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Team Project Descriptions

A representative selection of 2018 team project descriptions:

Amazon Container Routing

Amazon is seeking the best routing decision process for item placement within Amazon Robotics (AR) Fulfillment Centers (FCs). The Tauber Team’s focus will be to create a data-driven and pilot-tested decision framework for processing inbound packages. The solution will intelligently route inbound packages by prioritizing products according to time criticality and storing them at optimal locations, allowing Amazon to deliver products at lower cost, with greater and more reliable speed, and with more efficient space utilization at FCs.

Amazon Yard

The Amazon Yard Management team will develop demand capacity forecasting capabilities for Fulfillment Centers in order to reduce truck yard costs without reducing service levels. The team will then use prescriptive analytics to further identify opportunities for cost reduction.

Amazon Customer Returns

Amazon seeks to better serve its Customers and Sellers through faster and more efficient processing of customer returns. The University of Michigan Tauber team will pilot a number of solutions to increase the quality and throughput of this process, with potential for network-wide scalability.

Amazon Kickout Reduction

Amazon fulfillment centers use a machine called AutoSLAM to apply customer shipping labels to packages. However, for a variety of reasons, this machine cannot automatically process every package, resulting in “kickouts” that require additional manual processing. These kickouts result in additional cost as well as delays in shipping customer orders. This Tauber team is working to identify the root causes of kickouts and test potential fixes to reduce kickouts that can be applied across Amazon’s North America Fulfillment Network.

Amazon Process Safety

The Tauber team will identify critical leading indicators and risk-signatures of safety problems within Amazon Fulfillment Centers. The leading indicators will allow for detection and elimination of high-risk scenarios before incidents occur, making Amazon a safer place to work.

Amazon Road to Rail

This project aims to increase trailer fill rates and reduce logistics costs as well as environmental impact by implementing performance metrics for associates at the outbound dock. These performance metrics will drive accountability with respect to efficient trailer loading and visibility for fulfillment center leadership. This Tauber project serves as an extension of last year’s Truck Utilization project.

Amazon VNA

At Amazon, traditional non-sort (TNS) Fulfillment Centers utilize associate operated order pickers to process inventory within wide and very narrow aisles. This project focuses on improving the cycle time for order picking within very narrow aisles (VNA) and will explore opportunities such as combination tasking, protocol robustness, and automation.

Boeing 777x

The Tauber team will work with Boeing to analyze the current performance of their inaugural composite wing horizontal build line (HBL) and recommend improvements. Simultaneously, the team will create a methodology for the evaluation and prioritization of all current and future improvement project recommendations. Finally, the team will utilize this methodology to select one project for implementation during the remainder of the summer.

Boeing 787

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is one of the most innovative products that The Boeing Company has ever produced, and the aircraft faces ever-increasing demand from commercial airlines. Mechanics building the aircraft complete work using premade kits; however, these kits are not always fully stocked with the parts needed to complete work. The purpose of this project is to optimize the kitting process to reduce the amount of time that the mechanics spend in non-value added activities, such as locating the correct tools and parts needed to complete a job. If the Tauber project is successful, it will maximize the time mechanics spend on the airplane and reduce delays in production.

Boeing Composites

The Boeing Composites Tauber Team will assess the business case for potential manufacturing capacity relocation. Additionally, the team will conduct value stream analysis, plant layout development, flow redesign, cutting edge composite manufacturing technology implementation, and kaizen improvements at the Boeing Mesa, AZ site.

BorgWarner Market Sensing

In this international project, the Tauber team will thoroughly analyze the costing and pricing process for exhaust gas recirculation products sold by BorgWarner to large automotive companies. The goal is to develop cost and price estimation tools, each of which works faster and more effectively than the current tools. The final deliverable will be a mechanism to 4 estimate the cost of producing a highly custom-designed EGR product at a specific plant and then predict the product market value.

BorgWarner Morse Systems

The BorgWarner Morse Systems Arcore plant is looking to implement machine vision for automated inspection to ensure product quality. The team is working on providing a technical evaluation of automated visions system to meet quality standards and reduce inspection costs.


As part of its global Industry 4.0 strategy, Cummins is evaluating the application of additive manufacturing technologies to address continuity of supply for low volume, late lifecycle service parts for engines and generators. The Tauber team is working closely with Cummins's Engineering, Marketing, Quality, and Purchasing functions to optimize the selection of products and related additive processes. The team will design and deliver a cross-functional process to enable rapid commercial release of legacy parts produced by additive means.


Dow is undergoing a fundamental shift in how it operates as a company by investing in digital transformation across supply chain, commercial, and manufacturing disciplines with the intent of improving the customer and employee experience. The objective of this project is to design a digitally-enabled demonstration of a Dow customer’s experience for the order-to-fulfillment process, and expressed through the customer’s perspective using cutting edge VR/AR technology. The project will result in a prioritized set of technologies and solutions that will redefine the customer journey, and in doing so, establish a new value proposition that will lead to higher customer loyalty which in turn will drive higher revenue growth.


Ford is a leading automotive OEM, with a revenue of $156 billion in 2017 and business all around the world. It is the second-largest U.S.-based automaker and the fifth-largest in the world. The Tauber team is working with the Advanced Manufacturing division out of Ford's new Redford facility to increase the adoption of additive manufacturing within Ford.


