Meet Elif Ozgormus

Industrial engineering success stories

I was recently elected by the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers’ (IISE) membership to be president of the board of trustees. During this year as president, I would like to celebrate the successes of industrial and systems engineers and share the value the discipline brings to many organizations.

Industrial and system engineers provide incredible value to any organization in any industry, and I am really excited to share these stories and inspire you and your company to hire ISEs.

Michael Foss
Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers

Meet Elif Ozgormus
A Ph.D. story from Auburn, Alabama, to Turkey

“I would like to share with you my Ph.D. story. It is a tough period of life, and sometimes you need someone to remind you of the light at the end of the tunnel. It was my third year in my Ph.D. program, and my topic was almost clear: layout optimization for the retail sector. During weekly meetings with my advisor, she specifically asked me to focus on grocery store layout since there was a huge gap in this area. We developed a good optimization methodology and were talking about where we could apply the proposed method. As I am from Turkey, the first company that came to my mind was Migros. It is the first and best grocery store chain with many stores all around Turkey and in Russia.

My professor liked the idea and asked me if I knew someone from the company that I could contact easily. However, the answer was ‘no,’ so we didn’t pay attention too much and talked about more research. As I left the office of my professor, I started to think about Migros and checked the website of the company. I always believe that successful people’s life stories (and CVs) are most inspiring and decided to take a look at the CEO’s background. What a coincidence: He was an industrial engineer too and had a master’s degree from the U.S. just like me. I really got excited and asked myself what I would lose if I sent an email and asked for help from my ‘colleague.’ It was worth it to try, and I did it. Guess what happened. He replied. The CEO of one of the top 500 companies of the world agreed to help a Ph.D. student in her doctoral dissertation and cc the email to the contact people.

This was the turning point of my Ph.D. story, and the rest of the story is full of hard work, presentations and meetings. It has been one year since I graduated from Auburn and have been working as a faculty member in my home country in Denizli, Turkey. Now, we have applied for a joint project with Migros and my university. If everything works out, we will develop a software that optimizes the layout of all newly opened and re-layout stores.

As I tell my story to my students in the class, they would like to have a seminar from a top executive from Migros and next week the director of the planning and supply chain management department is coming to our university from the head office in Istanbul. The picture below is from a meeting at the Migros headquarters in Istanbul with CEO Ozgur Tort; Director of Planning and Supply Chain Management Ilker Tunaboyu; Planning Engineer Tugba Eris; my advisor and professor, Dr. Alice Smith; and me – now Dr. Elif Ozgormus.”

michael foss blog 1


1 Comment so far

  1. Welcome. Industrial Engineering Success Stories are required in large number. Economists have increased research in the area of productivity but IE profession is neglecting productivity, its core area of focus. What is the contribution of IE to productivity at Macro Level? What are the success stories of IEs in productivity at micro level that contributes to macro level improvement in productivity? We need to give attention to these themes and inspire the profession with exemplary success stories and methods to deploy them over large number of organizations. – Prof K.V.S.S. Narayana Rao, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India.

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