Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Industrial Engineering - Book Directory

Scientific industrial efficiency (1917)

Author: Farnham, Dwight Thompson, 1881-1950

Psychology and industrial efficiency (1913)

Author: Münsterberg, Hugo, 1863-1916
Published: 1913

Human and industrial efficiency (1920)

Author: Chellew, Henry

Principles of industrial engineering (1911)

Author: Going, Charles Buxton, b. 1863

The human machine and industrial efficiency (1918)

Author: Lee, Frederic S. (Frederic Schiller), 1859-1939

Industrial plants; their arrangement and construction (1911)

Author: Day, Charles, 1879-1931

Industrial fatigue in its relation to maximum output (1918])

Author: Spooner, Henry John, 1856-

The six-hour shift and industrial efficiency (1920)

Author: Leverhulme, William Hesketh Lever, Viscount, 1851-1925

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mike Tao Zhang - Spansion Inc.

Mike Tao Zhang

Senior Manager at Spansion Inc. (Nasdaq: SPSN)

San Francisco Bay Area

Mike Tao Zhang’s Experience
Vice President
US-China Green Energy Council
(Non-Profit; 1-10 employees; Environmental Services industry)

March 2008 — Present (3 months)

Senior Manager
Spansion Inc.
(Public Company; 10,001 or more employees; SPSN; Semiconductors industry)

May 2007 — Present (1 year 1 month)

Manage a group of 2 departments (Factory Automation - Software Systems and Automated Material Handling System - AMHS) and 1 team (Industrial Engineering), about 50 engineers and 10 technicians, to support operation of a Technology Development Factory in Silicon Valley;
Lead migration of factory automation systems (MES) from Workstream to Fab300;
Lead install and operation of AMHS;
Build up an IE department from zero and drive cycle time reduction;
Assist company Supply Chain optimization and decision making.

Staff Technologist
Intel Corporation
(Public Company; 10,001 or more employees; INTC; Semiconductors industry)

July 2005 — May 2007 (1 year 11 months)

• Serve as a primary corporate expert on manufacturing operations education, R&D, and implementation
• Teach INTRODUCTION TO MANUFACTURING SCIENCE (a 4-day Intel University course on Factory Physics, Lean, Six Sigma, Manufacturing Excellence, etc. at worldwide Intel locations)
• Manage cross-organizational projects to improve Intel manufacturing productivity – cycle time reduction thru PM optimization, cycle time goaling, queuing modeling, and wafer start control
• Lead corporate R&D efforts on manufacturing operations through collaborations with top universities
• Lead supply chain strategy development for Intel Flash products including supply chain configuration and system selection
• Chair the Intel AzFSM Productivity Open Forum to facilitate technical competency building on manufacturing operations by sharing internal/external learning

Department Manager, Group Leader
Intel Shanghai
(Public Company; 10,001 or more employees; INTC; Semiconductors industry)

April 2003 — July 2005 (2 years 4 months)

• Promoted twice in two years due to outstanding performance – saved Intel $20M and was granted 8 Intel awards
• Started from zero and built the 1st Intel Operations Research & Solution (Industrial Engineering) center in China
• Reported to Intel PD1 General Manager, managed three groups, supervised 20+ employees, and led company-wide productivity improvement program
• Managed Decision Support System (DSS) development and implementation – achieved $10M cost saving through Kit-Breakdown initiative and a planning/scheduling/execution total solution
• Drove cross-departmental efforts to reduce cycle time/inventory/operational cost, streamline operations/workflow, and maximize equipment/personnel utilization – achieved 10%+ capacity gain in Flash assembly by implementing dynamic capacity modeling; doubled assembly capacity through productivity improvement with $15M+ cash and $2M capital saving
Senior Automation Engineer
Intel Corporation
(Public Company; 10,001 or more employees; INTC; Semiconductors industry)

April 2002 — April 2003 (1 year 1 month)

• Served as the primary owner of Factory Scheduler (RTD) in the most advanced fab (Intel Fab D1D)
• Partnered with Industrial Engineering, Planning, Manufacturing, and Processing Engineering to develop dispatching rules and reports

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
UC Berkeley
(Educational Institution; 10,001 or more employees; Semiconductors industry)

October 2001 — April 2002 (7 months)

Electronics Research Lab, Univ of California, Berkeley, CA

Mike Tao Zhang’s Education
University of California, Berkeley
1998 — 2001

University of California, Berkeley
PhD, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, 1998 — 2001

MANAGEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY Certificate, M.S. and Ph.D., all from the Univ of California, Berkeley in record-breaking 3 years

Mike Tao Zhang’s Honors:
IIE Outstanding Young Industrial Engineer Award – "This award recognizes individuals in business or industry who have demonstrated outstanding characteristics in leadership, professionalism, and potential in the field of industrial engineering.”
- Intel Flash Product Divisional Award, “for your great efforts in shaping out Supply Chain strategy for NAND backend network,” 2007
- Intel Ireland Fab Operation Divisional Award, “for leading PM scheduling optimization system development and implementation,” 2007
- Intel Corporation ATM Flash Platform Product Steering Council Award, “for ramp of assy 3+1 output from 192ku/wk to 600ku/wk without major capital investment,” 2004
- Intel Corporation ATM Flash Platform Product Steering Council Outstanding Achievement Award, “for supporting 100% Q4'04 Revenue Max early closures,” 2004
- Intel Corporation ATM Achievement Award, 2004
• U.S. Government recognized Alien with Extraordinary Ability

Scott Thomas - IE - Intel Corporation

Scott Thomas is a Senior Industrial Engineer at Intel Corporation working in Object Tracking Technologies.

