Cantilever Technologies: Marketing Study of Information Technology Tools
A new software start-up company, Cantilever Technologies LLC, is working to create software that addresses the gap between engineering and manufacturing operations. The software coordinates and synchronizes engineering and supply chain tools – simulation, analysis, and decision support – to create a unified decision management utility.
The student team performed a market analysis of moderate to heavy manufacturers which use Oracle ERP to find out which product data management (PDM) tool they use. Cantilever will use this analysis to determine the best market for their software and to tailor their product and marketing efforts.
Caterpillar: Engine Remanufacturing Process Optimization
The Lafayette Caterpillar large-engine plant remanufacturing area asked the student team to examine their processes and make recommendations for improvements. The primary process that the team recommended for improvement was the process of identifying and supplying the parts required to rebuild the engines while using as dew new parts as possible.
The students examined a logistics audit completed by Caterpillar that mapped the process and information flows within the department. Based on observations and information gathered, the team identified several items for process improvement. Due to the time constraints, the team focused primarily on three items:
- Identifying bottlenecks in the remanufacturing process
- Reorganizing the material and information flows between the tear down and final assembly areas to remove non-value-added activities, and
- Creating a procedure to capture information on the condition of used parts earlier in the reman process.
Eli Lilly: Business Continuity Planning
Eli Lilly’s Tippecanoe Laboratory facility produces many bulk pharmaceutical products. It is important to Lilly and to patients around the world that the pharmaceutical supply be uninterrupted. For this reason, Lilly continually works to ensure patients have the medicines they need.
By performing a business risk analysis, the team identified possible risks to the supply of a specific pharmaceutical product. These risks were prioritized based on the probability and the likely impact of each occurrence. This information will allow Eli Lilly to make data-based demands on how to reduce the probability of a supply interruption and reduce the potential impact.
General Motors: Financial Study of Metal Melting Operations and Product Costing Modeling
Two General Motors projects were assigned to teams this year. The GM Powertrain facility in Bedford, Indiana, melts over 100,000 pounds of metal each day to make its products. Currently, the metal is purchased from other GM plants in the form of chips created during machining processes. The metal chips must go through extensive cleaning and processing before they can be used in GM’s products.
This project team was assigned the task of determining the costs associated with this processing, suggesting improvements to the process, and comparing these costs to the costs of buying molten metal. The student team learned that this make vs. buy analysis is performed every few years. Thus, in addition to performing an analysis for the current data, they developed a spreadsheet and simulation model that GM can use to evaluate and understand under what conditions the decision to make or buy would change.
In addition, GM Powertrain has financial model that distributes the company’s costs among its 14 products (eight transmission cases, one engine block, and five types of pistons). The present model is very complicated and the results are not as accurate as desired. The student team created a new product costing system, which involved understanding GM’s manufacturing processes, determining the best cost drivers to use, and developing the product costing system.
The second project focuses on tools and methods for improved supervisory effectiveness. GM wants to increase the job satisfaction and retention level of its production supervisors, within its Flint, Michigan, metal fabrication facility. The second student team surveyed the supervisors and conducted several one-on-one interviews. Based on the information gathered, the team made a series of recommendations to improve the role of the production supervisor.
Intel: Analysis of e-SCM Standards
Intel is a proponent of RosettaNet, a set of standard processes that will align e-business with interfaces between supply chain partners. The student project analyzed the trends of market collaboration and machine to machine activities through the emerging RosettaNet standards. The primary focus of the project was to analyze the benefits and cost estimations for the supplier chain when implementing RosettaNet. Based on that data, the team recommended how Intel should market RosettaNet to their targeted suppliers and customers.
Owens Corning: Manufacturing Process Improvement
The task for the Owens Corning student team was to analyze the manufacturing process at the company’s Duncan, South Carolina, facility to determine ways to improve efficiency of the production process. Numerous opportunities for improvement were identified in this facility for both of its main products. The team’s project focused on one of these two products: a fiberglass flex product designed to strengthen aboveground fiber optic telephone cable. The team identified the root cause of product waste to be the quality of the company’s raw material and made recommendations to help Owens Corning improve the material’s quality.
