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The Tauber Institute offers a career-building operations component that complements selected degrees from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and College of Engineering.

A Brief Note on the Toyota Production System
by Eric Svaan, Ravi Anupindi
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 09/2013  Product ID#: 1-429-245  Length: 8pages
This note introduces business students to the Toyota Production System (TPS) by briefly covering its historical origins, assumptions, principles, key ideas, and rules. The note provides a Japanese-English glossary of some common words used with the TPS, and is a go-to reference for students studying the TPS. Students interested in further reading are directed to the references listed at the end of the note.
Alexander & Thurston: Inventory Management
by Wallace Hopp
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 11/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-293  Length: 8pages
The president and CEO of Alexander & Thurston has expressed the opinion that there is too much spare-parts inventory in the system. He believes that, through better inventory management, inventory can be reduced from its present level while customer service is improved. He has told the manager in charge of the DC in no…
Autoprime Corporation
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 12/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-131  Length: 7pages
The case describes the frustrating experiences of Alice Reinhart who is hired by Autoprime as a production foreman to help their Ohio manufacturing plant transition to Just-in-Time (JIT) production. More than just a process improvement problem, the case asks students to consider all aspects of change management including overcoming resistance at the floor level and the importance of management and incentives in motivating workers and encouraging new initiatives.
Boeing: The Fight for Fasteners
by Ravi Anupindi
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 11/2009  Product ID#: 1-428-787  Length: 26pages
Boeing originally was scheduled to deliver the Dreamliner to airline customers in mid-2008. However, after five announced delays over two years, the company was forced to postpone the first test flight. One driver for the delay was an industry-wide shortage of aerospace fasteners, the hardware that held the aircraft to…
Capacity Management Note
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 05/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-082  Length: 8pages
Production capacity can be defined as the maximum rate at which a productive system can convert inputs into outputs. Capacity is typically measured as output per unit of time, that is, as a throughput rate (e.g., tons per hour) but often it is not that simple. This note provides a qualitative discussion of the constituents of capacity.
Capacity Mgt. at St. Mary’s Hospital
by Izak Duenyas
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 11/2008  Product ID#: 1-428-724  Length: 12pages
This case explores the capacity management challenges facing the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital. Recent increases in the number of patients have led to a demand for beds that exceeds the supply, especially at certain times of the week. This has resulted in a number of problems, including increasing…
Creative Calligraphy Invitations
by Izak Duenyas
Product Type: Exercise  Publication Date: 11/2009  Product ID#: 1-428-837  Length: 4pages
You and your roommate are launching a calligraphy business out of your two-bedroom apartment. Will this business be profitable? That is the question students evaluate with “Creative Calligraphy Invitations (CCI).” Calligraphy requires special talent, but the company’s business operations are fairly simple. Students analyze CCI’s business operations to identify the bottleneck—the step that is the slowest or has the least capacity.
GoodBelly Epilogue (Video)
by Hyun-Soo Ahn
Product Type: Audio/Video  Publication Date: 10/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-291  Length: 9minutes
Click on the Preview PDF icon above to view the free video. 2011 Ross MBA Caroline Dickerson shares her research experience from her internship at GoodBelly. Caroline was tasked with identifying the impact of their in-store demo program. Through regression analysis she assisted GoodBelly in studying their current progr…
GoodBelly: Using Statistics to Justify the Marketing Expense
by Hyun-Soo Ahn
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 07/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-252  Length: 6pages
GoodBelly is trying to boost its sales at grocery stores like Whole Foods Market. As a small start-up, GoodBelly must optimize the allocation of its limited marketing budget. It currently promotes through in-person demonstrations in stores, but management is concerned that these demonstrations are not effective enough to justify the cost. It is up to GoodBelly’s student intern, Car…
GoodBelly—Excel Spreadsheet
by Hyun-Soo Ahn
Product Type: Teaching Tool  Publication Date: 09/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-273  Length: 1pages
GoodBelly is trying to boost its sales at grocery stores like Whole Foods Market. As a small start-up, GoodBelly must optimize the allocation of its limited marketing budget. It currently promotes through in-person demonstrations in stores, but management is concerned that these demonstrations are not effective enough …
by Amitabh Sinha
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 12/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-084  Length: 17pages
Grainger is a distributor of MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) equipment, based in the US. Most revenues were from the US in 2008, but Grainger was positioning itself to expand its limited global presence. Grainger was increasing the volume of private-label products, which offer higher margins and meet price points. These private label products were sourced primarily from…
Highland Hospital Operating Room Scheduling
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Exercise  Publication Date: 12/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-132  Length: 3pages
This case uses the example of a hospital operating room to teach students how to make decisions based on a quantitative operational analysis. Students are asked to consider issues with capacity and variability, and choose a future action that the hospital must take in order to remedy its delay and waiting problems.