He founded and manages the Scanning Technology Lab in Chandler Arizona. He is currently focused on passive RFID applications in manufacturing and logistics operations and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) for capital asset tracking. Scott has over 4 years of experience in object tracking and monitoring technology at Intel using such diverse techniques as passive RFID, sensor motes, and machine vision. He has completed numerous projects for Intel. In his 12 years at Intel, Scott has been responsible for the design and fit-up of several distribution centers on 3 continents. He has managed inbound materials, finished goods, and returned materials warehouse operations and chaired the worldwide Joint Operations Team responsible for standardizing logistics operations worldwide. Scott is APICS certified and holds a degree in Industrial Engineering.

MICHAEL MILLER - Modelgistics

Mr. Mike Miller began his supply chain management career with Roadway Express as an industrial engineer in Nashville, TN and continued to progress through the Roadway organization as the Division Engineer for the Southeast Region based in Atlanta. Following his experiences in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research with Roadway Express, Mike joined Georgia-Pacific in Atlanta, Georgia as the Manager Process Improvement Logistics. In this role, he oversaw the industrial engineering aspect of logistics for one of the largest paper and forest products companies in the world. Following his experience at Georgia-Pacific, Mr. Miller began working with Norfolk Southern as a consultant in the development of the Mixing Centers in 1997 to design the processes and procedures for the handling of Ford Motor Company's finished vehicle network. Following his work on the Mixing Center Network, Mike went to work for Norfolk Southern in the Industrial Engineering and Operation Research group continuing to work with the mixing centers and providing to consulting services to NS customers. Mr. Miller left Norfolk Southern in 1999 to pursue a position with a start up Internet company called Derivion. He was involved in the start of this company that started the initial forays into Internet billing. During his time with Derivion, Mike held the position of Director of Channel Development where he oversaw relationships with all key stakeholders in the Internet supply chain necessary to offer the Internet billing service. Mike advanced to the position of Vice President of Strategic Development at Derivion and oversaw all strategic planning initiatives within the corporation. In 2001, Mr. Miller returned to Norfolk Southern to lead Modalgistics, a new business venture started by Norfolk Southern to provide consulting, technology and operations support to multi-modal industrial manufacturing companies. Mike has led sustained growth at Modalgistics and has positioned the company as a major player in the multi-modal consulting business. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University and a MS in Business Management from North Carolina State University. He holds a Supply Chain Certification from the University of Tennessee and is a member of the Council Supply Chain Management Professionals and the Atlanta Logistics Roundtable and a founding Board Member of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce - Logistics Innovation Council.

Greg Daniels - Nissan North Americal

Greg Daniels — Senior Vice President, U.S. Manufacturing, Nissan North America

Greg Daniels is senior vice president, U.S. Manufacturing, for Nissan North America, Inc. He manages the Smyrna plant and oversees the Decherd, Tenn., Powertrain Assembly Plant and the Canton, Miss., manufacturing plant.

Daniels joined Nissan in 1982. He has held director positions in Product Quality Assurance and Manufacturing. He was most recently vice president, Manufacturing, for the Smyrna plant.

Prior to Nissan, Daniels worked as an industrial engineer at Ford Motor Co.’s Wayne Assembly Plant.
Daniels has served on the executive committee of 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee. He is a member of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and an alumnus of Leadership Rutherford County. The Tennessee Jaycees named him an “Outstanding Young Tennessean” in 1992.

Daniels received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Albany State University in Albany, Ga.

Greg Daniels - Nissan North Americal

Greg Daniels — Senior Vice President, U.S. Manufacturing, Nissan North America

Greg Daniels is senior vice president, U.S. Manufacturing, for Nissan North America, Inc. He manages the Smyrna plant and oversees the Decherd, Tenn., Powertrain Assembly Plant and the Canton, Miss., manufacturing plant.

Daniels joined Nissan in 1982. He has held director positions in Product Quality Assurance and Manufacturing. He was most recently vice president, Manufacturing, for the Smyrna plant.

Prior to Nissan, Daniels worked as an industrial engineer at Ford Motor Co.’s Wayne Assembly Plant.
Daniels has served on the executive committee of 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee. He is a member of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and an alumnus of Leadership Rutherford County. The Tennessee Jaycees named him an “Outstanding Young Tennessean” in 1992.

Daniels received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Albany State University in Albany, Ga.

Book Review of Disposable American - by Louis Uchitelle

Read the full review from

The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences
by Louis Uchitelle
Vintage, 287 pp., $14.95 (paper)

Through the story of the three Stanley CEOs, Uchitelle traces a mental journey taken by a great many top managers over the past few decades in managing US companies.

The new mindset of US managers was well described by Uchitelle in his brief account of an interview with Trani (one of the characters in the story) in November 2004 (just a few days before he, too, retired, with an $8 million bonus and a $1.3 million-a-year pension). "Layoffs and plant closings," Trani says, "are not such a rare event anymore that one generally makes a big deal out of them." Scarcely mentioning the laid-off workers, he acknowledges no hesitation, no regret—in fact, no alternatives. The story, as he tells it, comes down to the difference between successful leaders, who "look at reality as it exists," and unsuccessful ones, who make the mistake of "hoping for it to change."

Jack Welch had pushed more than a hundred thousand workers off the GE payroll. Welch's combative style has gone out of fashion lately; in fact, Uchitelle had something to do with that. A longtime reporter for The New York Times, he was largely responsible for "The Downsizing of America," an attention-getting series of Times articles on the mass layoffs of the early and mid-1990s. Those articles helped inspire a backlash.

