How to save 1.03 billion: SPOTLIGHT! 2022 Team Project Competition

Ann Arbor, MI - The SPOTLIGHT! event is an annual competitive presentation of operations solutions developed by Tauber Institute business + engineering student teams during their 14-week team projects at top global companies. The 2022 Tauber team projects returned a record-setting savings of $1.03 billion, an average of $49 million in savings per project over three years, in addition to valuable workflow and sustainability improvements. The 2022 project sponsors were American Industrial Partners Canam and Energy, Amazon, The Boeing Company, BrandSafway, Brunswick Corporation, Dell, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Gopuff, Microsoft Corporation, MillerKnoll, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Pfizer Inc., Stanley Black & Decker, Stoneridge Inc., and Target Corporation.

A panel of distinguished judges from diverse industries selected first place, second place, and third place winners, announced by Tauber Institute benefactor Joel Tauber at the SPOTLIGHT! 2022 Team Project Showcase and Scholarship Competition on September 16. Students on winning teams each received $5000 scholarships for first place, $4000 for second, and $3000 for third.

At SPOTLIGHT! 2022, the Tauber Institute presented the Tauber Trailblazer faculty award to Michigan Ross Lecturer Len Middleton, who has served as a faculty advisor for 22 team projects. The institute also recognized Amazon and Stoneridge with Longevity Awards for reaching milestone years of team project partnership. The Tauber Alumni Board presented two Tauber Alumni Scholarships to students selected for their outstanding contributions to the Tauber community over the past year. 

First Place: Stanley Black & Decker

Advanced Manufacturing - Warehouse Optimization

The Stanley Black & Decker Tauber project team of Meredith Maimoni (MBA & MS-Environment & Sustainability), Arvind Murugesan Rajamallika (MSE-IOE), and Arun Palaniappan (MSE-IOE) found savings for STANLEY Engineered Fastening (SEF) by improving warehouse operations across three sites in Michigan, Iowa, and Kentucky. The Tauber team developed plans to reduce overtime, improve data collection and accuracy, and improve customer service, then made recommendations to scale their improvements across other SEF sites.

Second Place: Ford Motor Company

Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development Using Synthetic Data for Machine Vision Quality Inspection

The Tauber student team of Yvonne Lin (EGL BSE/MSE-BME) and Christian Zung (EGL BSE-ME MSE-EE) worked with Ford and Microsoft Technical experts to develop a new CAD-based data generation and machine learning framework that uses synthetic images to train deep learning machine vision models. This enables defect detection early on in the assembly and manufacturing process immediately following production launch. The implementation of the models will result in time savings, reduction of repair costs and overall cost savings, quality improvement, and long-term advantages of a more flexible and generalizable computer Vision Inspection system.

Third Place: Stoneridge, Inc.

Stoneridge North America Commercial Vehicle Product Life Cycle Management

The North American service parts manufacturing portion of the commercial vehicles division at Stoneridge, Inc. is a multi-million dollar business segment that needs to be optimized from a strategic and operational standpoint to achieve the desired financial performance that its current volumes command. The Tauber project team of Timothy Breckwoldt (EGL BSE/MSE-IOE) and Abhishek Ramachandran (MSE-IOE) explored opportunities along the lines of profit enhancement and product line simplification to turn the business back around.

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