Practical assignment projects
Practical assignments are an effective way to bring companies, universities and students together while bringing concrete benefits. A practical assignment carried out for a company can solve challenges of different scale, while enabling students to gain valuable experience of work related to their own field. It should be noted that the exercises are primarily related to studies and therefore cannot be compared to consultancy work carried out by a professional.
Practical assignments are learning tasks included in courses. They help students practise applying the topics they learn about in courses to practice. Small and clearly determined tasks, such as various analyses and surveys, and smaller tasks involving development and generating ideas on which you can easily provide instructions to students, are particularly well-suited as practical assignments. Thanks to the scope of the industrial engineering and management studies, the topics of the assignments can represent a wide variety of themes, as long as the topic is essentially related to the teaching content of the course. In addition to practical assignments, companies can offer smaller exercises and problem-solving tasks for courses or organise a small-scale workshop in which the students get to solve a concrete case assignment.
Nearly every industrial engineering and management course involves the students carrying out a practical assignment alone or in a group. The assignment typically forms a certain percentage of the course credits and grade. The practice process often includes a seminar at the end of the course in which the students present their conclusions and assess each other’s work. We wish that the company is present at seminar events so that the students can also receive feedback on their work from the company. The teachers in charge of the courses are happy to discuss the topics and implementation of the assignments with the company. In the best-case scenario, students looking at the topic with fresh eyes can find new solutions for the models that the organisation has grown familiar with.
Benefits of practical assignments for a company:
- Work awaiting to be done will be completed with the help of a student or a group of students.
- The practical assignments and tasks are free of charge for the company.
- Students can find new solutions to replace old practices.
- Commissioning practical tasks and assignments enables companies to get to know potential future employees.
What should the company take into consideration?
- The scope of the work varies depending on the course. The normal workload is approximately 50-100 hours per student. As practical assignments are often carried out as group work, the work input is repeated from the perspective of the company.
- The practical work or assignment is always scheduled according to teaching timetables.
- The teachers in charge of the courses are happy to receive suggestions for practical assignments topics from companies. The teacher of the course always makes the decision on the suitability and scope of the topic.
- The practical assignments and tasks are always free of charge for companies.
Courses that include practical assignments
At LUT University, key study contents of industrial engineering and management include supply chain management, cost management, data analytics, digital services, and innovation and technology management. Below are examples of courses and topics that provide an opportunity for a practical assignment or other smaller tasks in cooperation with companies. Thanks to the scope of the studies in industrial engineering and management, the company can provide a topic for the tasks or assignments on a variety of themes. Companies can freely contact the persons responsible for the courses and suggest a topic for the assignments or discuss various topic alternatives.
Carrying out a research project
The students practice planning, implementing and documenting a research project in a seminar project that is completed as part of the course. Students can include the seminar project in their later Master’s thesis project or this may serve as a separate work. The project can concern topical themes from the research areas of cost management, data analytics and digital services. The seminar project is personal and is reported in English. The project is planned at the end of the year and the actual study is carried out during January and February.
Do you have a project that is missing a researcher? Contact us: Postdoctoral Researcher Miia Pirttilä.
Supply chain management
Supply chain development project
The practical assignment of the course is a supply chain development project. It is an assignment related to management, and its purpose is to introduce the student to the approach and working environment of a Master’s thesis project to ensure that the actual Master’s thesis work will get off to a smooth start. The aim is to enable students to apply what they have learned at the university. The theme may also be from the fringes of the core area of supply chain management, such as in the fields of the minor subjects that the student is studying. Typically, the commissioned work for a practical assignment involves analysing and developing the activities, systems, measurements etc. of production, warehouses, procurements or processes in general. The work is done individually. The total recommended duration of the work is 2-3 months. When the study concerns a more extensive entity, the work can be commissioned as a preliminary survey for a Master’s thesis. The development project has a flexible timetable: students can start it at any time and you may proceed based on both the student’s and the company’s timetables.
Would you like the freshest ideas on how to develop your supply chain? Contact us: Associate Professor Petri Niemi.
The aim of the practical assignment is to familiarise students with analytics and related tools, especially PowerBI, as well as the visualisation and reporting of results. The topic of the assignment can be tailored to the needs of the company. The work is carried out in groups of 3-4 people and its schedule is from the beginning of October until the end of November.