Uchitelle's Layoffs, reminds us, that layoffs were a hot issue in the 1992 presidential campaign. Bill Clinton came down hard on companies that closed factories where Americans made "a decent standard of living" while opening "sweatshops to pay starvation wages in another country. Candidate Clinton wanted corporations to spend at least 1.5 percent of their earnings on "continued education and training." (Companies that made such a commitment were less likely to let employees go, research showed.)

But once he became President Clinton — and as the budget deficit moved to the center of his thinking — gave a new name and spin to "continued education and training." Now the Clintonites began to speak of "lifetime learning," which was more exhortation than policy and directed mainly at employees, not employers. Americans who had lost their jobs or who sensed their skills becoming outmoded were told that they could take charge of their careers, go back to school, and emerge retooled and "reempowered."

The interesting thing in this book is that one of the CEOs included in the plot is an industrial engineer.

Frank Stanley Groenteman - Professor with strong Industry Background

Mr. Frank Stanley Groenteman
Professor-Industrial & Mfg. Syst. Engr.
The University of Texas at Arlington

7300 Jack Newell Blvd. South, Fort Worth, TX 76118
Mail Box: 19045, ARRI, Room No.: 313

M.B. University of Dallas
B.S. Industrial Engineering & Management Oklahoma State University


Certified Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt Expert for both the manufacturing and service industries
Certified by the State Of Texas as a Texas Awards for Performance Excellent Examiner
Certified Shingo Prize examiner
Certified Comptia RFID + (Radio Frequency Identification) expert and trainer
Certified by MEP to be the national Train the Trainer for Lean Office and is the course coordinator

Other Expertise
executive coaching & mentoring, transformation management, lean manufacturing & administration techniques, financial management, strategic planning development & implementation and operations management



Frank Groenteman has more than 30 years of progressive experience in engineering, manufacturing and business management.

Since joining TMAC in March 2001, Frank has worked with many manufacturers including Motorola, Johnson & Johnson, DIAB, Inc., Vought Aircraft, and Corporate Express and over 80 smaller firms providing professional business assistance.

Prior to TMAC, Frank was the Transformation and Materials Manager for Tyler Refrigeration, a subsidiary of Carrier Corporation, a United Technologies Company. While at Tyler, Frank was responsible for managing the relocation of a large manufacturing operation. As part of a team effort he helped implement Lean concepts and techniques at Tyler.

Prior to this work, Frank was the President and Owner of Copycomm, Inc, an electronics company that he created and later sold to Kansas City Power & Light. In addition to being responsible for all aspects of the business, Frank personally received two US patents.

Prior to his entrepreneurial venture, Frank was the General Manager of Tandy Electronics Personal Computer Division (now known as Radio Shack). As GM, Frank successfully transformed operations using lean concepts resulting in 40% reduction in floor space usage, 50% total inventory reduction, and 30% reduction in material handling. He also implemented an MRP system and executed a marketing and sales promotion that resulted in a $26 million contract with Saber. During Frank's tenure as GM there was $300 million in annual sales and he directly managed over 600 employees.

Earlier, Frank was the Production Manager of Frito-Lay's largest plant, a division of PepsiCo. He also served as the Frito Product Manger, Sr. Industrial Engineer, and worked on the Headquarters Corporate Staff. Early in Frank's career he worked as an Industrial Engineer and Manufacturing Engineering Group Leader at Motorola, Inc. introducing new products and building a new manufacturing plant in Texas. He has successfully accomplished other transformation projects and consulting assignments throughout his career with several firms including Lennox Industries, Source, Montgomery Elevator and Games by Apollo.


Institute of Industrial Engineers

Dallas Institute of Industrial Engineers


North Texas Outstanding Industrial Engineer Award from IIE in 1997

George Dettloff - President and CEO, SKF USA Inc.

George Dettloff
President and CEO, SKF USA Inc.
President, SKF Automotive Division - North America

George Dettloff is president and CEO of SKF USA Inc., a position he assumed in January 2006. In this position, he coordinates a variety of activities for the SKF Group's US-based operations, including its Automotive and Industrial and Service businesses. His responsibilities include oversight of Human Resources, Administration, Legal, IT Systems, Finance and SKF's shared service center. Dettloff reports directly to Tom Johnstone, president and CEO of AB SKF.

Mr. Dettloff is also president of SKF's Automotive Division - North America, a position he assumed in January 2004. In this position, he has overall responsibility for the operation of both its bearings and seals businesses. Mr. Dettloff oversees all strategy development, sales, marketing, engineering, finance and manufacturing for the organization.

Mr. Dettloff joined SKF in June 2000 as president of its seals business. In this capacity, he led a team in developing operational excellence by reducing inventories, strengthening supply chain management, and emphasizing a team management philosophy, all anchored by lean manufacturing and Six Sigma methodologies.

After graduating from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University), he worked 17 years as an industrial engineer, financial analyst, project leader and manager of corporate purchasing for General Motors Corporation.

He then moved to Rockwell International where he was promoted from vice president of Worldwide Corporate Purchasing to operations head of the company's Valve Division.

He also has held operational positions with Eaton Corporation as general manager of its Transmissions and Engine Components business, and then with Textron Corporation as president of its Industrial Fasteners business. These positions allowed him to fine-tune operational excellence techniques such as Lean, Kaizen, and the value of team building led by those who perform the work.

Mr. Dettloff is a registered Professional Engineer, State of Michigan, and has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Detroit. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

David Poirier:National Grocers Co's industrial engineer

David Poirier:National Grocers Co's industrial engineer

IE visionary delivers the goods for grocery supplier

David Poirier, an industrial engineer, played a significant role in creating and launching the strategic vision of Canada's largest food wholesaler and retailer.
In 1981, when he graduated from the University of Toronto with an IE degree, he avoided the region's two largest employers, Ontario Hydro and General Motors and joined National Grocers Co. Ltd., to become that company's first industrial engineer.

