Tauber student teams solve complex Operations challenges

Ann Arbor, MI - Each summer, teams of Tauber Institute business + engineering graduate students work for sponsoring companies to address tough operations challenges, uncover significant savings, and champion major improvements in areas such as data analytics, sustainability, supply chain, and strategy.

Since 1993, over a hundred different companies have sponsored Tauber team projects. Tauber’s 2022 team project sponsors are leaders in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, health care, internet commerce, high tech, manufacturing, automotive, retail, and food and beverage. During their projects, Tauber students experience unparalleled access to the inner workings of top global firms, combined with the expert support of the Michigan Ross School of Business and Michigan Engineering faculty who serve as project advisors, and guidance from Tauber co-directors, communications coaches, research librarians, and a network of alumni mentors.

Tauber student teams work for their sponsors from May through mid-August, then present their results to operations leaders in industry and academia at the SPOTLIGHT! Team Project Showcase and Scholarship Competition. Check out the challenges addressed by three of the twenty-one project teams who are presenting at SPOTLIGHT! 2022 on September 16 in Ann Arbor  Brunswick Mercury Marine, Ford Motor Company, and MillerKnoll:


Tauber students who engage fully with their on-campus coursework and field projects are packing a toolkit that will open many future professional doors for them. Our programs have led the way in action-based projects that also demand academic rigor.
Eric Svaan
Business Faculty Advisor, 2022 Tauber Team MillerKnoll

Brunswick Mercury Marine

Mercury Marine is a division of Brunswick Corporation, the leading provider of recreational boats in the United States. The Tauber student team of Victoria Mathieu (MBA) and Srishti Senthil (BBA) was charged with optimizing Mercury Marine's gearcase housing production process using Lean Six Sigma methodology and with creating a Planning Process Report that details how Mercury Marine should schedule gearcase housing production based on capacity and demand. 

Ford Motor Company

The Tauber student team of Yvonne Lin (EGL BSE/MSE-BME) and Christian Zung (EGLBSE-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.


MillerKnoll is striving to unify and enhance the performance of legacy companies Herman Miller and Knoll by standardizing and enhancing work processes. The Tauber student team of Abhinav Khanna (MSE-IOE) and Ashley Martinez (MBA) was tasked with rationalizing inventory management processes across the two companies using the task seating business as a pilot. The team improved the current raw material efficiency and delivered a go-forward algorithm for inventory management decision-making, replicable across the business. 

"The students love this event, the faculty love this event, the sponsors love this event, and the judges really love this event!"

The Tauber Institute for Global Operations is a joint venture between the University of Michigan 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.