Abrar Khan designed a system to help Schneider Electric, an international leader in efficient energy management, keep power flowing from its solar plants worldwide.


Multinational Schneider Electric had a complex challenge resulting from its ever growing global expansion – how to stock replacement parts to supply its solar power plant projects around the world.

To tackle the problem, its corporate headquarters in Burnaby, British Columbia hired MBA intern Abrar Khan to create and lead a global pilot project to help it come up with a solution.  

“I had to devise a strategy on where in the United States to stock the replacement parts, what parts should be stocked and how many of them should be stocked,” explains Khan, who took on the project with eight months of his MBA under his belt. 

“While the project was specifically designed for the U.S., the intention was that if it was deemed a success Schneider Electric would roll it out around the globe.”

Abrar Khan

Khan says he knows exactly why he was specifically selected for this position – he had the experience.

“The key reason why I was selected for the job was because I had worked with parts management before and now, with my MBA, I had a business background to go with that experience,” he explains.

An Indian national, Mr. Khan moved back to his birth country of Saudi Arabia in 2009 to take a position in parts management in the mining industry. It was this know-how that appealed to Schneider Electric’s solar business unit.

Not only did his previous experience help him with the general expertise needed to define the pilot project strategy, but it meant he spoke the right lingo, which helped when he had to coordinate Schneider employees around the world.

“Because I had worked in parts management, I could easily communicate with the people involved to make sure that we were on the same page,” says Mr. Khan. “I have a supply chain background, so that helped when talking about things like lead times and manufacturing,” he adds.

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The scale of the project was even larger than Mr. Khan or anyone at Schneider Electric originally anticipated. So much larger in fact that Mr. Khan was kept on the project until January instead of leaving his internship last August.

“I built a statistical model to identify how many and what spare parts to stock,” he details.

To build the model he considered key factors like the criticality of tasks that are likely to cause delays, service level capacity, failure rates, consumption history and lead times in order to give the most accurate picture of what parts were more readily required and the numbers that needed to be stocked in Schneider Electric’s warehouses.

This information was not easily available. That meant a lot of phone calls and collaborating with contacts all over the world, from France to India, to gather the data.  It required a lot of legwork, but Mr. Khan says his time at UBC Sauder actually helped him with this stage of the project.

“The MBA program at UBC Sauder is so globally diverse,” he says. “While I was in school I was constantly interacting with fellow students from all over the world and I found that experience helpful when I had to speak to people in different countries for work.”


At the end of January, Abrar submitted a final report with all of his recommendations to the vice president global solar projects & services at Schneider Electric, and it’s now in the first stages of U.S. implementation and testing. The results have been promising and indications are that the model will be influencing how the company operates around the world.

Abrar’s impact made him a valuable commodity at the company, which is now leveraging his business expertise in a full time role as an operational marketing analyst in the commercial and residential line of the business.

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