Wednesday, October 3, 2007

SDM to cosponsor major conference on life-cycle approach to risk management - SDM Pulse, Fall 2007

By Lois Slavin, communications director, MIT Engineering Systems Division

With the risks of launching new products and services greater than ever, companies are discovering that a life-cycle approach—one that incorporates all aspects of product design, development, manufacture, distribution, service, and end-of-life—is essential to success. Although this “systems” approach is being applied across industries around the globe, the complexities of cultural hurdles, safety, and ever-changing technologies make this life-cycle approach increasingly critical, yet unquestionably challenging to adopt.

On March 11-12, 2008, leading MIT researchers will join top industry experts to address the practical question of how to use a life-cycle approach to maximize opportunity while minimizing the risks of conducting business today. Strategies for Balancing Risks and Opportunities in Global Product Delivery will take place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Mass.

The symposium will feature strategies and tactics drawn from organizations that are consistently achieving ever-greater levels of performance and prosperity in both new and existing markets. Keynote speakers include Nick Donofrio, executive vice president of innovation and technology at IBM, and Joan Cullinane, president of Velcro, USA. Senior executives from a wide range of industries will also share their companies’ best practices and lessons learned.

MIT experts will highlight important research findings and provide insights into how companies can minimize risks using systems thinking, product design, network modeling, information technology, procurement/inventory strategies, and the flexible supply chain. Scheduled speakers include safety specialist Nancy Leveson, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems; systems architecture expert Ed Crawley, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems; and supply chain expert David Simchi-Levi, professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering systems.

In addition, Wallace Hopp, the Herrick professor of manufacturing and a professor of operations and management science at the University of Michigan will be speaking. Additional speakers will be announced on the SDM website,, as they are confirmed.

The conference is cosponsored by MIT's System Design and Management Program, Leaders for Manufacturing Program, Forum for Supply Chain Innovation, and Industrial Liaison Program. Several hundred senior executives from major corporations across a range of industries are expected to attend.

For further information, contact John M. Grace, industry codirector of SDM,, 617.253.2081.

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