ISD Automotive Engineering Student Roshan Kumar Dash Pushes Boundaries as Tesla Gigafactory Plant Industrial Engineer Intern
Roshan Kumar Dash always knew teamwork was important.
But it wasn’t until he began working as an Industrial Engineer Intern at the Tesla Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, in May 2023 did he truly understand just how much. The massive 20,000-employee plant (second largest in the nation) produces on average a whopping 5,000 Model Y electric cars per week.
“It’s hard to work alone,” said Dash, 26, an ISD Automotive Engineering MEng student. “I discovered everyone on a team needs to give inputs for everything to come together.”
Dash enjoys applying the theoretical knowledge he’s learned at ISD to real-world scenarios. His internship allows him to bridge the gap between academic concepts and practical implementation, enhancing his understanding and problem-solving abilities.
“I gain a deeper understanding of the industry’s dynamics, challenges, and trends,” he said. “Through hands-on experience, I grasp how different departments collaborate, how projects progress, and how decisions are made in a real-world environment.”
Most importantly, he has learned to pursue, value, and appreciate networking.
“An internship is a fantastic opportunity to connect with professionals in the field,” he said. “It is the perfect platform to build meaningful relationships with colleagues, mentors, and even potential future employers, which could open doors to new opportunities.”
Dash views Tesla’s culture as a shining light. He describes it as collaborative, innovative, fast paced, busy, and friendly.
“Here, you depend on others,” he said. “We work hard, we work very fast, and we work together. There’s always something new to learn and an opportunity to talk with people. This place is always busy, and very friendly and helpful. Once the work is done, we enjoy parties to celebrate our work.”
Dash describes his internship as fast-paced, hard work, and rewarding. He has worked on eight different projects since starting his internship, which he expects to end in December 2023.
Dash of Success
Among his major projects is developing a comprehensive Insource vs. Outsource Model for assessing whether to insource or outsource future programs. This was achieved by analyzing data from PFEP (Plan for Every Part) and collaborating with various teams. The model takes into consideration factory and logistics costs to make well-informed decisions regarding production and supply chain strategies. The model considers various factors, such as cost, quality control, flexibility, time-to-market, and resource utilization, to compare the advantages and disadvantages of insourcing and outsourcing. By utilizing the model, manufacturers can assess the financial implications of each strategy, analyze the level of control over the manufacturing process, and evaluate the impact on product quality.
“The model’s flexibility enables people to customize inputs, such as production volumes, labor costs, component sourcing options, and quality control parameters, to reflect their unique operational characteristics,” he said. “This allows for scenario analysis and sensitivity testing to assess the impact of different variables on the decision-making process. By utilizing this model, TESLA can optimize their production processes, enhance competitiveness, and achieve their operational and financial objectives in an increasingly dynamic industry.”
After including all costs, a “Cost per Car” parameter is used to take up the final decision. Dash believes the model will act as a valuable tool for TESLA to evaluate and compare the financial benefits of each approach.
“By leveraging the model’s capabilities, TESLA could optimize operational efficiency, reduce costs, improve profitability, and make strategic decisions that aligned with their financial objectives,” he said. “The insights gained from the model provided a foundation for informed decision-making and supported the long-term success of automobile manufacturing companies.”
Here are other major projects Dash has worked on during his Tesla internship:
- Material Flow Design for Cyber Truck Parts: He was responsible for designing a material flow system to support the production of Cyber Truck’s battery top covers and enclosures. This design facilitated operations such as repackaging, material staging, and dock allocation, ensuring a smooth and efficient process for producing these critical parts.
- Logistics Centre Material Flow Layout Design: Currently he is responsible for designing and implementing the initial material flow layout for a large Logistics Centre spanning 500,000 square feet. The layout integrated various aspects including top hatting, warehousing, dockyards, and repack spaces. The result was streamlined processes, reduced material travel times, and a remarkable 20 percent reduction in headcount for different production rates.
- MOST Analysis for Dolly Swap: Through a MOST (Maynard Operation Sequence Technique) analysis, a process improvement methodology, he reduced dolly swap time by 15 percent. This improvement led to increased productivity and cost savings of $500,000 per year in operational expenditure (OPEX).
In fall 2022, Dash enrolled in ISD’s Automotive Engineering Program for a MEng degree with a specialization in Manufacturing and Data Analytics because he believed the program was one of the best in the world.
“ISD’s Automotive Engineering program is practical, modern, and detailed,” said Dash, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, India. “It exposed me to diverse subjects and challenges that demanded critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills.”
One course that stood out to him was AUTO 514: Crash Worthiness and Occupant Safety: “It taught me how to build and engineer automobiles to lessen the effects of collisions and safeguard occupants. This topic centers on a variety of ideas, innovations, and rules meant to improve automobile safety.”
Another course that influenced Dash is MFG 527: Systems Engineering Architecture and Design (Design for Six Sigma): “It taught me to minimize defects and variations in processes, leading to improved quality, reduced waste, and increased efficiency. These skills were crucial in assessing complex situations, such as the insource vs. outsource model development, MOST analysis, and material flow layout design mentioned in the opportunity. The ability to analyze data, identify patterns, and devise effective solutions has been honed through rigorous coursework and projects by ISD.”
Best Advice for Prospective Students?
“ISD has very experienced professors and a fantastic program curriculum,” he said. “Faculty are very detailed and the program is flexible to allow you to explore topics more deeply. It’s the best of all worlds.”