Industrial Engineering Student Team Takes First Place in National Competition

Top row, from left: Tevari Barker and Douglas Kamarade. Bottom row, from left: Diego Rodriguez Kan and Bradley Taylor.
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Top row, from left: Tevari Barker and Douglas Kamarade. Bottom row, from left: Diego Rodriguez Kan and Bradley Taylor.

A team of Industrial Engineering students has taken first place in a national logistics and supply chain case competition hosted by the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers.

Team members Tevari Barker, Douglas Kamarade, Diego Rodriguez Kan and Bradley Taylor are advised by Sandra Eksioglu, Hefley Professor in Logistics and Entrepreneurship in the Department of Industrial Engineering.

Competition winners will be recognized at an upcoming IISE Annual Conference & Expo. The competition was hosted by the Logistics and Supply Chain Division of IISE.

Teams were asked to showcase their problem-solving capability and analytical skills by analyzing a logistics and supply chain case study. The University of Arkansas team developed and solved two distribution network design models to help a company simulate a cross-docking operation by implementing a strategy called zone-skipping.

The zone-skipping operation involved pool points located in the west region of the United States to reach western distributors. This redesign of the distribution network was directly related to the increased postal rates imposed by USPE, a postal service, on the company. The company's goal was to reduce the cost to deliver shipments out west, restricted by the increased postal rates.

For Barker, the competition was a chance to apply what he'd learned in the classroom.

"Before we built our models, we needed to fully understand the case study and the data given to us," he said. "We quickly determined a large portion of our data was irrelevant to our solution design. From this we were able to make a handful of assumptions regarding the information to be used." The group met for several weeks to improve their assumptions and prepare data for modeling. Once they moved to the modeling phase, team members said they were surprised how well the models ran during the first build of networks.

Portrait of Sandra EksiogluEksioglu encouraged the students to compete in the competition in the fall of 2019, while they were taking her transportation logistics class.

Barker said Eksioglu's guidance was key in their success.

"During the class, she helped the team to improve our operations research skillset which played an important role in their success," he said. "Throughout the project, she continuously supported us and set high standards which set us up for success."

Eksioglu said she was pleased, but not surprised, to see the group's success.

"I am not surprised that this team of students took first place in the competition," she said. "They were among the best in my class and they are among our top industrial engineering seniors. I did notice that this team used with ease tools they had learned in a number of industrial engineering courses. This success is due to their diligent work during their careers at University of Arkansas. I'm very proud of them."


Tamara Ellenbecker, website developer
Department of Industrial Engineering

Nick DeMoss, director of communications
College of Engineering


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