The reason for choice in Poirer's word is - "I wasn't particularly interested in going into an organization where they could tell me with certainty where I was going to be in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. One of the things that appealed to me about National Grocers was they hadn't a clue where I was going to be. Therefore, I wasn't constrained by their stereotyping of what a career would look like."

Poirier's boundless pursuit of opportunities has served him and his employer well in the 17 years since. Poirier literally blazed his own career path at National Grocers and its parent company, Loblaw Companies Ltd., for whom he is now senior vice president of logistics, planning, and systems.

He has generated opportunities for more than 80 industrial engineers at the Etobicoke, Ontario, firm and inculcated the entire corporation with IE savvy. His skills in strategic planning and business systems reengineering helped National Grocers over the past 10 years double the amount of product going through its distribution centers while adding no square footage and a minimum amount of labor.

But it's Poirier's role as a visionary that has made the greatest impact. In 1993 he was one of the leading forces behind National Grocers' "Vision '98" five-year strategy to improve the company's performance in its eastern Canada operations for Loblaw. In January 1996 he took on his current job, helping implement the vision coast to coast for the 75,000-employee Loblaw, which has a total of 360 corporate and 547 franchise stores under a variety of banners, and wholesales to 4,723 accounts. The plan's success appears in the ledgers of Loblaw's 1997 annual report:

* Sales in 1987 totaled $8.631 billion, dipped in succeeding years, then slowly rose to $9.356 billion in 1993. Four years later, sales topped $11 billion despite losing $1.52 billion from curtailed U.S. operations over the same period.

* Operating income inched from $190 million in 1987 to $200 million in 1993 before leaping to $272 million in 1994, $320 million in 1995, $359 million in 1996, and $426 million in 1997.

* Return on sales, at 2.2 percent in 1987 and 2.1 percent in 1993, is now 3.9 percent.

The value of Loblaw stock has soared 400 percent since 1993. Correlating with these ledger successes, the company saw scores double on measurements of quality and employee satisfaction. "We've seen phenomenal results with improvement in quality," Poirier says, citing one distribution center that dropped from 14 errors per thousand to 2 errors per thousand in two years. Systems thinker or psychologist?

"Dave has been the chief architect and chief strategist for transforming that company," says D. Scott Sink, president of Learning Leader, a consulting firm in Moneta, Virginia, and an IE who has served as a consultant to Loblaw. "He's really transcended what I call traditional industrial engineering. The traditional industrial engineering mindset tends to use a lot of paradigms about methodologies for improving things; we tend to put boundaries around things. Dave has a multidisciplinary mind. Though he was trained in industrial engineering, he understands that succeeding means bringing an industrial psychologist's mind to bear." Indeed, when Poirier describes his own role and contributions as an IE, he devotes the bulk of his talk to employee behavior. You're likely to come out of the conversation with the impression that Poirier is the company psychologist, not its strategic planner, and that he's the activity director organizing morale-boosting events rather than the systems manager streamlining $11 billion worth of products through 20 distribution centers across the second-largest country (in area) worldwide. "Did somebody tell you I'm an IE?" he says, laughing. "I'm a psychology major," he jokes. But for Poirier, as a key to effective systems change, people's behavior is as important as process. "I'm very big on measurement and management systems within the business," he says. "But those are the things that IEs tend to know anyway The reason I focus so heavily on the people side is because that's the area that gets missed so much."

Poirier is a man of dichotomies. Co-workers and subordinates describe him as perfectionist and patient in the same breath. "He's extremely perfectionist," says Ronald Foti, vice president of industrial engineering for Loblaw Companies and a member of Poirier's 12-person management team. "Dave is always looking for the small details in everything. His bar is probably higher than everybody else's that I've worked with so far. But what really makes a difference with him is he's extremely patient. In eight years of dealing with him and working directly under him for six years, I never, never saw him lose his cool." Co-workers' descriptions of Poirier are dominated by praise and admiration. "Dave is exceptionally bright, just pure intelligence combined with a degree of astuteness; pragmatism, if you will," says Rob Almeida, a chartered accountant (Canada's equivalent of a certified public accountant in the United States) and vice president of development and reengineering for Loblaw Companies. "He has the necessary ingredients of leadership: courage, intelligence, and wisdom. There are a number of people who have been mentored and developed by Dave, including myself."

"Balance" is a key component of Poirier's philosophy, not only guiding his approach to systems reengineering but also serving as the foundation of his life. "Balance in life between serving your organization, serving your family, and serving your community, that's something I hold very near and dear," says Poirier. He also makes sure he keeps a well-balanced management team. Says Almeida: "If we get too young, he'll bring in more experience. If we get too old, he'll bring in more youth. If we get too pragmatic, he'll bring in college grads to bring in more theoretical thinking. If we get too theoretical, he'll bring in more operators." "Getting a mix of backgrounds and ideas can really bring out the best in everybody," Poirier says. "The other thing I've found is that people learn the most from those around them. So, to create an environment where there are significant differences in opinions and backgrounds - an environment of diversity in a number of dimensions - enables an individual to experience other viewpoints that help them shape and formulate their future decisions. It's the fastest way I know of learning in an experiential sort of way."

Poirier began his own industrial engineering education early in life. His father opened a series of textile factories and served as the general manager of each until assigned to open another plant. Poirier was born in Montreal, but his family moved frequently, including spending a year in Trinidad, and eventually ended up in Toronto for his high school years. His dad enjoyed engineering, though he wasn't formally educated, and he passed that appreciation on to his son. "He used to bring me into the plant and tell me how things operated, how they were laid out, and that sort of thing," recalls Poirier. "I always found that of interest."

