Meet Vice President of CICMHE Dr. Shanthi Muthuswam
The mission of the College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE) is to increase awareness, understanding, exploration, and development of material handling and logistics through fostering and nurturing high value projects and events.
To help development connections between CICMHE and MHI members, we are spotlighting Dr. Shanthi Muthuswam, Vice President of CICMHE. Dr. Muthuswamy is an associate professor in the Department of Technology at Northern Illinois University. She specializes in heuristic optimization and manufacturing process optimization. Learn more about Dr. Muthuswamy below!
What is the focus of your day?
I am one of the lucky few to have found a profession where we get to work with young minds that invigorate and challenge us on a daily basis. My typical day includes teaching – on campus and online classes. Due to COVID-19, I have been teaching completely online this academic year. Commonly taught classes are Plant Location, Layout and Material handling, Production Control Systems, Risk Management and Project Management. All my on campus classes start with at least 2-3 minutes of Pranayama – mindful breathing practice to calm and focus the mind. Many of my undergraduate/graduate courses include a team project in collaboration with a local company. My funded projects for many years have come from Caterpillar Inc. and other local companies near NIU. Primary focus of these projects include process improvements, lean and six sigma implementations, assembly line balancing and scheduling. My current funded project is in the health care industry. I am working with my graduate students in one of the biggest hospitals in the suburbs of Chicago and we are focusing on several crucial problem areas of the hospital – bringing down the discharge time for inpatients, looking at lab scheduling, simulating number of transporters needed to move patients between operating rooms, labs and inpatient rooms, improving physical therapy/occupational therapy appointment scheduling etc., and how COVID-19 is impacting all these practices and schedules.
What is you role/involvement within CICMHE?
I am currently serving as the VP for CICMHE (till December 2021) and work closely with the Executive Committee and the CICMHE team on various initiatives to bring the best value for the CICMHE members and MHI. Before this role, I was the Events committee chair and worked with MHI staff to organize the Student day program for MODEX 2018 and PROMAT 2019. I am also serving as a guest member for MHI’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
In what ways would you like to see MHI and CICMHE become more closely connected?
CICMHE members and MHI have been working closely for several years on white papers for the Solutions community, articles for the Solutions magazine, Material Handling and Logistics U.S Roadmap presentations, providing updates for CTE textbook, research projects with the Ergonomics (EASE) group, organizing student day events and so on. Going forward we would like to continue these initiatives and also look out for new venues for collaboration. With many Universities conducting classes online, it is easy and convenient for MHI members to be virtual guest speakers and the students would be thrilled to meet the industry experts. Another productive MHI-CICMHE collaboration opportunity is senior design projects which in turn could serve as an effective conduit for getting summer interns and co-op students. CICMHE has several subject matter experts who could provide training on emerging technologies for MHI members. If they want an in-house academic expert for 6 months to a year, interested faculty could take a sabbatical to work on their research questions. CICMHE members are excited to collaborate with MHI and are constantly looking out for opportunities to enhance this relationship.
The mission of the College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE) is to increase awareness, understanding, exploration, and development of material handling and logistics through fostering and nurturing high value projects and events. Learn more by visiting https://www.mhi.org/cicmhe.