Ingersoll-Rand: Commodity Business Plan Template and New Customer Service Organization
The Ingersoll-Rand strategic sourcing department sponsored a project to develop a commodity plan template. The goal of a commodity business plan is to document facts and sourcing opportunities. These findings can be used as a basis for developing a business plan and implementing the sourcing strategy. The student team developed a generic template to be used for any commodity and provided insight into the different uses of such a business plan. The team applied the template to the screw machine commodity segment for Ingersoll-Rand.
A second project examined Ingersoll-Rand’s implementation of a corporate-wide philosophy of “one face to the customer.” The security and safety sector has 11 brands and 11 supporting customer service organizations. The team developed models showing how to transform the current structure into one customer service organization. They made recommendations both in the structural design of the organization and in the identification of the challenges and opportunities created by the new organization.
Philip Morris USE: Bulk Material Supply and Shipment Case Analysis and Internet Marketing Methods
Bulk materials critical to Philip Morris’ manufacturing process are stored in on-site tanks monitored by the company’s personnel at centralized control stations. For this project, the student team’s goal was to eliminate waste in the supplier chain by focusing on the information gap between the predicted and actual production needs. The team examined the supplier deliveries, transportation times, and methods.
A second team helped Philip Morris understand the feasibility of selling Kraft, Miller, and Philip Morris USA projects directly to consumers through the internet. The team determined it was not the optimal path and proposed alternate consumer product collaborations and distributive partners.
Saint-Gobain Containers: E-Marketplace Opportunities and Shift Scheduling in a 24x7 Environment
Two Saint-Gobain Containers (SGC) projects were assigned to teams this year. One project identified the opportunities, strategic advantages, and cost effects that e-marketplace participation would have on Saint-Gobain Containers. They analyzed the available types of e-marketplace participation would have on Saint-Gobain Containers. They analyzed the available types of e-marketplace and how they apply to the glass industry in general, and specifically to SGC. The team also examined how participation in an e-marketplace would change current SGC procurement processes and the impact of implementation on the company’s workforce.
The second team analyzed shift schedules at the company’s Milford, Massachusetts, manufacturing plant. The objective was to improve the quality of work life, safety, and productivity by designing innovative shift schedules in a 24x7 work environment. The surrounding issues included the ability to attract and keep high-quality new employees, the opportunity to work overtime, and the distribution of trained and skilled labor over all shifts. The team’s first step was to conduct focus groups and multiple surveys of the hourly employees to find out what type of schedule was desired. To gain this information from management’s perspective, the team held discussions with their corporate contacts as well as human resource managers and plant managers from two facilities. The team made recommendations for a different shift rotation schedule based on their research and the data they gathered.
Siemens: Order Execution Process
Siemens manufactures electronic meters for residential and commercial use. Currently, the company is implementing an ERP system and is also in the process of relocating. As a result of these changes, customer order execution has run longer than desired.
The student project was to determine a way to shrink the lead time of the order acknowledgment and order release to manufacturing processes. The team identified the bottlenecks in the system and streamlined the order capturing and execution processes that:
- Decrease the execution time for a new order by at least 30%
- Decrease the execution process for repeat orders by at least 50%
- Define order execution processes suitable for integration with the ERP System, Baan.
Wabtec: Setup Time Reduction and an E-Business Solution for Customer Orders
This year two projects for Wabtec, a major manufacturer in the railway industry, were assigned to student teams. The first project’s goal was to reduce the set-up times in Wabtec’s slack adjuster lines. Wabtec is reducing setup time in order to increase manufacturing flexibility and scheduling while reducing inventory levels and manufacturing lead times. The team observed and recorded several cells’ changeovers and analyzed the data using the Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) approach to compile their recommendations for process improvements. The team also calculated the expected economic impact of their recommendations.
The second project team helped to develop and identify the implementation steps of an e-business solution for a division of Wabtec. The project was to create a proto-type e-business solution for this $1 billion company by providing an automatically updating, Web-based interface allowing for order placement, detailed tracking within the value system, and shipment notification. The students developed a website that would deliver the required information to the customer in only three clicks; however, this prototype was not connected to Wabtec’s internal database. This web-based interface then required Wabtec to combine all of this information into a single, integrated database to be values to the customer.