Joseph Heim

Joe Heim is a principal of The New Advisory Group, Inc.  At the New Advisory Group, Joe is focused on new and collaborative approaches to graduate, professional, and continuing education in industrial systems and supply networks, in both manufacturing and health care.

Joe is also a research staff member and instructor at the University of Washington.  He returned to research and teaching at the university, where he had been a faculty member in Industrial and Systems Engineering from 1993 to 1998, after a decade at Terex Corporation as director of global supply chain planning and analysis and of marketing research and operations planning.

Joe has divided his career between academe and industrial operations, moving between the two several times after completing degrees in mechanical, computer and industrial engineering, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Academy of Engineering.  His professional experience bridges from the future-oriented, academic world of theory, learning and discovery to the world of industrial operations where ideas and innovation are more often valued for their immediate, rather than prospective, ability to deliver commercial value.

As a university research scientist, Joe focuses on manufacturing and healthcare.  This unusual combination arises from the fact that the principles and approaches that underpin successful manufacturing organizations, with some adjustments, are also applicable to healthcare.  When viewed as examples of complex systems of people, information and technology, manufacturing and healthcare share a number of challenges that respond favorably to similar conceptual models and analytical methods.  Both are examples of hierarchical production systems, and operations research and management science provide common analytical approaches for their investigation, planning and change.

At Terex, he helped design vertical business units and bring them online when external suppliers were unable to keep up with the growth of the company, and he introduced advanced modeling, planning and data management methods to coordinate a globally distributed network of manufacturing facilities and distribution centers.  In manufacturing, his objective was to improve the performance of the production system, integrating design of products, processes and supply networks with daily operations and practices.

The overarching goal of Joe's health systems teaching and research is also to improve the performance of the production systems (generally called health care delivery systems).  For patients, improvement might mean less time waiting to access specialized treatment resources because of better scheduling algorithms.  For care providers, improving performance may mean organizing clinic resources and operations to maximize the time they have with their patients, or to reduce the turnaround time to receive diagnostic test results from the lab.  His current focus is on developing domain specific modeling languages for health care professionals and defining a set of standard clinic reference models. His research is funded by both federal (e.g., AHRQ, NSF) and local health care providers (e.g., hospitals and academic medical centers).

For both health systems engineering and manufacturing production systems, Joe designs professional and continuing educational content for university certificates and graduate degrees.  In some instances those courses are available to all university students, but he has also created and taught tailored courses.  For example, using proprietary engineering case studies from a large aerospace manufacturer, he developed an integrated product and process design certificate to help the company’s production engineers better coordinate manufacturing requirements with product specifications and design engineers.