Model Statement of Purpose
Desired Degree: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering
As a production engineer at Ashok Leyland Limited, one of India’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers, I was awestruck by the sight of countless trucks and bus chassis waiting their turn to be taken out of the factory store-yard. My initial feelings of wonder soon gave way to inquisitiveness. There were around 3000 trucks in the yard of a plant with a capacity of 75 per day, an inventory pile up of 40 days amounting to $75 million. This was a huge amount in inventory costs even for a $1billion company. Some questions that plagued me were: With so much money held up in our inventories, how can we really be a low-cost, efficient manufacturer? Unless we get our supply chaining right, how can we make our operations efficient?
The obsession to see things run smoothly and efficiently had been the quintessential factor in my choice of education and career. Mechanical Engineering was my choice of specialization for my undergraduate studies because not only did it give me an opportunity to learn more about machines and mechanisms but it also enabled me to learn about manufacturing industries and large scale operations, which have always fascinated me. The hands-on approach to problem solving was also a major draw, as it has always been my forte. My interest in the subject translated into a consistent first class throughout my undergrad coursework and a final ranking among the top 10% of a class of 120 students at the College of Engineering, Trivandrum (C.E.T), Kerala, India.
My undergraduate degree program provided me with the theoretical know-how. However, the main opportunities to perform the inculcated skills came during my internship at Kerala Hi-Tech Industries Ltd and Hindustan Latex Limited, two of the most reputed State owned Industries. During the course of these internships, I realized the importance of managing time and people to ensure the smooth running of a facility. This training gave me my first taste of Industrial Engineering and I was really captivated by the different operations. Industrial Engineering was also a part of my B.Tech. (Mechanical Engineering) coursework in the final semester. The course introduced me to various aspects of industrial engineering and I became particularly interested in Operational Research and Supply Chain Management.
Soon after my graduation I was fortunate to gain hands-on experience in the various Industrial Engineering Operations when I was recruited by Ashok Leyland as Graduate Executive Trainee (July 2006). I received training in various Industrial Engineering techniques viz. Product Life cycle management, Production Planning and Control, Supply Chain Management Production Planning and Lean Manufacturing. One of my main projects in Ashok Leyland was the ‘Optimization of Front Side Member (FSM) Inventory ’. With a large increase in the number of FSM models, the Inventory holding cost of the shop was very high and large losses were being incurred due to obsolescence of some models. Hence we set out with the objective of limiting the inventory for current operations, avoiding obsolescence, reworking the non-movement of material in the shop, and providing guidelines to reduce pile up of excess FSM inventory. We calculated the optimum values of inventory based on Cost of Inventory, Capacity Utilization and Volume Requirement. When the various aspects of the project were implemented we were able to bring down the inventory stock up from 20 days to 16 days which led to a recurring cost saving benefit of around $16,000 per annum. The inventory of unwanted FSM was also reduced, thus, preventing high inventory pile up. Our team also came up with the suggestion to outsource models with very low volumes thus eliminating operations and helping to reduce breakdown times of the shop.
My academic life in College of Engineering, Trivandrum was enriched by my involvement in various student organizations. I served as an Executive Council Member of the Indian Society for Technical Education Students Chapter of CET from 2003 -2006. Aimed at the welfare of the students, we organized numerous technical seminar contests, industrial visits, talks on industry –college interactions, and career counseling sessions. During my tenure, our students’ chapter received the ISTE Best Students’ Chapter Award for the year 2004. In recognition of my contributions as the executive member of ISTE, the staff and students of the Mechanical Engineering Department unanimously elected me as the Secretary of the Mechanical Engineering Association (2005-06). During my tenure, we were able to organize a National Level Technical Symposium, an Automobile Expo for public awareness on Road Safety and various other programs. These experiences gave me the opportunity to work with a team of highly motivated students and honed my leadership skills.
I believe I am competent for the course which requires lot of mathematical knowledge as it has been an area of strength for me. In the highly competitive Kerala Engineering Entrance Exam, which gives a lot of weightage to mathematical skills, I was able to achieve a rank of 271 from among 50,000 candidates. I have performed consistently well in my Engineering Mathematics papers during my B.Tech. and my interests in mathematics led me to take ‘Advanced Numerical Methods’ as one of my final year electives. In the subject, which deals with numerical methods for solving large-scale problems such as those involving number of equations, large scale Eigen value problems, Linear Programming and non-linear algebraic equations, I was able to score the highest marks in the University (92%). Additionally, my GRE scores of 800/800 for quantitative aptitude is also a right measure of my mathematical ability.
Many a time, during the project at Ashok Leyland Ltd., our team faced situations where we had to take decisions involving number of complex parameters. One such situation required us to decide whether to outsource a component which did not have enough volume or continue making it in-house .On the one hand, there was the obvious advantage of reducing the breakdown times while on the other, was the challenge of sourcing it to another manufacturer. These dilemmas tested and sharpened my decision making skills. I find Industrial Engineering intellectually stimulating and a Master’s degree in the subject, with specialization in Operations Research, will help me analyze industrial challenges in a more scientific manner and equip me with the skills to take informed decisions.
The Department of Industrial Engineering at X University, guided by the finest faculty in industrial statistics in the world, especially caters to my interest by providing high quality course work in Operational Research and Industrial Engineering. The fact that students passing out from X University are among the best in the world is another motivation for me. In addition, work done at IDS Lab, SNI Lab and LOC laboratory would provide me with a unique and invaluable opportunity for research. It would, therefore, be a great privilege for me to secure admission to pursue graduate studies with adequate financial assistance at X University. I am confident that I will match the high standards set by the university and shall prove my worth for the same by my performance and commitment towards the program.
The author would like to remain anonymous.
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