Industrial Engineering Professor Receives National Science Foundation Grant

Manuel Rossetti
University Relations

Manuel Rossetti

Manuel Rossetti, professor of industrial engineering, has received a National Science Foundation Grant for almost $200,000 from the Partnerships for Innovation: Accelerating Innovation Research-Technology Transfer program, "PFI:AIR-TT: Fast multi-echelon optimization via grouping."

The project focuses on translating optimization and inventory segmentation research to fill the need for fast multi-echelon inventory optimization within complex supply chains. The U.S. has over $2.2 trillion invested in business inventories; thus, companies require computationally efficient algorithms that can minimize the cost associated with managing these inventory assets. Multi-echelon inventory optimization determines the correct levels of inventory across a network based on demand variability at the various nodes, or echelons. It considers inventory levels holistically across the entire supply chain while taking into account the impact of inventories at any given point (or echelon) in the system.

This project will result in prototype algorithms in the form of software services that result in a multi-echelon inventory segmentation analyzer. This multi-echelon inventory segmentation analyzer has computationally efficient optimization run times, near optimal solution quality, and the ability to perform fast "what-if" analysis. These features provide the following advantages: shorter times to find optimal solutions, higher quality solutions, and the ability to mitigate risks through "what-if" analysis when compared to currently available segmentation analytics techniques. This project addresses the following technology gap(s) as it translates from research discovery toward commercial application. First, this research addresses the best group size when applying the segmentation analytics to large-scale industrial datasets. Secondly, this research optimizes the parameter settings associated with the algorithms in order to determine the best settings with respect to the trade-off between computational speed and solution quality. Lastly, this research performs experiments in order to determine the best grouping criteria to use within the segmentation analytics.

The project engages Invistics Corporation in this technology translation effort from research discovery toward commercial reality. Invistics provides cloud-based software solutions for inventory visibility, with advanced analytics and actionable insights. Manufacturers, distributors, controlled substance registrants, laboratories, and healthcare facilities use their software to reduce inventory costs and compliance risks, within a single facility or across the extended enterprise. Tom Knight, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Invisitcs is a co-PI on the project will work closely with Rossetti.

In addition, personnel involved in this project, including the graduate and undergraduate students, will receive innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology translation experiences through experimental research methods, interaction with a small business, and software development processes.

"The PFI program at NSF is highly competitive, and receiving an award at this level is an indication of the respect peers have for Rossetti's previous work and the potential of this project for transforming inventory optimization," said Ed Pohl, Industrial Engineering Department Head.

Manuel Rossetti joined the Department of Industrial Engineering in 1999. His research interests include the design, analysis, and optimization of logistics, manufacturing, health care, and transportation systems using computer simulation and operations research techniques. He strives to develop new methods and techniques that can be applied within industrial engineering practice. He does this by identifying and solving problems within these fields that require such techniques as simulation, statistics, probability, optimization, and software development. These problems are of strategic and fundamental importance and require a long-term perspective for developing viable solutions. Rossetti also serves as the Director of the Center for Excellence in Logistics and Distribution (CELDi).


Tamara O. Ellenbecker, website developer
Industrial Engineering


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