MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


A progress report for 1995-96 on the eight Leaders for Manufacturing (LFM) Program "products" follows. The program focused on research and knowledge transfer through "learning tools" such as manufacturing case studies. A highlight was LFM's and MIT's assuming a leadership role in the National Science Foundation-sponsored Next Generation Manufacturing Project, as described in the Implementation and Leadership section, following.


To document progress and improvement opportunities, the Leaders Program this past year surveyed constituents and issued a two-year report draft, whose results the LFM co-directors will interpret for issuance in the final report.


LFM's partnership is growing and diversifying. The program enters "Phase III" engaging the energies and resources of three new limited corporate partners, six small and medium enterprises, and 14 university partners in the National Coalition for Manufacturing Leadership, as well as 12 of the original 13 LFM managing industry partners.

Each of the three new "limited partners" benefits, for an annual fee, from opportunities to sponsor two employees as LFM fellows, host at its facilities two LFM internships, and participate in other LFM research, educational offerings including curricula and LFM-generated manufacturing case studies, and selected events such as student recruiting.

Leaders Program-supported research continues to increase the partners' manufacturing competitiveness and understanding. For example, at Eastman Kodak, a team headed by Michael Carnette '96 reduced average printed circuit board delivery and replacement time from four weeks to three days in a pilot project, and reduced inventory from a six-month to a three-month supply. In another project, a team headed by Pavel Zamudio-Ramirez '96 determined that, unless major technological improvements in automobile recycling occur, the economic-driven infrastructure might need the help of regulation to deal with future automobile disposal.

The LFM Governing Board meeting format continues to emphasize ample opportunity for the governors to provide program direction, interact with one another, and exchange ideas on major manufacturing issues. This past year, meetings were hosted by United Technologies and by Ford.


The Leaders Program supported 88 fellows during 1995-96; including the new class the program welcomed in June, the total number of fellows since the program's inception has reached 349. Among incoming LFM students this year, two received Robert N. Noyce fellowships and two received fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

This past June, 43 LFM fellows graduated. Of 42 '96 fellows who had confirmed their plans in early June, 88 percent assumed positions in US manufacturing companies. Nonsponsored students chose from an average of 5.5 job offers each (based on their 26 responses). Most-cited reasons for job decisions had to do with growth potential, potential for impact, and "good people fit."

Leaders graduates (now 264, including those research assistants who conducted internships) organized and hosted in San Francisco this spring a two-day workshop for LFM alumni/ae to meet and exchange information relevant to leadership, manufacturing, business, management, and technology, including sessions on product development, project management, theory of constraints, collaboration, career development, and dissemination of LFM knowledge. Approximately 50 attendees participated in presentations, case studies, and breakout sessions led by industry experts and leaders in the business community.

In addition, this past year, 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 408 applications received this past spring, 55 were accepted into the LFM Fellows Program; 48 students (all with work experience) enrolled. The new fellows average 28 years in age with 4.2 years of work experience. Included are six women, four members of minority groups underrepresented within MIT, and 15 partner-sponsored students. The number of women in the program thus dropped sharply this year. The program's recruiting strategy is being further developed to better reach these individuals nationwide. LFM's Diversity Committee, now in its second year, continues to raise within the program diversity awareness relevant to business/management issues. The scope of work is initially within the program at MIT, with plans to possibly expand later into Sloan and other MIT departments as well. The committee continues to explore avenues for incorporating diversity issues into the LFM leadership curriculum and providing interactive learning experiences for all LFM stakeholders.


LFM faculty report that in 1995 they introduced six courses and revised one.

The LFM Learning Tools Committee (established in 1995 to enhance LFM learning transfer to faculty, alumni, industry, and other universities) motivated '96 fellows to develop six cases based on their internships. Twelve cases in total have thus been prepared to date, including two that have been presented to industry for use and eight that have either been used as teaching tools in LFM classes or are being planned to be used.

The LFM Program piloted an Industry Leaders course in November 1995 to expose industry personnel to key LFM concepts during a single week. The course as offered to LFM partner company executives (who report to vice presidents of manufacturing, head manufacturing education, or otherwise lead manufacturing-related efforts) received mixed reviews. A substantially revised version will be offered in the fall of 1996.


The Leaders Program actively involved approximately 80 faculty and research staff in 1995-96. During this time, one LFM faculty member received tenure. Despite this success, faculty especially valuable to industry are not generally being properly rewarded or recognized. Responding to industry partners' concerns about this over the years, LFM co-directors and partner company representatives met with the deans of the two schools to discuss the tenure issue.

Faculty developed the pilot extended-education, one-week minicourse described under Curricula, above.

One former faculty member, Robert Thomas, received the 1995 C. Wright Mills Award (given to the outstanding book written by a sociologist during the past year) from the Society for the Study of Social Problems for his book, What Machines Can't Do.


Nearly 200 LFM industry partner and faculty researchers collaborated under the direction of Drs. Eugene Meieran of Intel and James Dyer of Polaroid (retired). The program held its second "Research Assault" in October 1995. It also distributed a second issue of the LFM Research Program Contacts and Manufacturing Science and Technology Research Database, and updated its Research Directory to facilitate networking.

The Leaders Research Program has consolidated its original nine research programs into seven Research Groups: Product and Process Life Cycle; Scheduling and Logistics Control; Variation Reduction; Design and Operation of Manufacturing Systems; Integrated Analysis and Development; Culture, Learning, and Organizational Change; and Next Generation Manufacturing. The Research Program this past year supported 25 research assistants' projects. The industry-directed Research Groups have also served as "umbrellas" for many LFM fellows' internship work. LFM Working Papers, which include student theses, now number approximately 500 titles.

Government funding through the federal Technology Reinvestment Program (TRP) partially supports LFM's placement of two or three interns per year through FY98 in small and medium-sized enterprises. LFM students have now interned at Bay Networks, Inc.; Instron Corporation; MPM Corporation; PictureTel; Quantum Corporation; Reading Tube Corporation; and Teradyne, Inc.


The Leaders Program and MIT assumed a leadership role this year in the National Science Foundation-sponsored Next Generation Manufacturing Project, which seeks to develop an industry-based view of the future and develop specific examples of new business practices and technologies that begin to build the needed attributes of a Next Generation Enterprise. Companies will be able to tailor the plan for action that these examples represent for their own use to help plan, achieve, and sustain world-class manufacturing. The Leaders Program's involvement in NGM has greatly enhanced the program's visibility and influence within the government agencies, and has sparked interest within the LFM companies, focusing the program on longer-term issues.

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 Coalition for Manufacturing Leadership (NCML) that LFM spearheaded a few years ago to advance a national agenda of revitalizing US manufacturing now meets regularly 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 Decision Sciences Institute, at its conference in Boston during November 1995, offered a session on the NCML. The NCML was also involved in the Manufacturing Recruiting Forum at the University of Michigan the same month. The Coalition currently comprises 14 members, including those universities listed in last year's Reports to the President as well as University of California/San Diego and Northwestern, which joined this past year. Monterey Tech, Mexico, is also considering joining, and MIT has developed a much closer working relationship with Stanford, including joint research. Having helped establish the dual-degree manufacturing programs at Michigan and Obispo, MIT continues to assist Arizona, Georgia Tech, New Mexico, Penn State, and Pomona in setting up their own programs.

In addition to these evidences of program leadership, LFM's Industry co-director, Bill Hanson, was appointed in November 1995 to the National Research Council's Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design, on which he is serving a three-year term.

1995-96 brought the LFM Program five significant personnel transitions:

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

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96