Returnable Tote Project

Project title: Mann-Hummel Returnable Tote Process

Students and leaders of the group posing for a photo

Group Members: Max Fletcher, Brent Roberts and Ali Alfaraj with representatives of Mann-Hummel.

Project description: Mann-Hummel USA is currently experiencing huge growth and is running out of material storage space at its Portage production facility. To manage this growth, Mann-Hummel developed an offsite warehousing strategy, incorporating kitting and kanban systems to bring materials to the plant using a just-in-time method. This strategy is working well for the organization, but the process needs to be further optimized.

A group of WMU students from the ISM program at the Haworth College of Business were led by Professor Sime Curkovic to collaborate with Mann-Hummel. Working with supplier inventory planner, Brad Roberts, and manager, Drew Dieters, the students' objective was to create a repack system and cart strategy to supply the manufacturing plant with the necessary parts to complete one shift worth of finished goods. This task meant that box quantities for each raw material needed to be weighed and placed into plastic totes which would be placed on a rolling cart. Each rolling cart would represent a different cell and thus representing a different finished good at the manufacturing plant.

The group also established a pull card loop system for all components for GM battery assembly cells. This involved determining how many cards were needed in the loop and acquiring specific information for each card, including part numbers, description, supplier, number of cards, standard pack and to which cell the loop would belong.