Final Five

Krishnan Krishnaiyer received the Outstanding Middle Career Leadership Award for Business/Industry at the IISE Annual Conference. He was nominated for the award by his doctoral program professor, Frank Chen, at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and leadership at Andeavor Logistics, where he led a Contracts Management Team that aligned 39 contracts and records managing processes into one. He is currently enterprise business improvement director at Marathon Petroleum Corp. An IISE member for 17 years, he holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from UT-San Antonio.Krishnan Krishnaiyer

How did you get started in industrial engineering?

I always dreamed of assembling things and making them work efficiently. In my undergraduate (Mechanical Engineering at PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, India), I took an elective course titled "Industrial Engineering (IE)." It opened my eyes to various methods and practices of IE. It also shaped my desire to pursue graduate studies. In my first job, I led an effort to perform a time-and-motion study on a critical machine. The experience helped me, as I ventured for the right graduate program. I obtained a graduate research assistantship to attend the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering program at Wichita State University.

What is your family background, and how significant is it that you are the first Asian native to receive this award?

It is humbling to note the distinction of being the first Asian to receive the IISE Outstanding Middle Career IE in the Business/Industry Award. I am the first generation to attend a college in my family. As a middle-class family, my parents put a high emphasis on education. My mother primarily raised me. She was a state government employee in Tamil Nadu, India. My father was the source of my financial help during my undergraduate studies. When I received my first salary as a full-time engineer, my mother retired. The social- economic background built the resilience in me. I have reached this far in life because of my father's and mother's sacrifices.

How did you apply your engineering training to the contract management project, and what specific methods and tools did you apply?

The contract management life cycle effort involved documenting 39 currentstate processes via kaizen workshops and aligning them to one Target Operating Model (TOM). I utilized continuous improvement, specifically the lean tools, project and change management techniques. We digitally mapped via a novel process mapping method that I had honed through my career was known as Input, Process Output Process Mapping (IPOPM). The map combines best of SIPOC (supplier, input, process, output and customer) and the Value Stream Mapping (VSM) methods.

How did you settle on this project as a top priority?

The contract management project was unique because it was one of the complex opportunities in the organization that spanned the enterprise (commercial, finance, marketing, logistics, legal, supply chain management, marine). One day, after a regular one-on-one meeting with my chief financial officer, he asked me to stay late and attend one of his sessions on contracts management. After the meeting, he asked me to lead a team to fix the problem. After working with the key stakeholders in the legal team, utilizing my 3DS (diagnose, design, deliver and sustain) methodology, I put together a project. Both the CFO and general counsel understood the need for a process focused initiative and provided the needed executive sponsorship.

What is your next big project?

IISE membership helped me to connect with my peers and community. Inspired by the strategic vision of the IISE organization, and the recent strategic combination of Andeavor and Marathon, I am working on identifying best practices and capturing synergies to unlock value across the organization.

– Interview by Tammy Whiteside