BuckISE implement process improvements on new OSUWMC tower
Two ISE students are working on easing the initial stress for patients and visitors at the new Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center tower currently under construction and set to open in 2026.
As part of their ISE Lean Six Sigma Program,
(ISE MS ’23) and Jacob Zimmerman (ISE BS ’23) are working on wayfinding solutions to direct people from the parking garage to their final destination in the medical center.
ISE Lean Six Sigma Director Tracy Owens helped the students land the project as part of their capstone. Subramanian is working on the patient experience from parking garage to a connecting bridge to the tower and on to the registration desk. Once they arrive at the registration desk, Zimmerman’s work begins.
“We have the same goals, the same tools,” Subramanian says. “We want to make it a seamless experience for them, and we want to get it right the first time.”
Zimmerman adds that they are “making sure people aren’t asking for directions multiple times.” He has been testing different Six Sigma techniques, including one called Identify, Design, Optimize and Validate.
“We have tested the difference in quality between auditory directions, printed maps and printed visual-based directions, which use pictures and words to allow someone to be led to their destination independently,” Zimmerman says.
“I am studying the current trends in the different parking garages around campus,” Subramanian explains.
While he benchmarks those experiences, particularly the Safe Auto hospital garage, he is looking at how the different garages operate and trying to predict the customer experience for patients and visitors.
“A lot of times, they are not sure what to do,” Subramanian says, adding that the bridge from the existing garage to the new tower will be on the second floor of the garage but will align to the fourth floor of the tower.
“Design plays a critical role for the patient and customer in the future of how the bridge aligns,” Subramanian says. “We have to optimize and validate the way of doing it. The long-term design is critical in the whole project.”
Zimmerman says the project definitely benefits from the Six Sigma program, which offers a process improvement approach to eliminate waste and defects. “There has been a lot of learning along the way to make it even more effective,” he says, adding that it has been beneficial to be able to immediately implement the techniques he is learning in class.
Subramanian, who is a graduate teaching associate in ISE, earned his bachelor’s in industrial engineering and management from JSS Academy of Technical Education in Karnataka, India. He has worked as a procurement specialist for ABB and will serve as an operations manager for Amazon following graduation.
Zimmerman, who specializes in manufacturing, has been part of Honda’s engineering development program and has secured a full-time engineering position with the company.
“I don’t think the significance of the project is lost on me,” Zimmerman says. “It really can have a big impact on how people find their way. It’s already a stressful environment and most people don’t want to be there. If I can make it easy on someone, that’s very significant.”
Adds Subramanian, “My contribution is very minute in this. The end result is process improvement and innovation. We try to make it a better experience for the customer.”
Story by Nancy Richison