Jeffrey Yang

Light Heart Company
Business Owner


University of Michigan, BSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2003


My first job out of college was working in Wisconsin for an automotive supplier as an industrial engineer, where I implemented Lean Manufacturing principles on the factory floor to reduce scrap and improve production. I then moved on to an IT company in Shanghai, China as a business consultant performing project implementation, which consisted of helping clients to utilize application software to improve operation efficiency. Later I began working for an American international enterprise in Shanghai, China, where I once again implemented Lean Production principles at the factory and did a lot of cross communication work between the United States and China offices. I finally decided to start a footwear development business with my wife and moved to Guangzhou, China because most of the customers were located there. Currently the company has around 60 employees, and I worked with factories to produce over 6 million pairs of footwear last year, mainly for the China domestic market.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M
Whatever job I worked on, the education at U of M helped me to think analytically, whether looking at financial reports, improving product quality, or increasing production quotas.

I think back to my U of M engineering exams where they were mostly story problems, and we could use our small index card of formulas to crack open the problems. Solving problems in the real world is kind of like that. We need to assemble tools, whether it is assembling an actual team of people, learning new methods alone, or other ways to crack open old problems and solve new problems in order to progress forward.

Advice to Students
Along with having a personal belief and physically exercising, it is very important to do non-fiction book reading to increase time efficiency. Running a business requires constant learning not just from personal experience, but learning about the experiences and principles of others.

I recommend reading books written by Inamori Kazuo, a retired Japanese CEO. Lots of business people in China like him and the principles shared has also helped my company operations a lot because the principles are inclusive of different belief backgrounds.