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Clemson University students help Meals on Wheels roll with efficiency

August 7, 2015

The nearly 1,500 clients spread across Greenville County include the sick and injured, those who are recovering from surgery and senior citizens who have trouble preparing their own meals.

Unable to leave their homes on their own, they have sought the help of Meals on Wheels of Greenville. The nonprofit dispatches a corps of volunteer drivers across 126 routes five days a week to deliver meals.

Volunteer drivers are the lifeblood of the program, but connecting them with clients can be a logistical challenge. When volunteers cancel or don’t show up, there’s a scramble to find someone to pick up the route.

Four Clemson University students made it their mission to see what they could do to help. As part of an industrial engineering class, the students took an entire school year to analyze the nonprofit’s operations and figure out how it could improve its efficiency.

The students developed a mapping tool using Microsoft Excel and Google Maps to show the shortest drive times between clients. The team also analyzed massive amounts of information to determine what days of the week Meals on Wheels had the toughest time finding drivers. Read Full Story »

, College of Engineering and Science