How to Write a Teaching Note
by GlobaLens
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 11/2013  Product ID#: 1-429-016  Length: 8pages
This note is available FREE of CHARGE; simply click the product preview pdf and access the complete document. This note is intended to give you a basic overview on how to write a teaching note.
Just Baked Inventory Management
by Eric Svaan
Product Type: Exercise  Publication Date: 01/2013  Product ID#: 1-429-318  Length: 10pages
What’s better than a Just Baked cupcake? Nothing really, especially when inventory decisions about the cupcakes are also so good that customers are satisfied, stores are profitable, and the company grows. This classroom exercise leads students through stepwise computations applying proven inventory management rules to …
Kellogg’s Cereal Production Process
by Izak Duenyas
Product Type: Exercise  Publication Date: 06/2011  Product ID#: 1-429-164  Length: 9pages
Kellogg Company, one of the largest cereal companies in the world, is struggling with inefficient production flows. The popular Raisin Bran and Frosted Flakes cereals are produced on the same production line. The process is often starved of cereal, which is costing Kellogg thousands of dollars every day in lost revenue. John A. Bryant, Kellogg’s chief executive officer, must come u…
LanServe Corporation (A)
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Exercise  Publication Date: 12/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-127  Length: 4pages
This case explores the LanServe Corporation, a company that focuses on manufacturing low to mid-range network servers. As a low cost server provider, LanServe is facing a series of decisions surrounding how it should manufacture its products. Data surrounding the company’s operations are provided, leaving students to a…
LanServe Corporation (B)
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 12/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-128  Length: 3pages
This case builds upon LanServe Corporation (A). LanServe, a company that designs low to midrange servers, is facing increased demand for its services and has to choose between lines and cells to redesign its production process. Price data and capacity calculations are presented for each option, and students are asked to make and justify recommendations each way.
Lean Process Improvements at Cleveland Clinic
by Izak Duenyas
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 05/2009  Product ID#: 1-428-795  Length: 18pages
This case study teaches students about lean process improvement projects at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the world’s leading hospital systems. The majority of the case focuses on one lean improvement project and leads the student step-by-step through the Kaizen events, and the tools, approaches and outcomes of the proj…
Lewis Stone
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 06/2011  Product ID#: 1-429-130  Length: 5pages
Lewis Stone is a small, Midwestern company that manufactures plastic parts. The company has been hit hard by the 2008 recession and must move its headquarters to a region with lower labor costs. With a labor negotiation on the horizon, Lewis Stone’s management must decide whether to inform the union leaders of the company’s decision to relocate the company.
Managing Inventories
by Eric Svaan
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 11/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-246  Length: 12pages
This reference note introduces inventory concepts, tradeoffs involved in their management, and tools for effective inventory decision-making. Students of business operations will find these concepts, tradeoffs, and tools useful as background for thinking about inventory management issues, preparing and discussing oper…
Maritime Transportation
by Ravi Anupindi
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 01/2009  Product ID#: 1-428-712  Length: 30pages
This conceptual note is focused on one of the most important aspects of international trade and commerce – maritime transportation. The majority of global trade, in fact more than 90 percent of world trade in terms of tonnage, travels by sea. From raw materials to finished consumer goods, this system is vital to the world economy. This note outlines the key aspects, players, and ch…
Midco Pharmaceuticals
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 12/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-129  Length: 12pages
This case follows Laura Milanes as she defines the problems facing Midco Pharmaceuticals, a leading manufacturer of store brand over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and vitamins. Students analyze Midco’s new-product development (NPD) process. This requires critical-path, capacity, and process flow analysis. Students then condu…
Middletown General Hospital ER
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Exercise  Publication Date: 09/2013  Product ID#: 1-429-133  Length: 4pages
This case uses the example of a Hospital’s Emergency Department to introduce Little’s formula of I = RT, a fundamental law in operations management. Through a series of questions, the case guides students through issues of capacity, marginal profits, costs, and inventory.
Note on a Taxonomy of Process Types
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 05/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-083  Length: 12pages
This note describes the spectrum of process types, focusing on two pure cases in detail, flow shops, and job shops. Specifically it describes characteristics, operations, and opportunities for competitive advantage, and the decision hierarchies involved in each. Also, other process types are introduced, including batch…
Note on Linear Programming: A Brief Overview
by Roman Kapuscinski
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 11/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-307  Length: 4pages
Case blurb here
Note on Project Management
by Jim Reece, Eric Svaan
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 07/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-244  Length: 14pages
Whether you are constructing a new building, installing a new computer, or introducing a new product to the market, you are using project management strategies to get from A to B. This note concentrates on the Critical Path Method (CPM) and Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). By reading this note, students …
Note on the Use of Solver in Excel
by Roman Kapuscinski
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 11/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-308  Length: 10pages
Solver also allows for inclusion of various constraints (e.g., available budget, storage space, or maximum work-hours). By varying the values of input cells, we can see how the value of our objective function (say, profit) changes. Consequently, for small problems we can manually find the best values of input cells. For bigger problems, however, the manual search becomes quite tedious. Solver is very systematic and efficient in performing the search.
