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Case Competition

This year's case competition sponsor is Alcoa, Inc.

A consulting team’s project uncovers a variety of improvement opportunities in a contract manufacturing plant. The case describes the business context, the team’s goals, problem symptoms they identified, and provides data for competing teams to analyze.  

The case text and appendices list and describe, in brief, Operational Analytics and Quality Management tools which might be applied to the business situation. These include inventory models, factory physics, Little’s law, the VUT equation, Six Sigma DMAIC methodology, FMEA, and Ishikawa methods. The case goes on to discuss the actions initiated by the team, the cross-company teamwork and information sharing required to identify root causes of problems, and results observed consequent on improvement efforts.

Key Dates:

  • Register team by October 11
  • Case distributed to teams on October 14
  • First-round response due by October 18
  • Finalists notified on October 25
  • Finalists present to Alcoa at the Global Operations Conference at the Ross School of Business on November 14
Competition Rules:
  • Team size is limited to 3 to 5 group members
  • Each team must include 2 graduate students
  • Students can be from any discipline
  • The competition consists of two rounds:
    • The first round requires a PowerPoint presentation submission and executive summary, and the final round will be a live presentation
    • Finalist teams are invited to attend the Global Operations Conference VIP evening cocktail reception on Thursday, November 14th as well as all conference events on November 15th (free of charge)
If you have any questions, please contact Andres Manzano ( or Chris Kalich (

Last year's winners from the Ross School of Business: Innova-Cube









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