UTA’s Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) focuses on innovative and strategic systems engineering research. This blog entry focuses on one of the students affiliated with UTA’s SERC and his research related to real-world needs.
Clement Smartt is a Ph.D. candidate with a focus on Systems Engineering. Clement received the 2012 INCOSE Foundation Stevens Doctoral Award. This award recognizes innovative doctoral-level research related to the field of systems engineering. His research addresses the important, but relatively unexplored topic: the use of systems engineering on proposals. Organizations whose primary business is executing contracts must be able to capture contracts to survive. When the contracts involve engineering complex systems, systems engineering often plays a significant role in the proposal process, sometimes leading the technical effort. This research seeks to find an optimal use of systems engineering in proposal management to maximize the probability that a supplier organization will be awarded contracts.
Smartt suggests that a number of systems engineering related factors that can potentially be used to predict contract awards and pertain to the organization, the skill levels of employees, the competitive environment, the proposal project, the contract, and the relationship with the customer. A survey was conducted to gather information related to these factors as well as contract award status for recent proposal efforts. Smartt’s analysis of the survey results indicates that suppliers seeking to be awarded new contracts should: (1) keep their existing customers very satisfied with the contract work already captured, (2) invest adequate resources in systems engineering labor to understand the requirements and define a solution in support of the proposal, and (3) maintain an adequate number of face-to-face contacts with the customer during the proposal process.
A modeling framework was developed and validated to help decision makers determine an optimal use of systems engineering on their proposals. The framework allows users to maximize the probability of a contract award given constraints such as budget and employee availability by strategically allocating resources to key systems engineering activities and employee with various skill levels. Organizations that engineer complex systems can use the findings of the survey analysis and the modeling framework to improve the chances of survival for their organizations.
Clement Smartt will be defending his dissertation on Friday, November 1, 2013 in Woolf Hall Room 200. If you are interested in learning more about systems engineering or about our M.S. Systems Engineering or Ph.D Industrial Engineering with Systems Engineering focus, please feel free to contact the IMSE Department at UT Arlington at 817-272-3092 and ask to speak to an advisor or email us with your questions at IMSEinfo@.uta.edu.
Written by Dr. Susan Ferreira, Director of Systems Engineering Research Center