At a Glance


Industrial Goods and Manufacturing

Project Types

Clean and Renewable Energy, Data Analysis, Supply Chain




Mapleton, IL


Alexander Zajda optimized raw material procurement, storage, and movement in parallel with creating and presenting an actionable plan for an on-site solar grid at Caterpillar’s most energy-intensive facility in Mapleton, IL.


Caterpillar Inc. is an American Fortune 100 corporation and the world's leading manufacturer of diesel and natural gas engines. Their Large Power Systems Division in Mapleton, IL fabricates some of the world’s largest engine blocks that get placed in marine, mining, and construction equipment. Alexander Zajda was selected to optimize the large amount of material and by-product material flow throughout the facility. In addition, Alexander was challenged by upper management to determine the feasibility of building an on-site solar grid which could help offset the enormous energy demand at the facility.


Alexander had to use every tool in his arsenal in order to complete solve these challenges. Alexander:

  • Optimized the amount of raw material to purchase each month by creating a purchasing tool that utilized demand forecasts, a master bill of materials, and a mixture ratio calculator he created in C++. The purchasing tool uses Power BI to aggregate all available data and spits out an exact tonnage to order for every raw material used in the facility.
  • Outlined a novel First in First out (FIFO) method used to store highly flammable materials outside of the main complex. This method was obtained by drawing an initial layout, then iterating on the sizes and spacings of the storage location until the optimum layout was determined and drawn in AutoCAD.
  • Determined the optimal size and location of an on-site solar grid as a function of, among other things, energy demand, peak production times, and solar irradiation cycles. Using a bevy of resources including various softwares, financial advisors, and energy management experts, Alexander made his determination of the optimal solar grid, along with its corresponding financial and sustainability metrics.


The purchase optimization tool reduces waste, reduces storage space requirements, decreases material turnaround time, and identifies lines with inefficient material usage, resulting in financial savings across the entirety of the supply chain. The solar grid feasibility study has pushed the solar grid from a pipe dream to an actual proposal that can compete for funding. The project is supported by high level executives at Caterpillar and has an excellent chance of being commissioned.

Related Links