Industrial Engineering


Center for Industrial Competitiveness

About the Projects

Our projects are semester long partnerships between a design team composed of senior Industrial Engineering students and an industry client. This project serves as a capstone project for our students undergraduate education and typically will take place during the students' final semester at Clemson. The center will work with the sponsor to define the scope of a project, assign expert project mentors and manage the student team over the course of the project.

Types of Projects

As we emphasize a balanced industrial engineering curriculum in our department, our students are trained to work on a diverse range of projects and our history reflects this.  Projects involving ergonomics, layout, production modeling, and many other areas have been successfully completed by our students in the past.

Description of the Process

A structured design process is a key component to the center's projects using proven methodologies to ensure solutions are thorough and of a high quality.  The combination of this process with the education our students receive will allow for professional approach and provide our sponsors with a unique perspective on an existing problem.

As one of the first steps in the design process, the team constructs a project task list and a project schedule [with task dependencies shown in a DSM or PERT chart and progress in task completion shown in a Gantt chart]. As project advances, the task list, DSM or PERT chart, and Gantt chart are updated to show progress in completing planned tasks and any changes that are to be made in the task list and relationships among tasks. The task list and project schedule information is submitted along with the first project deliverable, and the team will be required to submit updated versions of this information periodically during the course of this semester.

Appropriate industrial engineering tools are used in evaluation and solution development. More specifically, tools of descriptive modeling [e.g., flow charting, anthropometric data, queuing models, simulation] and/or prescriptive modeling [e.g., classical optimization, linear programming] are be used in the evaluation and/or solution refinement processes.

The project will follow a structured design methodology with intermediate deliverables.

Project deliverables and the final report: Each of the following items is considered to be a deliverable to the company contact, the project mentor and the course coordinator. Each deliverable may be a presentation, report or both. The midterm progress report and the final report will be based on these deliverables. In addition, the final report will include a summary and conclusions section, and an executive summary.

Initial investigation and mission statement
Customer needs list and product specifications
System losses and physical and why-why analyses
Midterm progress report and presentation
Performance evaluation findings update
Final presentation and report

The details of these sections are as follows:

• Initial investigation and mission statement:

The mission statement is a brief but complete statement of what is to be accomplished in the project. It includes the scope of the project, sources of data, and the name of the primary customer. The teams will document and analyze the current systems defined within the scope of their project. The team will then explore and list the different IE tools that will be used in the project.

• Customer needs list and product specifications:

This list documents what the customer wants and expects to get from the project, and it describes the form of the final product. The needs should be presented in a hierarchical form with the most important needs emphasized. The product specifications are a set of statements giving various aspects of final system performance and telling how each is to be measured. Measurement values would be achievable.

• System losses and root cause analyses:

This deliverable describes deviations from normal operations - system losses - and indicate magnitude and frequency of occurrence of deviations. Using relevant data to document importance of the deviations, with explicit consideration of the magnitude and frequency of the deviations, the team identifies the most significant losses to focus their efforts on. The team identifies operating principles of equipment/processes that create phenomena and systematically explore likely causes of the phenomena. Using root cause analysis tools such as Fish Bone Diagram, FMEA, etc. the team thoroughly explores all aspects of the system to identify root causes.

• Performance evaluation:

This deliverable will involve a presentation of the different concepts and a report detailing the performance evaluation. The recommended concept will be evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively as appropriate to demonstrate that it conforms to the mission statement and satisfies the performance specifications. Appropriate tools of industrial engineering should be used to assess the cost, time, and human factors consequences of adopting the most promising concepts. For example, tools of descriptive modeling [e.g., flow charting, anthropometric data, queuing models, simulation] and/or prescriptive modeling [e.g., classical optimization, linear programming] should be used. The cost consequences of adopting the recommended concept must be explicitly addressed.

• Final report and presentation:

The final report describes the complete project, presents all the data analysis, concepts, the performance evaluation results and recommendations for the final solution. It would incorporate any recommendations made by the project mentor, course coordinator, and company representative. In addition, the design team also presents the design project at the client location.

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