For the Fresenius summer project, the Tauber team will be tasked to perform a full lean analysis and develop an implementation plan of the North American Peritoneal Dialysis Machine Refurbishment process. The scope covers the full value stream. Depending on the timeline, the Tauber team will begin implementation of the strategic plan on the refurbishment process.

General Mills

General Mills strives to deliver new and innovative Special Pack (SPPK) products to its customers, however, fluctuations in demand constantly disrupt the supply chain and lower the overall customer service level. The Tauber team will review the SPPK forecasting and ordering processes in order to identify any potential gaps and redundancies in the system. Utilizing this information, the team will develop new forecasting methodologies, re-engineer key processes, and define key performance indicators to support the company’s rapidly growing SPPK business.

General Motors

General Motors relies on a global network of manufacturing plants to meet the auto market’s high-volume demand as it rapidly evolves with new technologies disrupting the industry. Keeping production lines perpetually running requires plant workers to be agile when responding to machine errors, though data that is pertinent to machine maintenance is spread throughout different systems that are siloed and often difficult to work between, slowing maintenance repair time. The Tauber team is tasked with creating a solution for this problem by developing a digital platform that consolidates key data that is easily accessible for plant workers to use primarily for rapid response and repairs during machine errors, and in turn, increasing overall throughput.


Liquid Controls, a unit of IDEX Corporation, manufactures positive displacement, mass, and turbine flow meters, electronic registration and accessories for the Energy & Fuels sector. The Tauber team has been tasked with creating a roadmap for the reduction of the Liquid Control’s supply base by 50 suppliers and the machine shop suppliers by 50%. Additionally, the team is responsible for developing a framework for supplier evaluation and future supply chain consolidation efforts.


The Tauber team will establish procedure-specific supply case cart formularies for the majority of procedures in Heart Rhythm and Cath Labs. Currently, there are significant differences between physicians and clinics for these procedures. The Tauber team will work to create standards to minimize cost while maintaining quality and meeting stakeholder requirements.

Microsoft Commercial

The Tauber team will focus on two different areas of Microsoft's cloud-first, modern transformation. First, the team will create a go-to-market strategy for modern promotions based on evaluating the current promotions structure of Microsoft cloud applications. Second, the team will assess and make recommendations to evolve Microsoft’s professional offerings to be cloud optimized, enabling a better overall experience for the company’s cloud services customers.

Microsoft Partner

The Tauber team is conducting a value-stream mapping analysis of funding mechanisms and processes across the Microsoft One Commercial Partner division to scope out disparate investment allocation approaches and identify best practices. The team will develop a new intake process to streamline investment collection, tracking, and evaluation while implementing user-friendly design elements and tailored KPIs to optimize investment decision-making.


The Tauber team is working with the Pepsi Beverage Co.’s Sustainability team to reduce global carbon emissions and energy costs associated with its Gatorade processing lines. The students will analyze and quantify previous process/equipment enhancement projects, develop new improvement opportunities, and potentially pilot modifications in the Atlanta plant. This group from Tauber will also work to standardize any best practice improvement findings to allow for implementation in other lines and sites across Pepsi North America.


In order to safely deliver large volumes of natural gas to customers, PG&E must constantly leak survey and repair its gas transmission and distribution system. The current gas leak management process is highly complex and may include redundancies or inefficiencies. The Tauber team seeks to simplify and streamline the process, which will improve visibility, limit variability, and reduce the error rate in detecting and responding to leaks.

Principal Financial

Principal Financial Group is an investment firm with $668.6 billion assets under management. The team will prototype a best-in-class asset portfolio management platform to allow Principal to access, analyze, develop and scale asset allocation/manager views, and trade their portfolios.


The Tauber team will implement a Lean manufacturing culture at the Snoqualmie, WA facility to allow for continued innovation in healthcare technology and better clinical and economic outcomes for Spacelabs Healthcare.

Stanley Black & Decker

Stanley Engineered Fastening is seeking to improve the labor productivity of their plastic assembly department by 20 to 30%. The Tauber team will investigate immediate and continuous improvement opportunities through lean and smart factory tools, as well as developing outsourcing strategy. A future department layout will also be created in order to facilitate their move to a new location.


The Tauber Team will aggressively analyze current logistic costs and trade terms within Stoneridge Inc.’s global supply chain. From the aforementioned analysis, the Tauber Team will create a model for strategic implementation across Stoneridge’s manufacturing plants in order to maintain or improve customer fill rates while reducing logistics costs by 2.5%.


Whirlpool has invested heavily implementing robotics projects throughout their manufacturing facilities; one of the more challenging aspects is the end-of-arm tool (EOAT), which is the physical interface between the robotic system and the application. Whirlpool is investigating a solution to thischallenge by leveraging additive manufacturing for the production of quality EOATs that will be able to reliably grasp, place, and assemble products. The Tauber TeamProject will evaluate current market offerings to define which are suitable for production, develop a business case highlighting potential impacts and tradeoffs, and create a decision framework for the design and implementation of additively manufactured end-of-arm tooling.



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