MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Leaders for Manufacturing Program

1994-95 brought the Leaders for Manufacturing (LFM) Program five significant personnel transitions:

Dave Hardt accepted the Dean of Engineering's appointment as official LFM Co-director, Engineering (effective July 1, 1995).

Nils Muench stepped down from the directorship of the LFM Research Program.

Hilary Sheldon, Manager of Partner Relations, succeeded Rosalie Allen.

Mathilde Wood assumed responsibilities as Assistant to the Co-director (Engineering), succeeding Hilary Sheldon.

Nancy Upper succeeded Katherine Miller as Communications Assistant.

Government funding through the Technology Reinvestment Program (TRP) enables LFM to place two or three interns per year for three years in small and medium-sized enterprises. LFM students are now interning at Bay Networks, Inc.; Instron Corporation; MPM Corporation; PictureTel; Quantum Corporation; Reading Tube Corporation; and Teradyne, Inc.

A progress report for the year on the eight LFM "products" follows. The program this year focused on partner outreach and sustainability as LFM enters "Phase III."


To document progress and improvement opportunities, the Leaders Program has completed work preliminary to surveying constituents in order to issue a two-year report. To monitor significant data more frequently to update Operating Committee and Governing Board members, LFM periodically issues operations reports covering all aspects of the Leaders Program.


Twelve of the 13 original LFM industry partners continue to build on their close working relationships with MIT. Johnson & Johnson resigned partnership: its Corporate level could not justify the time and cost required for the product delivered (i.e., highly technical graduates; J&J seeks more of a marketing orientation). Leaders Program-supported research has continued to increase the partners' manufacturing competitiveness, sometimes dramatically. An LFM-supported doctoral student who graduated in Spring 1995, for example, developed a computationally efficient method for estimating certain performance measures for tandem, finite-buffered flow lines, or transfer lines; one partner company estimates that this work at one of its manufacturing facilities has yielded economic returns on a scale of millions of dollars per month. An LFM intern at another partner company commissioned a software firm to develop a manufacturing line design program written by the same doctoral student and his principal advisor, producing an Excel-compatible program now being used by the second partner company to design and improve its manufacturing systems.

The LFM Governing Board format as revised last year has been very well received, so continues to emphasize ample opportunity for the governors to provide program direction, interact with one another, and exchange ideas on major manufacturing issues. Meetings are being hosted by LFM governors themselves in a "round robin" of select partner facilities.


The Leaders Program supported 83 fellows during 1994-95; including the new class the program welcomed in June, the total number of fellows since the program's inception has reached 301. Two LFM students this year received Robert N. Noyce fellowships and three received fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

This past June, 40 LFM fellows graduated. Of 39 fellows who had confirmed their plans in early June, 95 percent assumed positions in US manufacturing companies, choosing from an average of 2.5 job offers each. Most-cited reasons for job decisions had to do with growth potential, respect and recognition of recruits as individuals, and "good people fit."

Leaders graduates (now 221, including those research assistants who conducted internships) organized and hosted in Albuquerque this spring workshops for LFM alumni/ae, including an LFM Program update, on-line and other LFM networking, career management and development, personality testing, and product development; attendees numbered 50. In addition, a series of workshops attended by LFM students as well as partner companies developed from a Boeing-led study of how better to utilize LFM-calibre graduates.

From 310 applications received this past spring, 52 were accepted into the LFM Fellows Program; 45 students (all with work experience) enrolled. The new fellows average 27 years in age with 4.8 years of work experience. Included are 15 women, one member of a minority group underrepresented within MIT, and 13 partner-sponsored students. Women in the program thus increased sharply this year, and four African Americans are currently offered deferred admission. The program's recruiting strategy is being further developed to better reach these individuals nationwide. The LFM Program this year instituted a Diversity Committee with a mission to raise within the LFM Program diversity awareness relevant to business/management issues. The scope of the work is initially within the program at MIT, with plans to possibly expand later into Sloan and other MIT departments as well. During IAP, the Diversity Committee hosted a well-attended workshop for LFM faculty, students, and staff; Pope & Associates of Cincinnati, OH, who have worked with three LFM partners, facilitated. A committee-sponsored Proseminar in May `95, "Diversity in the Workplace," included discussion of a student-written case study on the topic of sexual orientation in the workplace, facilitated by Professor Thomas Kochan, and brought Digital Equipment Corporation vice presidents Herb Shumway and Hope Greenfield to share experiences about workplace diversity issues. The committee continues to explore avenues for incorporating diversity issues into the LFM leadership curriculum and providing interactive learning experiences for all LFM stakeholders.


A distinctive feature of the LFM Fellows Program curriculum is its effort to further the understanding of manufacturing leadership. The subject is developed primarily through skill development, practice (especially during the internship), and reflection, with limited classroom work. This year, eight second-year students prepared cases based on their internships to teach classmates and first-year fellows, helping first-years prepare for the internship while refining the cases as potential teaching materials for other MIT courses.


The Leaders Program actively involved ~85 faculty and research staff in 1994-95. During this period, four faculty were promoted and one received tenure. Industry partners have expressed concern that several faculty especially valuable to industry, sensitive to industry issues, and responsive to company needs have not been granted tenure--a total of five in the past two years.

Faculty this year participated in an industry-led Extended Education Committee, from which stemmed a pilot minicourse compressing highlights of the two-year LFM Fellows Program into one week. The course will be offered in November 1995 to LFM partner company executives who report to vice presidents of manufacturing, head manufacturing education, or otherwise lead manufacturing-related efforts.


More than 160 LFM industry partner and faculty researchers collaborated under the direction of Drs. Eugene Meieran of Intel and Nils Muench of General Motors for most of this year. The program catalogued in a volume of "Sales Brochures" its current research, categorized according to nine programs. Goals of the programs are to leverage research dollars, achieve synergies across diverse firms, facilitate collaborative research in "Big-M" Manufacturing, and obtain funding from external organizations.

The Leaders Program supported 36 research projects this year, and its Working Papers exceed 450 titles.

The program also updated its compendia of LFM Research Program Contacts and Manufacturing Science and Technology Research, to facilitate networking.


The LFM co-directors participated in many visits with government and university leaders this past year, broadening dialogue for university/industry/government partnerships to improve manufacturing. The National Manufacturing/ University Coalition they have spearheaded to advance a national agenda of revitalizing US manufacturing now regularly meets to share developments in curricula and research collaborations, establish a common position on influencing federal policy and funding decisions, and engage the voice of the customer--industry--through regional meetings. The Coalition currently comprises 12 members: Arizona State, Auburn University, California Polytechnic State University (Pomona and San Luis Obispo campuses), Cornell, Georgia Tech, the University of Michigan, University of New Mexico, Pennsylvania State, Purdue, and Wayne State as well as MIT. Having helped establish the dual-degree manufacturing programs at Michigan and Obispo, MIT is now assisting Arizona, Georgia Tech, New Mexico, Penn State, and Pomona to set up their own programs.

The Leaders Program is also working with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) under a TRP grant to impact undergraduate education with LFM learnings.

Stephen C. Graves
William C. Hanson
David E. Hardt

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95