Implementing Industry 4.0: Tauber students provide tangible results for Stanley Black & Decker

Whether it’s understanding machine condition monitoring opportunities during Gemba walks, implementing quick wins on the production floor, or deploying data analytics models at the back end, we were very excited that we got to get our hands dirty.

Ann Arbor, MI - The Tauber Institute project team of Akshay Seth (MSE-IOE) and Janice (Yin Yin) Lau (MSE-IOE) developed new models for the Stanley Black & Decker Advanced Manufacturing Deployment Team to help implement Industry 4.0. The student team's hands-on efforts quickly achieved tangible results.

As part of their process, the Tauber team interviewed more than fifty stakeholders to better understand production methods and to help identify the most impactful improvement opportunities. “The team did not have the time and capacity to fully develop all identified opportunities within the fourteen-week project duration,” said Lau. “In order to prioritize these opportunities, the team developed a framework that evaluates each opportunity using two dimensions, value and effort.”

One of the team's "quick wins" fixed a recurring problem on the plant floor. Seth and Lau devised a new standard operating procedure for activating levers that prevent the collision of paint rollers, thereby preventing scrap generation worth more than $30,000 a year. Producing tangible results not only improved SBD's bottom line but also increased workers' confidence in applying new methods.

The student team created data analytics models to make it easier for workers to safely and effectively monitor equipment - and to prevent costly breakdowns. “Inferences from these models help the production engineers, value-stream managers, and plant managers to make data-informed decisions, which in turn help take steps before the machine breaks down, thereby decreasing losses to the plants," said Lau. During the pilot implementation phase, the team's Motor Vibration Model successfully predicted a motor failure. "Since the process is the bottleneck," Lau said, "this in turn saved four hours of production in the entire value stream."

By fully implementing the recommendations of the Tauber team, Stanley Black and Decker will be able to achieve more than $180,000 per year in savings with less than two years of payback, preventing more than 1,300 hours of downtime and more than $2 million of production losses.

Learn more about the 2021 Stanley Black & Decker Tauber team project >

The 2021 Tauber team projects resulted in a record-setting $989 million in savings according to sponsoring company calculations, an average of $43 million per project over three years.

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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