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Updated 9:00 AM September 14, 2009

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Tauber students show how companies can save

Ford Motor Co., $2.75 million. Grainger Inc., $5 million. Boeing Co., $10 million.

These are the amounts that these companies could save each year if they implement the recommendations made by teams of students at the Tauber Institute for Global Operations.

Twenty-five Tauber Institute teams of business and engineering students, including those who worked on the projects above, will present ways that some of the world's largest corporations can save money in their operations during Spotlight! 2009, held 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Four Points by Sheraton in Ann Arbor.

The student teams will compete for scholarships and showcase their projects completed during 14-week, paid summer internships at companies such as General Motors, Lockheed Martin, Hallmark, Intel, Dell, Ryder, Steelcase, Pfizer, Raytheon, BorgWarner, Bayer and more.

In the case of Ford, a Tauber team applied lean strategies to virtual manufacturing by recommending that Ford engage manufacturing engineers to manage a portion of the workflow that is currently outsourced, change the production of simulations from a push process to a pull process, and manage the flow of information between groups by establishing timeframes in which data is created and assessed.

The Grainger team recommended that the company re-engineer its global sourcing supply chain by consolidating cargo at global distribution centers, improve freight efficiency and cut in half the average distance U.S. orders travel.

Tauber students applied Boeing's manufacturing business model to its operations in employee travel and expense services. The team developed value stream maps, identified bottlenecks and created improvement plans in expense report receipt auditing, merchant and airline credit reclaims and credit card closures.

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