MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


The Leaders for Manufacturing Program (LFM) is a partnership between MIT and 22 global manufacturing firms to discover and translate into teaching and practice principles that produce world-class manufacturing and manufacturing leaders. This partnership is motivated by our shared belief that excellence in manufacturing is critical to meeting the economic and social needs of individuals, firms, and society, and that the health of companies operating in global markets is essential to society's well-being.

Now in its 11th year of operation, LFM is a partnership between the School of Engineering, the Sloan School of Management and leading manufacturers. Launched in 1988 with significant industry funding, the program emphasizes collaboration and knowledge sharing with its partner companies across the entire spectrum of "Big-M" manufacturing enterprise issues. LFM supports students both as fellows in the program (with fully-paid tuition) and as research assistants throughout the institute. The largest component of the educational efforts is the Fellows Program, a 24-month dual-masters degree (engineering and management) experience involving a single integrative research project carried out on site in partner firms.


42 Students in the class of 1999 completed the Fellows program and 86 percent have taken positions in manufacturing firms. 29 students have taken positions with one of the LFM partner companies. Qualcomm, and Dell were notable for a large number of hires from the class.

Each of the 42 graduates completed an internship at a partner company during the summer and fall of 1998. Internships are focused projects of concern to the partners, accomplished by interns with company support and MIT faculty guidance. Representative projects this past year included modeling and optimizing the supply chain resulting in cutting major inventories in half; an implementation of the "Critical Chain" method of task management to product development resulting in up to 25 percent reduction in project lead times.

Forty-eight students (Class of '00) completed their first year of on-campus studies and are starting their 6 month internships. 49 new students (Class of '01 were admitted and have begun an intense summer session. All of these students have an average of approximately 4.5 years of practical work experience.

LFM has worked with the Deans of the Sloan and Engineering schools to create a position of Director of Leadership for the Sloan School and LFM. Bea Mah Holland has been hired and will officially join MIT full-time early in FY1 2000. The new Director of Leadership should significantly increase activity in the classroom about the concept of leadership and what it means for industry.


Research has been conducted with seed funding from LFM in the following areas: Product Life Cycle Analysis, Scheduling and Logistics Control, Variation Reduction, Design and Operation of Manufacturing Systems, Integrated Analysis and Product Development, Culture and Organizational Change, and the Next Generation Manufacturing project. Each area has both a faculty and an industry leader. The groups focus on detailed issues of benefit to several member companies, but with implications for many companies. On-site student interns have played a valuable role in teaming with on-campus researchers to more effectively define problems, gather data, and analyze it. Mid-stream and end-of-internship presentations convey research results to MIT and partner company personnel.

The three-year study, "The Utilization of LFM Graduates" includes research findings of interviews with alumni, supervisors and managers from each company that has utilized LFM graduates and students. These companies include ALCOA, Boeing, Chrysler, Digital (now Compaq), Kodak, Ford, GM, HP, Intel, Motorola, Polaroid, and UTC.

Representatives from ALCOA, Boeing, Ford, Intel, Kodak, and LFM's class of 2000 reviewed the reports and compiled their respective interpretations of the results for attendees' review at a workshop scheduled for June.

The study reports and workshop findings will be shared at LFM's annual utilization workshop, to be held in mid-September when LFM students participating in internships return for Midstream Review.


The National Coalition for Manufacturing Leadership (NCML), a partnership of 14 Universities with joint management and engineering programs, hosted a joint recruiting forum at the University of Michigan. This has been very popular with Coalition partner companies and will be repeated each year. Representatives form the coalition meet each year to share curriculum, research, and program best practices.


Class size LFM99: 42 students

(8 Partner Company-sponsored students and 34 non-sponsored free agents.)


# Hired

% of Class

Partner Companies



Other Mfg. Companies



Total Manufacturing









Total employed graduates



Free agents hired by Partner Companies



Students accepted positions with the following companies:


Explicit steps for dissemination of the learning of internships will be built into the definition process for the projects. There is a strong feeling that the internships are very valuable as they are, but that the inter and intra company dissemination of learnings will be significantly improved.

LFM will work with its industry partners to better define those learnings which are gained through real-life, on-the-job experiences which are critical to successful manufacturing leaders. Having better defined these usually implicit expectations of company leaders, LFM will work with the partners to bring these in an accelerated fashion to those people the companies look to as future leaders, both LFM students and current company personnel.


LFM and SDM have consolidated their administrative resources to provide a more holistic approach to the Total Enterprise and to better serve our stakeholders. Accordingly, two joint hires have been made. These include Lois Slavin, (1/4 time for ESD, 3/4 time for SDM-LFM) and Jeff Shao, Finance Manager, LFM-SDM.

For the combined enterprise, Jonathan Griffith, will assume the role of Director of Partner Relations, Sarah Shohet, will be SDM-LFM Admissions and Placement Coordinator, and Constance Emanuel will be SDM-LFM Communications Assistant. Further staff consolidation is planned for FY 2000

Current Program Co-directors are: Stephen C. Graves, William C. Hanson, Paul Lagace, Hanson, Thomas P. Kochan, and John Williams.

More information about LFM can be found on the World Wide Web at

William C. Hanson

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99