Poirier attended Carleton University in Ottawa to pursue a combined degree in engineering and law. "I was interested in the mechanics of how things worked. At the same time I didn't want to be a highly technical engineer, and I always was interested in law as well - in the logic, structure, and strategy of it." After a year he decided the combination was too much to handle, transferred to the University of Toronto, and pursued industrial engineering, the perfect marriage of his avocations. "There's a strong parallel between law and industrial engineering," he says. "It's really around thinking about systems and structure and the bigger picture of things - looking at businesses as systems and models and being able to see the entire organization as a system. Law has a very similar kind of structure to industrial engineering." It's often said that attorneys manipulate cases by "turning on the finer points of the law." Some of that technique apparently stayed with Poirier. "He has the ability to zoom out and zoom in," says Sink. "He can get altitude - talk strategy and policy - for the firm, but he also has the ability to drill down right into the warehouse and be able to understand the small opportunities and make those things happen." Foti mentions the same strength: "He's always able to take something at a fairly low level and connect it with tremendous ease to the grand strategy - how something small is relevant to the overall picture." That year at Carleton also imparted what to Poirier has been a more important lesson in industrial engineering: common sense. It came from a chemistry professor. "One of the things he was a fanatic on was understanding whether a solution made sense or not," Poirier says. "If we put away our calculators and estimated what the answer would be, he'd give us full marks, plus some."

Poirier passes on the professor's lesson to all industrial engineers who come to work for Loblaw. Poirier's team once studied which of two warehouses should become a centralized site for distributing certain products, part of an attempt to get those products to the marketplace faster. At the start of the study, the two distribution centers were fairly equivalent options. Six weeks of calculations determined that one would save the company a total of about $25,000 over the other. "The problem was that in that six-week time frame, we lost about $75,000 in profit by not selling those products. There's an example of where it's critical to look at the value of the additional detail and accuracy We'd known at the beginning of the study that we hadn't omitted any major points, but in our zeal for the ultimate truth, we ended up missing a business opportunity by about six weeks. Time and time again, the first thing I look for in a problem-solving environment is what makes sense and what would approximate a reasonable solution. I think that's really the key to the successful application of industrial engineering. I don't want to diminish the point of accuracy in things; I think that's really important. But in people's zeal for accuracy I find they tend to lose the context of the problem."

Blazing trails Poirier's first employment with Loblaw was a summer of lugging cases at a Cash & Carry. Because National Grocers was becoming unionized at the time, he decided the company would make a good subject for an industrial relations class project during his third year in school. He interviewed the vice president of distribution and industrial relations, who offered Poirier a summer job doing small projects on centralization, scheduling, and cost benefit rationalizations. His senior year he again turned to National Grocers, this time for his thesis proposing that low-volume items be centralized into a single warehouse. He joined the firm full time after graduation. "And lo and behold we built it two years ago, so I guess patience is one of those values that pays off," he says. Landing in a corporation totally unfamiliar with IE concepts, Poirier thought he could have a dramatic impact on the company. "I thought coming out of school I could pretty well do anything I wanted to." He laughs and continues, "I quickly came to the realization that it was a little more difficult, and maybe that's why people hadn't done it before me." Nevertheless, it was only the first boundary Poirier was to cross within the company His current position is his ninth, every one a newly created job. He's never had an incumbent to serve as a benchmark, never had precedence to fall back on, never had a job standard to rely on or rewrite. "In some ways it's scary," he says, "but it's always been about new things within the business, so that's exciting." That, he says, is what being an IE is all about.

"It's been much more about creating possibilities than conforming to realities. I find it odd that we take industrial engineers trained anywhere from four to seven years, bring them out of school and make them masters of change, and then encourage them to follow career paths that everybody else for the past two generations has followed," Poirier says. "For me it's been a lot more exciting and dynamic to join an organization that's really about creation and possibility, and that's provided me with the kind of environment that's enabled me to create the depth and breadth of change that we've created within this organization." Along the way Poirier was fertilizing the company with his own IE approach to issues. In his first job as distribution project engineer he developed evaluation measurements.

His next stop was the finance department, where as manager of profit planning, he analyzed costs and revenues through the entire corporate stream. Before he began the position, the business operated in separate functional areas. "Finance did their thing, distribution did their thing, sales did their thing, and procurement or the buying group did their thing," he says. For the first time the company was looking at the costs and revenues associated with the entire process of serving stores. Poirier continued to advance quickly through the organization.

After his period in finance, he stepped up as manager of systems development, coordinating all the systems for National Grocers.

Then, only three years after joining the company, he became director of procurement administration and systems development to help Loblaw centralize the service divisions of National Grocers and its three sister companies within Ontario.

Now Poirier had experience in finance, distribution, and procurement to go along with his IE training, so National Grocers made him senior director of corporate development to deal with issues of conflict and commonality among the functional areas. "I wasn't an ombudsman; I was to apply basic industrial engineering and problem-solving skills to areas where people had conflict," he says. For example, distribution and procurement were at odds over effective use of warehouse space. Distribution wanted to keep as little inventory as possible so the warehouses wouldn't get jammed, whereas procurement wanted lots of product available for the stores. Poirier's solution was to charge the products a carrying cost, crediting distribution for congestion costs. Procurement made more accurate purchasing decisions based on inventory levels, while increased inventory became cost neutral for the warehouses. As inventory went down, efficiency picked up; as inventory went up, their revenue increased. The only staff Poirier had was a secretary; otherwise he had to draw on expertise from the affected divisions. "It was a good thing, because it required me to engage the people who were being changed in the environment that was being changed. Too often organizations hire consultants or change management people, either on their staff or externally, and they point to an area in business and say, 'Go change that, go fix that,' and it never seems sustainable. One of the reasons it isn't sustainable is they haven't created an environment that welcomes sustainable change."