Note on Waiting Lines: Variability, Utilization, and Inventory
by Eric Svaan
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 07/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-242  Length: 6pages
Have you ever stepped into line at the grocery store and wondered how long you would be waiting there? This note answers that question by describing the average wait time an item is expected to spend in queue given different input values for service time, inter-arrival time, and the number of service channels (e.g., th…
Note on Waiting Lines—spreadsheet
by Eric Svaan
Product Type: Teaching Tool  Publication Date: 08/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-243  Length: 1pages
Ever stepped into line at the grocery store and wondered how long you would be there? This spreadsheet accompanies the “Waiting Lines” Conceptual Note and allows students to practice the VUT equation with different input values.
by Izak Duenyas
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 04/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-240  Length: 6pages
This year, television service provider Oz TV’s financial figures are troubling, despite steady demand. Is operational performance hurting financial performance? Oz customers rent a set-top box when they buy their programming package. Set-top boxes drive Oz’s key performance indicator: utilization. Students examine Oz’s…
Petro Refinery: Product Mix Optimization
by Izak Duenyas
Product Type: Exercise  Publication Date: 04/2010  Product ID#: 1-428-999  Length: 12pages
Petro Refinery LLC, a crude oil refinery, faces an issue common in many production and service industries: finding the optimal product mix or input mix. A central difficulty is that each product consumes different amounts of the firm’s shared resources, but contributes different revenues toward the firm’s fixed costs. Managers do not necessarily want to sacrifice the production of…
Process Measures: Basic Concepts and Definitions
by Eric Svaan
Product Type: Reference  Publication Date: 12/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-247  Length: 4pages
This note describes and defines concepts used by operation management professionals to categorize operations processes such as flow rate, Little’s Law, and inventory turns. Using this note, students can obtain a basic understanding of operation process terms.
Remanufacturing at Cummins, Inc.
by Brian Talbot, Xiuli Chao
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 11/2009  Product ID#: 1-428-798  Length: 18pages
Cummins is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and remanufacturers of diesel engines. This case focuses on their largest remanufacturing business, which is based in the U.S. and Mexico. The competitive landscape for this industry is described along with a fairly detailed look at Cummins’ forward and reverse supply chains and their remanufacturing operations.
Russell Athletic Honduran Labor (A)
by Brian Talbot
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 01/2010  Product ID#: 1-428-826  Length: 24pages
Russell Athletic, one of the University of Michigan’s primary providers of collegiate athletic clothing, is involved in a serious labor rights controversy. Russell had been a trustworthy and responsible supplier for years, but the University of Michigan committee was very concerned about Russell’s decision to close a m…
Russell Athletic Honduran Labor (B)
by Brian Talbot
Product Type: Mini-Case  Publication Date: 01/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-010  Length: 4pages
This case involves a recent labor rights controversy surrounding Russell Athletic, one of the University of Michigan’s primary providers of collegiate athletic clothing. Russell had been a trustworthy and responsible supplier to the University for years, but the committee was very concerned about Russell’s decision to close a manufacturing facility in Honduras, a move that had rec…
Small Parts, Big Problems: Fastener Management at American Turbochargers, Inc.
by Dr. Gunter Dufey, Dr. Albert Shih
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 03/2013  Product ID#: 1-429-290  Length: 16pages
In an extremely competitive market, ATI had to keep costs as low as possible to remain a global leader. The ATI facility was the largest in the world by production volume, and the cost of the material and parts that went into production accounted for 75% of the total manufacturing cost on average; but for some, it was …
Supplier Selection at Casturn Systems (A)
by Damian Beil, Izak Duenyas
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 04/2012  Product ID#: 1-429-248  Length: 14pages
Miguel Haro, director of Control Systems in Casturn’s Transmission Division, had returned to his desk after witnessing an online reverse auction for O-rings. Although supplier training for the event had been rushed, Haro’s Global Commodity Manager Mary Konchesky was confident that the event would yield significant cost savings. One bid stuck out from the rest: the incumbent supplie…
Sustainability at Detroit Edison
by Owen Q. Wu
Product Type: Case  Publication Date: 12/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-143  Length: 10pages
Electric utility companies have been at the forefront of the sustainable development challenge. This case describes Detroit Edison’s sustainability strategies in transforming its fossil generation assets. This case complements existing cases on the development of renewable energy sources by describing transition strate…
Variability, Buffers and Inventory
by William Lovejoy
Product Type: Conceptual Note  Publication Date: 05/2010  Product ID#: 1-429-081  Length: 12pages
Most production systems are faced with the problem of variability. Customer demand for finished products may vary over time, as may the availability of raw materials and the processing capacity at various stages in the system. This note will discuss some of the types of variability, the consequences of variability, the role of inventory in systems with variability, and possible res…