Yavuz Bozer - Professor, Industrial & Operations Engineering


Professor Bozer served for 11 years as the Engineering Co-Director of the Tauber Institute for Global Operations. He is also the Co-Director/Co-Founder of the Lean Manufacturing and Lean Logistics Certificate Programs offered through IS+D at the College of Engineering.

Professor Bozer’s teaching and research interests focus on the development of quantitative models to design and improve the performance of material handling systems in manufacturing, distribution, and logistics.   He is also a leading researcher in facility logistics and design, including manufacturing facilities, warehouses, fulfillment centers, and supply chain facilities (such as cross-docks and distribution centers).  In addition to developing operations research (OR) tools in the above areas, he has studied the application of Lean principles and value stream analysis in the design and operation of manufacturing and distribution processes.

Professor Bozer’s professional experience includes consulting with the SysteCon Division of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Subsequently, he worked at the Material Handling Research Center at Georgia Tech as a Research Engineer. He received the 1987 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). In 1988 he was named a Presidential Young Investigator (PYI) by the National Science Foundation. He was inducted into the Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni at Georgia Tech in 1995, and he received the Technical Innovation Award in Industrial Engineering from IIE in 1999.

Professor Bozer's publications have appeared in leading refereed journals in his area, and he is a co-author of Facilities Planning (Wiley), a well-regarded textbook translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish.  His most recent work includes device dispatching in trip-based material handling systems, intra-facility patient transport in large hospitals, order picking systems in online retailing, service parts distribution centers, and food supply networks in multi-node settings such as fast food chains and pizza outlets.

Q: What first brought you to the University of Michigan?
The intellectual diversity and breadth of the University, not to mention some of the best people being here. 
Q: Describe your experiences as an instructor at Michigan, and working with the Tauber Institute.
The large majority of the U-M students are very competitive and bright.  They are driven and they want to learn and succeed. In particular, the Tauber students are highly motivated and very sharp in terms of dealing with real-world challenges.  Problems and data in the real-world are often messy and sometimes ambiguous or not well-defined.  I'm always impressed with how the Tauber students work through this "noise" to get to the core of the problem and the essence of the data.  Very important skill in order to succeed in the real-world. 
Q: What new developments in Operations do you find most exciting?
Potential applications of AI and machine learning in the areas of real-time decision-making such as scheduling, dispatching, air-traffic control and so on, where key decisions must be made real-time and correctly/effectively.  Also interested in the supply chain for the fast-food industry and e-commerce (which is growing exponentially and changing the retail scene).  
Q: What do you predict will be different in Operations management 10 years from now?
This is a hard one.  The increasing role of data and the increasing use of robots (defined broadly) would be two things to impact OM in the next 10 years.  More robots will be used in manufacturing, distribution, and transportation (if you count self-driving cars as a type of robot).  Also, as the population ages, I'd love to see robots used in assisted-living environments.  There's going to be a huge demand there.  
Q: What skills do you feel are most important for today's Operations students to develop?
Data analysis, optimization, decision-making, and strategic planning.  The last one will always be important I think.  
Q: What do you consider to be the Tauber Institute’s most significant contributions to Operations education?
Preparing students who are not only well-educated in a technical sense but also well-developed in leadership, communication, and teamwork skills.  
Yavuz Bozer, Professor, Industrial & Operations Engineering, Tauber Institute for Global Operations