In 1988 the company, recognizing Poirier's ability to cut costs, moved him back into distribution as vice president of development and management services and for the first time put the responsibility of managing distribution into the hands of an industrial engineer rather than traditional distribution people. Poirier began the work that would eventually double inventory flow without increasing facilities, while cutting as much as a week off delivery of some products. He says this was done project by project. "We approach it on three levels. One is very detailed and grassroots - determining what kind of equipment to use. The next level is determining what distribution center should carry what products. A third level is deciding whether we need distribution centers, what will they look like, and where should they be."

In 1991 he added information systems to his responsibilities and chief information officer to his ever-lengthening title - "I tried to get paid by the letter, but they couldn't afford it," he says.

In 1992 he became senior vice president of development and chief information officer, overseeing procurement as well. During this time industrial engineering became an institutional entity within the firm.

"The industrial engineering competency would not have been built into Loblaw if not for Dave," says accountant Almeida. "The integrated approach to performance improvement - integrated being people, technology, and process - and all three levers driving performance improvement, I think that's his legacy." Because of Poirier, one executive was convinced to hire an IE. While he was attending a conference in California, he bumped into Montreal native Foti, who was about to go to work for Intel. Foti instead joined Loblaw in 1990. Two years later he went to work for Poirier as the first of what is now an 86-person force of industrial engineers that is frequently called on by the whole company, not just distribution. The total number of employees in Poirier's division is about 2,500. "As we were learning new projects, the business became very hungry about trying to be more efficient," Foti says. "So from the small focus that we used to have, which was only a portion of the distribution centers, we moved toward transportation, and we also moved into what I call white-collar reengineering - into the finance group, into the retail side of it, into research and development, and into the logistics group. And obviously the business is growing very quickly, so we get involved in every new site design."

According to Foti, the growth in the number of IEs was the result of two business goals: more savings and faster change. The resources to do both were right there in the industrial engineering group. "That's why the group grew exponentially," Foti says.

Says Poirier, "We've considerably broadened the definition of industrial engineer from a person who did industrial engineering standards to a very capable individual who can effect change in a multitude of arenas and circumstances that will contribute to the success of the organization." Company visionary Having established himself as just such a person, Poirier was tapped to come up with a process of managing the strategies and tactics of Vision '98, a concerted, corporate-wide effort to make the company leaner and more competitive. While formulating the vision with help from consultants, Poirier learned what he considers now the most valuable fundamental: "Creating the right mindset for people for change was critical to the success of change." He draws his concept of systems change as a pyramid comprising four balls. The top ball is the investors' viewpoint of the business, the middle is management's view, the bottom right is the way the business is organized, and the bottom left is the way it is operated. "One of the problems businesses have had in the past is they've always looked for what I call the pink pill," Poirier says. "They're going for the simple solution. They'd like to buy a different way of operating." So they might look only at the organizational ball and institute training or incentives for employees. They may look at the operations and invest in new equipment or new processes. They may look at the investors and add or shed stores, or they may reshape management with a new cultural attitude. "We found there was a link among all of these four balls," Poirier says. "They're all critical to manage at the same time for effective transformation. That's where I really started to understand organizational change." For IEs, focusing on process change in the operations ball is not enough. Reaching a goal of cutting costs by, say, 10 percent may mean getting products out later, which ultimately doesn't serve the investor's need. It also may not align with the organizational ball because employees fear reducing costs will result in losing their jobs, so they have no incentive for change. "In the past when we'd gone through cost reductions, massive training programs, investment decisions, or strategic planning sessions, they tended to be in isolation," Poirier says. "And what we needed to do was create a comprehensive solution for everything." They started with the company's 65-word mission statement. "It was an awesome mission statement," Poirier says. "I used to shove this in front of people who were new to the organization and let them read it for two minutes and take it away Then I'd ask, 'What does it say?' Nobody could answer." So the company tossed it and posed the question, "What is the enduring purpose of the business?" Says Poirier, "We ended up coming to the conclusion that our purpose was to serve the daily needs of our customers. That's not particularly flashy. The merchandising guys didn't really like it because they couldn't splash it on the ads in the paper. So we said we'll stick it on the wall until we come up with something better. Now it's 1998 and we still haven't come up with anything better. It's compelling, and everybody understands it." The statement melds with Poirier's philosophy to look at context, not the finer points. "We've gone through remarkable changes as an organization because we're not just about selling another tin of baked beans. What we focus on now is the understanding that the value of our organization is directly linked to the lifetime value of our customer base. And really, every organization is." Loblaw currently serves about 7 million shoppers a week. To build business, the firm needs to do more than entice new customers, an achievement which, in the grocery business, adds considerable merchandising expenses in the form of "loss leaders," products such as 49-cent paper towels sold below cost to attract people into the store. The company can more effectively build business by holding on longer to the customers it already has (industry surveys say the average consumer stays loyal to a particular supermarket for a little more than three years) and getting those customers to spend more money in the store. "What happens if somebody buys one more head of lettuce in our business?" Poirier asks. "What happens if they put one more President's Choice [Loblaw brand] item in their basket? What happens if they substitute two President's Choice items for two national brand items? The increases in profit if we get every customer to make those small incremental changes in behavior are huge, absolutely enormous. Just by any one of those things we'd get a 50 percent increase in profitability" To change customer behavior, the company decided it simply needed to provide better value. With this simple premise, "to get customers fresher product, faster, and at lower cost," Poirier began a system-wide change of the entire supply chain to be process-oriented instead of function-oriented. Equally important was that employees see their roles as part of the end result, from the stocker in a local store to the accounts payable clerk in corporate headquarters whose mishandling of an invoice could cause a warehouse to run short of inventory, in turn causing a store to be out of stock on a certain item and forcing the consumer to seek the item from a competitor.

