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STANFORD -- Ten years ago the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the School of Engineering acted somewhat like polite neighbors - occasionally communicating, but generally pursuing independent interests.
Today, however, the two schools are working together on tasks ranging from creating the nation's first doctoral program in manufacturing to constructing a $3.5 million building that will enable students to develop manufacturing models. Besides containing traditional classrooms and laboratories, the facility will feature computer workstations and testing equipment for rapid prototyping of multiple-component products.
The new collaborative efforts in manufacturing issues are proving popular with students. A two-quarter, master's-level course, Integrated Design for Manufacturing and Marketability, was developed by marketing and operations faculty from the Business School working jointly with a faculty member from mechanical engineering. Twenty-nine MBA students vied for the 20 slots in the fall quarter class.
This February, students in the class will roll out their product for the year: bicycle lighting systems that will be judged not only on how well they guide a cyclist around Stanford's Main Quad, but also on issues such as price and manufacturing design.
Team projects in the class have required students to study the market, design and make working prototypes, identify real sources for materials needed to manufacture their products, and do the research and planning to bring the product to market.
Another collaborative academic effort at Stanford is the two- year-old Future Professors of Manufacturing program that is expected to graduate 50 new university faculty members by the end of the decade. All participants have worked in industry before enrolling in the program, some with more than a decade of experience. Once they graduate, the new professors will join university faculties across the nation to create and strengthen programs in manufacturing.
In June, the business and engineering schools will launch their first jointly sponsored executive education program for upper-level managers in engineering, manufacturing, procurement and service organizations. The curriculum for the Product Development and Manufacturing Strategy Program is being created by the two schools with the assistance of industry leaders who serve on the advisory committee to the Stanford Integrated Manufacturing Association (SIMA).
SIMA is a joint venture between the two schools in partnership with 16 U.S. manufacturing companies. Its mission is to develop educational and research programs aimed at improving the competitiveness of U.S. industry.
Charles A. Holloway, the Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers Professor of Management at the Business School, one of the creators of the new executive program, is co-chair of SIMA with William Reynolds, professor of mechanical engineering.
Holloway also has created new MBA elective courses in manufacturing. One course - Manufacturing Strategy - includes field projects that in the fall of 1993 saw students analyze the spare parts supply process, study the partnerships between a major corporation and its suppliers, and assess and suggest changes for current order fulfillment processes. The course ended with student teams making presentations on their findings to managers of the companies involved.
Stanford University has long had a powerful effect on manufacturing, particularly in the high-technology firms of Silicon Valley. A study conducted in the 1980s by Charles Krenz, then a master's student at the Business School, examined 50 high-tech firms that had spun out of the university over the past 50 years. Krenz estimated that in 1988, these firms had total sales of approximately $20 billion.
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