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Science Daily highlights WSU researcher studying ants' behavior as model for product development

January 30, 2013

Trying to find just the right balance of time spent in meetings and time performing tasks is a tough problem for managers, but a Wayne State University researcher believes the behavior of ants may provide a useful lesson on how to do it. Using computer simulations derived from the characteristics of ants seeking food, Kai Yang, professor of industrial and systems engineering in the College of Engineering, has developed a mathematical model-based methodology to estimate the optimal amount of time spent to develop a product, as well as the cost, in overlapped product development. Researchers believe their simulation model could reduce product definition time by as much as 50 percent, and lead to best practices that improve critical thinking and remove communication barriers. Such practices can be applied to large-sector manufacturing, health care and service companies, Yang said.