This is where the industrial engineer merged with the industrial psychologist. "The thing that was really key to me through our training was that we had to create a compelling reason for employees to contribute significantly to this organization at a time when labor was somewhat tight," Poirier says. Salary, benefits, and incentives were only part of the equation, he discovered. "A compelling reason for people to give their all for an organization can only be brought about through a values-based organization. So we spent a lot of time on values within the organization. We didn't invent or create the values. We discovered the values within the organization - learning, serving, excellence, and integrity." Leaving fingerprints Learning goes beyond training to letting employees experiment and take risks. Serving means not only serving customers, but also serving stakeholders and fellow employees. Excellence deals with quality improvement. "Some of the work was with systems, and the rest of it was really about the people, and getting folks to understand the impact of mistakes that they made and measuring those mistakes, giving people feedback on the frequency and the cost of mistakes," Poirier said. "Give people a real sense of ownership of the quality. Before, they didn't care because they weren't told about it." The fourth value, integrity, fires Poirier's passion. "Integrity is not just about right prices in the stores, and it's not just about telling the truth. Integrity is creating an environment in which people can be honest and open and direct and really be themselves. They don't have to come to work and wear some type of armor." Or even a tie. While the company employed some superficial measures such as casual dress days, it also instituted a culture that recognized that people come to work with different core values, different ways of expressing themselves, and different comfort levels. "Imagine the energy drain in any organization in which people have to put energy into not being themselves. If we can create an environment where people are being themselves, we'll probably get about 30 percent more energy out of everybody," he says. "That's what integrity is really about for us, so that when people come to work and then go home at night they don't kick the dog, grab a six-pack of beer, plop themselves in front of the TV, and curse about what a miserable life it is. "My dream is for everybody in this organization to go home at the end of the day and feel great about how they contributed to the success of this organization, and how in turn this organization recognized how they've played an important role in its success. So at the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of the year, when they look back, they have no regrets about their career with this organization, that they can say they made a meaningful difference in the success, they can see their fingerprints on this organization, they've made a tangible difference. "When we've got 75,000 employees like that all feeling the same way about their contribution to this business, whether they're a part-time clerk in the store or the president, imagine how you'll feel when you walk into the store and buy those 49-cent paper towels. The store is going to feel different." Poirier already has members of his team feeling that way. Foti says IEs courted by other firms prefer to stay at Loblaw, where they are encouraged to look far beyond their specific job duties. Almeida says part of the fun of working with Poirier is the trust. "I never have a doubt in my mind when I interact with Dave as to whether or not he's looking out for what's in my best personal interest," Almeida says. "From pushing me to go for more training and education to pushing me to take on situations I consider high risk, he's empathetic in any situation: what's the right thing to do for the business and what would help Rob grow the most." For his part, Poirier continues to push himself. Turning to Loblaw's visions for the next five years and beyond, he observes, "There's loads to do. Loads. There's absolutely no shortage of opportunities." "Dave is always looking for the next thing," Foti says. "And before just jumping into the flavor of the month, he really looks at how this thing can fit into the overall vision or the overall organization and make sense. Dave is always able to look into what would make us unique and what would be hard to copy and really give us a competitive advantage. And I think by having him always looking ahead, that will create a culture that is obviously not perfect but that is definitely in the right direction."

While Poirier desires that all Loblaw employees leave indelible fingerprints, he downplays his own achievements. "It's not about titles or roles or offices or responsibilities or public acknowledgment," he says. "It's having the opportunity to be part of something and help make it great, and carrying on from being great now to being great in the future as well." Clearly, Dave Poirier is someone who makes an impression. At Loblaw, his legacy is everywhere. In an understated way that Poirier might appreciate, Foti says, "You know what? He's not just going to leave fingerprints."

The Dave Poirier Files Favorite saying: "There's no limit to what a person can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." (From David Williams, former president of National Grocers. Poirier has this saying on a desk plaque.)
Industrial Management • May-June, 1998

David Poirier is now Chief Executive Officer of THE POIRIER GROUP, a consultancy organisation.

Contact address:

5580 Explorer Drive,
Suite 509 Mississauga, ON,
Canada L4W 4Y1
Business: (+1) 905-624-5855
Facsimile: (+1) 905-624-4940

David Poirier is co-author of CHAPTER 1.2, "THE ROLE AND CAREER OF THE INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER IN THE MODERN ORGANIZATION" in Maynard's Handbook of Industrial Engineering, 5th Edition.

STEPHEN R. HAWKINS - Industrial Engineer USA

14 Waterfield Court Greer, SC 29650
Home: (864) 801-1033 Mobile: (864) 907-8980 E-mail:



Areas of expertise include classical industrial engineering, project management, logistics and supply chain, process improvements, LEAN & TQM facilitation, distribution center operations, material handling, and facility layout.

USCO/KUEHNE & NAGEL LOGISTICS Greenville, SC 2001-2004
MANAGER, WAREHOUSE ENGINEERING – Logistics Engineering Group

Industrial engineering services to North American Distribution Centers including initial set up for new clients and reengineering processes for existing clients to lower cost. Prepared RFP’s for potential clients.
• Reengineered Pharmaceutical operation - improved capacity 22%, reduced FTE’s by 9 positions, $400K savings.
• Designed surplus equipment inventory system - use of existing racking, conveyors, lift trucks, $100K savings.

