Two graduate students in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology received semi-finalist recognition for their submission in the 2020 Simio Student Case Competition, which challenges participants to solve problems using simulation software.
Competing as team Moo BBQ, team leader Saruda Seeharit, an industrial and systems engineering (ISE) master’s student, and Krerkkiat Chusap, an electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) Ph.D. student, placed in the top 21 of 631 teams from 20 countries.
The students were tasked with developing new food preparation and customer service policies for The Simio BBQ Smoke Pit, an up-and-coming local restaurant.
“The aim was to create new policies to improve the efficiency of the restaurant's current system to help keep up with the increasing demand,” explained Seeharit. “In addition, the management team was also looking to decrease the average order-to-delivery (OTD) time (amount of time that a customer waits from placing an order until getting their order) which is used to determine customer satisfaction (the lower is the better).”
Using Simio software, the team ran simulations using the restaurant’s current operations and gathered data on group size, combinations of sides and entrees ordered, and wait times. The pair then adjusted the simulation parameters to find a solution that maximized profit and customer satisfaction.
“We adapted and used knowledge from classes that Saruda took on simulation,” said Chusap. “Dr. Šormaz, our advisor for this project, has been teaching these classes for several years at Russ College.”
Dr. Dušan Šormaz, professor of ISE, has used Simio software and sent students to its annual competition since 2014.
“In the ISE department, we teach students to make computer models of manufacturing or service facilities in Simio and simulate those models to predict the system performance,” said Šormaz. “Students participate in Simio competitions as final projects for the class or independent studies, as happened this semester. Saruda and Krerkkiat worked on their project very independently which gives their ranking an additional value.”
Moo BBQ’s high-placing submission recommended that the restaurant change its employee scheduling, inventory management system, and meal construction workflow, among other adjustments.
“The competition was a great opportunity and experience because I was able to use knowledge from the classes that I took from the Industrial and Systems Engineering department,” said Seeharit.
“The project was an interesting and challenging adventure, especially working together remotely,” said Chusap. “Fortunately, Ohio University provides a lot of resources for working online.