DTLP Internship Experience — Learning to be Horizontal

My name is Pratik Chheda and I am an Electrical Engineer from Princeton University who spent this summer as a DTLP Intern on the Power Digital Thread (DT) team in Atlanta, GA, working under my AL: Catherine Kromkowski. To give a little background, the Digital Thread team formed over a year ago, to drive business productivity by utilizing data, processes, and machines to form a cross-pillar thread of analytics, knowledge, and solutions. Our business partners leverage the thread to make smarter decisions for GE Power, lowering costs and increasing cash. This internship was a unique opportunity to partner my problem-solving background in engineering with mathematical analysis to develop horizontal solutions for the Digital Thread.

The Thread in Action:

The beauty of the thread is that we can open the door for more productivity by connecting data from many functions. This summer I developed a triage algorithm to process defective inventory smarter and faster using data from engineering and manufacturing quality system. This system has Non-conformance reports (NCRs: tickets created on a defective part), which have tended to stockpile at certain points in the manufacturing process — turning into defective inventory and creating bottlenecks for productivity as well as cash. We analyzed over 600,000 historical NCRs, and crafted a solution that required part intuition, part data science, and part user experience. We created an algorithm that prioritizes NCR defects for quality engineers to maximize cash impact. To deliver this solution, we built a UI which displays the triaged list, historical trends, and recurring issues by part and damage.

Beyond the Thread:

My time as a DTLP intern was constantly laced with extracurriculars, such as plant tours, intern tech debates, roundtables with executives, and intern activities (i.e. Intern Olympics and Top golf). To delve into an example, we participated in a series of Power DTLP intern debates with interns across the US. Each round, two teams faced off to debate an important industrial technology issue. In our round, we had to defend against investing in unproven technologies that do not show a clear ROI. How does one justify investments in up and coming technologies without knowing the return? Our team discussed the idea that we should take the time to quantitatively estimate initial ROI [to the best of our ability], to regularly track ROI feasibility, and to practice FastWorks, pivoting if the technology did not give us a return. It was an interesting topic that required lots of research and some serious thought. It tested our teamwork, improved public speaking, and provided a healthy atmosphere to learn about new perspectives.

What does it all mean?

As I reflect upon my summer and take a step back, I see a meaningful assignment that improved me technically (SQL, Greenplum, data analysis) and experiences that allowed me to develop in interpersonal communication, critical thinking, business knowledge, the list goes on. I have come to realize if you want to be a leader in today’s world, adaptability is a staple; a staple that the DTLP understands, and actively develops.

Pratik Chheda
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