MICHELIN NORTH AMERICA, INC. Greenville, SC 1999-2000
SENIOR INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – North American Logistics Group

Industrial engineering services to North American Distribution Centers including project management and project engineering to ensure world-class tire distribution.
• Reengineered order picking methods for Michelin’s 2-wheel distribution center - improving productivity 20% and reducing picking errors; $350K annual savings.
• Developed tire pallet storage system that allowed tires to be floor stacked versus racked - increased storage capacity at each U.S. Distribution Center by 12%.
AMP/TYCO ELECTRONICS Winston-Salem, NC 1994-1999
PROJECT MANAGER/SENIOR INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER - Global Communications Business Development Group

Led cross functional project teams to develop new products, design manufacturing processes and transfer operations from product development to worldwide manufacturing locations for mass production.
• Designed and implemented molding, stamping, assembly, sourcing, and production at facilities in China.
• Led a project team that transferred hand assembly operations to AMP-Mexico, lowering costs $700,000 annually.
• Implemented productivity improvements, plant layout changes and ergonomic improvements that significantly reduced cycle time, improved space utilization, and added manufacturing capacity.
• Taught TQM, Cycle Time Reduction, and Kan-ban to managers and 1,100 production employees.
• AMP Senior Quality Examiner for AMP’s internal Malcolm Baldrige Award Program.

SARA LEE CORPORATION Winston-Salem, NC 1983-1993

Designed and implemented key projects to set up and improve retail distribution/logistics operations at four U.S. distribution centers and an 850-route Direct Store Delivery system. Managed a staff of two Industrial Engineers.
• Co-Managed the design and implementation of a distribution center network. Designed and built five new facilities including material handling equipment, packaging, order picking and returns processing systems, transportation logistics, staffing and support systems.
• Implemented cost reductions, productivity improvements, automation and material handling systems - $4.5 million savings. Systems included bar coding, conveyor, automated order picking and paperless order picking.
• Developed distribution center work measurement and productivity standards system - $1.4 million savings.
• Utilized computer simulation technology to verify material handling designs, facility layouts, and staffing plans were “state of the art” prior to spending $4 million to develop/install an automated order picking system.
• Promoted, facilitated, and implemented TQM techniques and Malcolm Baldrige Award criteria for over 600 distribution center employees in four separate facilities.


MILLIKEN & COMPANY Greenville, SC 1981-1983

• Developed and maintained labor, material and cost standards for three production departments.
• Engineered plant layouts and supervised building modifications for new production equipment.
• Led several cross-functional Cost Reduction and Quality Improvement teams.


M.S.I.E. - North Carolina A&T State University, Industrial Engineering
B.S. - University of South Carolina, Business Administration
A.S. - Spartanburg Technical College, Computer Programming


Professional Certification in Material Handling Engineering (P.C.M.H.)
Certified M.O.S.T. Work Measurement Systems Applicator
Institute of Industrial Engineers, Senior Member
Materials Handling & Management Society, Member


Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force Reserve
Civil Engineering Commander & Air Force Academy Liaison Officer

Industrial Engineers in IE Departments - USA

WEXCO Corporation
1015 Dillard Drive
P.O. Box 4297
Lynchburg, VA 24502-0297 U.S.A.

Telephone: 1-434-385-6006
Toll free: 1-800-999-3926 (USA.& Canada)
Fax: 1-434-385-8387

Brad Brown

Industrial Engineer

Phone Extension: 15

Brad is responsible for estimating the manufacturing costs of bimetallic cylinder designs and for improving manufacturing methods for production. Brad started with WEXCO in March 1997 as an I.D. Grinder in the manufacturing department. Subsequently, he programmed and operated CNC milling machines and soon served as Lead person. His promotion in January 2001 to the position of Industrial Engineer recognized his considerable practical technical skills and education.

Calvin Lundeen PhD, P.E.
Manager of Engineering and Technical Services
Phone Extension: 25

Calvin joined WEXCO in 1999. He manages the Engineering and Technical Services group and has responsibility for all R & D and Engineering activities, including engineering support to production. Calvin also provides technical support to customers, including failure analysis, compatibility recommendations, and design. A graduate of Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University, where he earned his M.S.M.E. and PhD, Calvin is a Registered Professional Engineer. He has significant experience in materials testing and failure analysis and serves as an in-house consultant to various departments.


Industrial Engineering Departments of Companies - Promotions and Appointments

United States Postal Services

A total of 304 new operations industrial engineer (OIE) positions were created for plant and area office operations. OIEs will play a key role in the implementation of standardized processes in plant operations starting this year. Approximately 200 of the new positions will be filled through external recruitment.

Jeff Potter – Supply Chain Manager
Polar Semiconductor, Inc.

Jeff joined the Company in 2001 as a Senior Industrial Engineer. In 2005 he was promoted to the position of Manufacturing Systems Manager, then to Supply Chain Manager in 2006. Before joining PSI, Jeff had a total of 10 years experience in a variety of operations functions, from process engineer to operations management. He completed his BS in Industrial Engineering at Iowa State University.


Octber 2003

Coombe promoted

by Safeway

Rich Coombe has been named as director of Industrial Engineering for the Safeway corporation.

Coombe began his career with Safeway June 9, 1986, as a clerk in Butte. He received a bachelor of science degree in engineering science in 1991 from Montana Tech. In 1992, he was hired as industrial engineer in the Seattle Division. In 1995, he was promoted to industrial engineer II and, in 1999, advanced to industrial engineer III.

Coombe received the president's award in 1997 and the Safeway Outstanding Achievement award in 2001.

He and his wife, Tammi, have two children, Courtney and Alec.