Cecilia Martinez Leon

PhD, DSc

Dr. Cecilia Martinez.

Cecilia Martinez Leon

PhD, DSc

Cecilia Martinez Leon

PhD, DSc

Research Topics

Quality Management, Project Management and Lean Systems Engineering. Overall, my research interests lie in identifying, articulating, and integrating engineering and management principles for developing effective product development and continuous improvement deployment frameworks for successful and sustained performance excellence.

Biography Publications Teaching Research

Research Interests

My research focuses on multidisciplinary, complex, and systemic challenges organizations face from new product development to delivery. Specifically, I have looked into the managerial and technical aspects of new product development as well as methodologies for sustaining and improving existent processes to achieve performance excellence. I have applied my research across industry sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, education, nonprofit organizations, and the power industry.

For instance, in the process of developing new products, project managers typically make assumptions about information that is either incomplete or unavailable, making conventional project management techniques not entirely adequate.  My research, in this area, focuses on addressing this fundamental difficulty in project planning for new product development.  My efforts are devoted to developing modeling techniques and analytical management frameworks that account for project iterations and uncertainties. I have used stochastic analysis, graph theory, signal processing, systems engineering, and simulation, among others, to work on this challenge. The goal motivating my research in this area is to facilitate interactions and information sharing between product engineering and product development, and in this way, help to launch products faster, of better quality, and for less cost.

My research interests are also greatly influenced by my expertise in lean six sigma as a master black belt. Organizations face the improvement paradox: the number of continuous improvement tools and methodologies rapidly grow without necessarily developing the capability of creating a continuous improvement culture embedded in daily operations.  I have leveraged my fifteen years of experience in lean six sigma across industries in Mexico and the US. From the projects I have led, I identified how continuous improvement tools could be articulated for promoting team learning, collaboration, solution ownership, and overall solution quality and sustainability. I have also explored how lean and six sigma can be holistically integrated, and most recently, how lean can be integrated with environmental sustainability efforts.

Another fascinating area that I have focused on is the extrapolation of process improvement methodologies from the manufacturing industry to the service sector, such as healthcare and higher education. I have been leading and coaching lean six sigma projects in rural healthcare organizations. I have used this opportunity to address a common problem universities face when attempting to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Finally, improving existing processes requires the establishment of a baseline from which goals are set. While measuring performance might be routine in most industrial sectors, nonprofit organizations (NPOs) experience challenges in measuring progress made, linking this progress to quantifiable outcomes, and using this information for accountability, decision-making, and improvement. In this line of research, I have developed a performance measurement framework based on the strengths and weaknesses of existing scholarly works from the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

Overall, my research interests lie in identifying, articulating, and integrating engineering and management principles for developing effective product development and continuous improvement deployment frameworks for successful and sustained performance excellence.