The Enterprise Systems Center (ESC) is a Lehigh University research center in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. The Center is physically located in Mohler Laboratory. From its early years as the Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) Laboratory, the ESC has evolved to a center of excellence in enterprise systems engineering. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of many projects, technical concentration areas such as operations research, analytics, supply chain and logistics, management science, product innovation, sustainability, and agile manufacturing are parts of an overall approach. This approach includes analysis and design and systems implementation support required in today’s competitive global environment. The ESC’s focus is on helping students increase their technical expertise, hone leadership development skills, and improve their ability to conceptualize and solve unstructured and multidisciplinary problems in a real life setting. Students engage with professors, senior fellows, subject matter experts, and industry partners, who provide layered mentoring. This approach helps to ensure the success of the project while preparing students to be effective and innovative practitioners of operations research, management science, and analytics.
Research programs have included several with the National Science Foundation (NSF) as well as the Department of Defense and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. For a five year contract period, the Enterprise Systems Center hosted Lehigh’s NSF Center for Engineering Logistics and Distribution (CELDi), a consortium of selected universities and industry partners dedicated to achieving logistics and distribution excellence. Another research consortium where the ESC played a leading role was the Focus:HOPE based NSF program titled “Greenfield Coalition for New Manufacturing Education” which developed new content, conducted research programs with respect to technologically enabled methods of developing courseware and piloted new approaches to delivery. Joint research programs with IBM Thomas Watson Research Center focused on the development of software involving three dimensional modeling, particularly as it pertains to computer aided design.
Since its inception, the ESC has completed more than 1000 research and development projects with over 400 industry partners. More than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students from the engineering, business, and arts/science colleges participated on interdisciplinary teams to achieve high return on investment deliverables. Students with ESC experience report a great advantage when interviewing with corporate recruiters and ultimately in their career growth. Faculty report enhanced relevancy of their research efforts and value the opportunities for joint R&D programs with industry and public sector entities.