Engineering New Learning Opportunities at Purdue University

Published: Feb 23 2020
About the Author
Tompkins International Staff
Tompkins International Staff

Jim Tompkins has a longstanding relationship with Purdue University, receiving his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the home of the Boilermakers. It’s where he met one of the early pioneers of industrial engineering—and a professional idol of his—Lillian Gilbreth.

Over the years, Jim has shown his support for his alma mater and commitment to the field of industrial engineering, with his latest contribution being the Tompkins Chair of Systems. Abhijit Deshmukh, Purdue graduate and the James J. Solberg Head of the School of Industrial Engineering, has been named the inaugural Tompkins Chair of Systems.

“It is an incredible honor for me to be carry the title with the name of someone I respect, admire and look-up to as a role model,” said Deshmukh.

In addition to the new Tompkins Chair of Systems, Jim and his wife, Shari, have helped advance industrial engineering education through the creation of numerous scholarships, the Tompkins Rising Star Professorship and the Tompkins Learning Center, where teaching assistants can provide additional support for undergraduate and graduate students in a small group environment. Jim also currently serves on the Industrial Engineering Advisory Council and the College of Engineering Advisory Council.

Despite his countless contributions to the university, Jim says it is Purdue that has given everything to him.

"The engineering education I received at Purdue University is the building block upon which I have built my business, career and life," said Tompkins, whose passion for industrial engineering began when he was just a sophomore in high school.

For more than 45 years, Jim has helped shape the industry, sharing his thought leadership and positioning companies for long-term profitable growth. As chairman and CEO of Tompkins International, Jim provides clients with innovative, end-to-end solutions to achieve supply chain reinvention and ensure business longevity in an increasingly digital world.

In response to COVID-19 and limiting travel, Tompkins Robotics is now offering interactive virtual tours using a variety of stationary and roaming cameras throughout the facility.  We have the capability to demonstrate five t-Sort systems with various configurations, robots and functionalities.  The main demonstration system includes three different induction types: manual, robotic and A-frame.  Our systems are capable of e-commerce order fulfillment, store replenishment, backroom and parcel / postal sortation.  We can demonstrate the original t-Sort robotic system in multiple dual level configurations and an elevator system to move robots between the levels.  Our larger t-Sort Plus robots run on single level systems with both tilt tray and crossbelt options.  In the very near future we will demonstrate the new t-Sort Mini in an additional system. We have a wide variety of inventory to demonstrate products including general merchandise, apparel, grocery, fragile goods, odd sizes and shapes and a wide range of product weights.  You will also have a chance to learn about the technologies that are integrated into our system such as automated induction, automated charging, integrated weight and dimension capture, our proprietary wireless network and Warehouse Execution System (WES), new innovations such as our automated sorter exit solution and more.  And if mobility and flexibility are important to you, we can demonstrate how easy it is to reconfigure a system, remove or add a sort table, and even fold a table into a smaller footprint for move or transport.