andrade, Ryan Alpers and Alaina Holland and Joey Rodoni from COEN’s engineering plus program – was tasked with creating recommendations to improve the workstation’s flow and efficiency. Micron provided the team with several large sets of data related to the operational issue, which the students then analyzed to gain an understanding of the problem and develop recommendations for improvements.
The students applied effective project management and communication skills as they conducted the project without any in-person meetings due to COVID restrictions. Micron’s team was extremely satisfied with their performance, and has since hired Alpers and Rodoni as employees.
“I’ve worked plenty of internships and jobs before graduation and I am confident to say this project has prepared me more for life in a professional setting better than any class or classes combined,” Rodoni said. “This project included real world problems, resources, standards and deadlines that no class can simulate.”
Rodoni graduated from the project of improving a workstation and now is in charge of monitoring a workstation as a full-time manufacturing technician at Micron. In this new role, he ensures all of the tools are functioning properly, that they are ready to process any parts coming down the line, and that there are no scheduling conflicts when high priority parts come through the workstation.
“Two key takeaways from this project are to be prepared and to get comfortable being uncomfortable,” he said. “This has helped me tremendously in transferring to a full-time position at Micron as I am always prepared for my next task or activity. When challenging yourself, you should be uncomfortable and put yourself in new environments, which in the long run will help you grow as a person but also as a professional asset.”
The student team was coached by professors James Kroes and Daniel Rush of COBE’s Information Technology and Supply Chain Management (ITSCM) department. This is the third consecutive year in which the ITSCM faculty and Micron have collaborated to give students exposure to a realistic operational process improvement project.
According to Kroes, the students have delivered impressive results and recommendations each year.
“Dr. Kroes helped me learn how to ask for help, and he helped me understand all of the resources I had available to me and how to use them as effectively as possible,” Rodoni said. “Especially in school but even more so at work, there are so many hidden faces there to help you succeed and people are there to help you when you ask, but you better ask them if you want to get help.”