Do you have results but cannot make sense of them? Contact us: Postdoctoral Researcher Antti Ylä-Kujala.
Modelling and analytics as tools for controllers
The course involves performing a statistical analysis on large data sets, for example by utilising companies’ stock, sales and process data. Students carry out three separate practical assignments in groups. Each group uses the same business data as their starting point. The used analysis tools include SAS JPM, SAS CPM, and Excel. The assignment is carried out from mid-January until the end of April. The seminar takes place at the end of April.
Need help processing and analysing a large data set? Postdoctoral Researcher Antti Ylä-Kujala
Digital business processes
The course involves processing robotic process automation using UIPath software. The practical assignment helps students learn how to model business and financial processes, and identify related development targets and opportunities for automation. The assignment involves using UIPath to build a robot that solves an assigned task in a specific software environment. The practical work is carried out in groups of four and the assignment is created together with a company. The work enables companies to explore technical and creative solutions for implementation. The assignment is carried out from mid-January until the end of April.
Do you have a need for automation? Let us help you! Contact person: University Teacher Leena Tynninen.
Innovation and technology management
The practical assignment involves developing a solution to a genuine business or technology challenge emerging from a company. Potential topics include creating a new business model, developing the company’s innovation process, identifying and developing the company’s digital capabilities, updating the innovation strategy and processes, and finding a solution to a challenging strategic or competitive situation. The assignment is carried out in groups of four from late January to April. The work is reported in English.
Do you have a challenge but no one to solve it? Contact person: Postdoctoral researcher Antero Kutvonen
Strategic Technology and Innovation Management
The course provides students with skills to plan, analyse and develop innovation strategies, and to apply different tools and frameworks to technology management. Topics suitable for practical assignments include the development of an innovation and technology strategy, innovations as a core business process, and the creation and commercial application of new products and services. The work is carried out from the beginning of October to the beginning of December in groups of 3-4 people and English is used as the language of reporting about the project.
Want a boost for your business through innovations? Contact us! Contact person: Professor Ville Ojanen
Development of digital service processes
Internet of Things and industrial engineering and management applications
The aim of the practical assignment of the course is to describe and develop an IoT solution for a clearly defined problem or application. The application area may include a variety of operating environments, such as industrial services (e.g. remote production control) public services, such as traffic control, health and social services, and such as technology that supports the independent living of older people. The assignment is completed in a group and will start at the beginning of September and end at the beginning of December.
Make the most of the Internet of Things, contact us! Contact person: Associate Professor Jouni Koivuniemi
Planning and procurement of service packages
In the practical assignment, students familiarise themselves with the management of service packages from the perspective of their planning processes and procurement processes. Actual or realistic public competitive tendering materials are utilised in the assignments, and the criteria are used as the basis of drawing up a suggestion for a service solution. The focus of the developed solutions is on the requirements described in the invitation to tender materials related to business, services and technology. The course has previously utilised genuine public invitation to tender materials in areas such as home and remote care service and technology solutions. The assignment is carried out from mid-January until the end of April. It is completed as group work.
Better service processes, better results! Contact us. Contact person: Associate Professor Jouni Koivuniemi
Corporate governance, entrepreneurship and company renewal
The purpose of the practical assignment in this course is to examine either the strategic renewal of a company and what it requires, for example, from the perspective of the development of the Board of Directors, or the company’s corporate governance as a whole and the activities of the Board of Directors and its development needs in the context of the company’s operations. The course takes place from mid-January until the end of February.
Facing a new frontier? Let us help you! Contact person: Postdoctoral researcher Tuuli Ikäheimonen
Business start-ups and spin-offs
The study unit familiarises students with key concepts, theories and processes related to generating business. The aim of the practical assignment is to realistically form a new business plan and related processes. The themes of the assignment include defining a business idea and concept as well as the competitive advantage, performing sector, market and competitor analyses, producing performance strategies for the market, an operational plan and a financial plan based on realistic calculations. The assignment is carried out from mid-January until the end of February.
A start-up in need of guidelines? Contact us. Contact person: Postdoctoral researcher Noora Heino