2018 Boeing 787 Team Project


The Challenge:
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is one of the most innovative products that The Boeing Company has ever produced, and the aircraft faces ever-increasing demand from commercial airlines. Mechanics building the aircraft complete work using premade kits; however, these kits are not always fully stocked with the parts needed to complete work. The purpose of this project is to optimize the kitting process to reduce the amount of time that the mechanics spend in non-value added activities, such as locating the correct tools and parts needed to complete a job, maximizing the time mechanics spend on the airplane, and reducing delays in production.

The Solution:
After interviewing over 150 engineers, managers, supply chain and purchasing analysts, and manufacturing teams, the Tauber team created a comprehensive Value Stream Map documenting the kitting process, from the moment a change is proposed to design engineers to the time when a kit is delivered to the mechanic. Using this map, the Boeing Problem Solving Model, and analysis of historical kitting error reports, the team identified five root causes that contribute to kitting inaccuracies. The team also quantified the scale of each of these root causes and the subsequent financial impact of these issues on the 787 program. Finally, the Tauber team worked with staff across departments to determine corrective actions and implementation plans for each root cause, including changes in the planning process, software redesign of the Bill of Materials Management tool, and use of RFID to track kit deliveries. As these recommendations are implemented, the Boeing Company is expected to recognize savings of $1.8 million per year for the 787 Program and over $10 million per year across all commercial airplane programs that utilize kitting for final assembly.

Student Team:
Yatri Patel – EGL (BSE Mechanical Engineering/MSE Industrial and Operations Engineering)
Kartik Raju – Master of Business Administration

Project Sponsors:
Michael Jordan – Manager, 787 Manufacturing Engineering
Miles Mason – Manager, 787 Manufacturing Engineering
Zachary Tyree – Senior Manager, 787 Manufacturing Engineering

Faculty Advisors:
Prakash Sathe – College of Engineering
Andrew Wu – Ross School of Business

About Tauber Team Projects:

The 2018 Tauber Team Projects resulted in $564.4 million in savings according to sponsoring company calculations, an average of $28 million per project over 3 years.

Each two to three person Tauber Team consists of graduate engineering and/or graduate business students. Along with receiving high-level corporate support from the sponsoring company, each team is advised by a College of Engineering and a Ross School of Business faculty member and overseen by a Tauber Institute Co-Director. The projects begin on-site in May and continue for 14 weeks. Students present the results of their projects and compete for over $40,000 in scholarships at the U-M Tauber Institute's annual Spotlight! event, held each September in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Spotlight! provides outstanding opportunities for students and corporate partners to establish relationships while exploring innovations in operations and manufacturing.

Access Spotlight! Book for project details.
Read about Spotlight! 2018 Competition Results.
View Spotlight! 2018 Competition Photos.
Learn how to Sponsor a Tauber Team Project.


2018 Tauber Team Boeing 787
1st Place Award Winner Tauber Team Boeing 787 - 2018 Spotlight!
2018 Tauber Team Project Boeing 787