Andy Dryden, Logistics Manager, and Sandeep Jerath, Year 12 Student

It has shown me how Stats is important’

Names: Andy Dryden, Sandeep Jerath

Job Titles: AD – Logistics Manager, SJ – Year 12 student

Organisation:Unipart Manufacturing

Andy Dryden works at Unipart Manufacturing in Coventry where he is a Logistics Manager. During July and August 2008, the company welcomed Sandeep Jerath, a Year 12 student from City College in Coventry. Sandeep completed a 6 week placement under the Nuffield Bursary Scheme.

Can you tell us a little about Unipart?
Andy : Unipart is a manufacturing company supplying exhausts, fuel tanks and engine components to many of the automotive companies around the Midlands and the UK. The company has been around for about 100 years on the site we are on today.

Can you describe the project which was completed in the 6 week placement?
A : One of the key elements here at Unipart is a thing called ‘Six Sigma’ which originated in the 1980s. It’s a methodology and tool set concerned with business improvement. We aim to minimise defects and errors to constantly improve the level of service to our customers. Statistics is a big part of this. It allows us to show that we can make an informed choice using data analysis.
Sandeep : I did an analysis of some supply and delivery data to understand how this could be improved. I used a lot of concepts from Statistics such as confidence intervals and chi-squared tests. We wanted to determine whether there was any trend with delivery errors. We discovered that there was a clear trend on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday while Tuesday was a completely separate case.

What have you learned in the project?
A : I have had graduate students before but I have found it a learning experience to work with someone like Sandeep who is slightly younger. There is a gap there of life experience with school pupils which is not usually there with university students. I hope that Sandeep has learned a bit about where exactly the tools which he has learned in maths can be applied. I have personally found it very rewarding to have some role in hopefully filling some of the gaps between the textbook and the real world application.
S : I learned how to use confidence intervals as they were used extensively in the project. More importantly, I learned how to communicate with people all across the business. The project has really helped me with my Stats for next year at school. I had thought that Stats was a waste of time when I first encountered it at school but this project has really shown me how Stats is useful in a big company.

To find out more about the Nuffield Foundation and Nuffield Science Bursaries visit the website www.nuffieldfoundation.org.