Field Report: One million broccoli florets

May 18, 2021
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This summer, 25 teams of Tauber Institute for Global Operations business + engineering graduate students are developing optimal solutions for tough operations challenges posed by sponsoring companies.

Tauber Engineering Global Leadership student Dean Golan reports from his first week working for Curation Foods: "Within my first three days in Guadalupe, California, I was able to witness the entire supply chain of the Curation Foods bagged salad and vegetable production process, from harvesting the crops in the fields to bagging and shipping the finished products."

Sponsor a team project in 2022.

The Tauber Institute has partnered with AIP, Amazon, Beyond Meat, Boeing, Brunswick, Curation Foods, Estee Lauder, Ford, General Motors, Herman Miller, Howmet, Mayo Clinic, Mott Hospital, NCMS, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Stanley Black & Decker, Stoneridge, Target, and Whirlpool for the 2021 Tauber team projects. Tauber teams uncover significant savings for their sponsors – and champion major improvements in project fields such as data analytics, sustainability in operations, supply chain, and strategy. The 2020 Tauber team projects resulted in $433.8 million in savings according to sponsoring company calculations, an average of $31 million per project over three years.

Tauber students enjoy unparalleled access to the inner workings of top global firms. Golan remarked, "It's pretty amazing how Curation has the capabilities in place to harvest crops straight from the fields and ship them to their customers by the next day at the latest. The company ships about one million broccoli florets every week, making it the second largest value added broccoli supplier in the nation! What was even more impressive was the operational excellence of their value added plant and the amount of automation they have incorporated in their production process from receiving to shipping. Definitely one of the most interesting facility tours I've ever seen."

The student teams work for their sponsoring companies from May through mid-August, then present their results at the annual Spotlight! Team Project Showcase and Scholarship Competition. Solutions may include lean process design and implementation, manufacturing site strategic assessment, sourcing plans, inventory management, logistics, and new product development.

Along with executive direction from the sponsoring firm, each team receives support from both a Michigan Engineering and a Michigan Ross School of Business faculty advisor, and project oversight by a Tauber Institute Co-Director. The Tauber Alumni Network provides additional mentorship and networking opportunities for students at their team project locations.

To sponsor a 2022 team project, or if you have additional questions, please contact Associate Director Asli Aka at akah@umich.edu.


The Tauber Institute for Global Operations is a joint venture between the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Michigan Engineering, working together with industry partners to facilitate cross-disciplinary education in global operations management. The Tauber Institute is an inaugural recipient of the UPS George D. Smith Prize for effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research, management science, or analytics. For more information visit tauber.umich.edu.