Past Experiential Course Projects


Throughout the course of four semesters, more than 30 supply chain students have had the opportunity to work on a range of projects involving Fusion Management Partners and Clark Logic. From real estate to warehouse operations to feasibility studies and more, students have been able to lead projects for both firms that have honed their skills in research, analysis and Lean Six Sigma. Projects have included:

  • Students partnered with Clark Logic to perform a deep dive into the logistics and warehousing market. The project involved a competitive analysis that allowed students to document market saturation, availability of real estate and transportation equipment needs, as well as mapping similar companies for competitive advantages.
  • Working within the different verticals of Clark Logic, the students were given semester-long projects to provide direction for improvements in each vertical and a plan to sustain progress.
  • Insights that students prepared had a great impact on the operations and investment direction for Clark Logic, which later formed Industrial Partners USA, a joint venture with Great Lakes Capital of South Bend, Indiana, to bring industrial development to Battle Creek, Michigan.
  • Students conducted research in areas including: logistics and transportation analysis, geographic limitations for logistics and manufacturing businesses in key cities in the U.S., and current market conditions and trends related to prices of trucks, containers and trailers in light of COVID-19.

Senneca Holdings

The Applied Six Sigma 7-week course was designed for students to practice applying the A3 process by creating real-life solutions, which improved daily functions for a  manufacturing plant. The group was given two projects to work on throughout the course, with the end goal of implementing the finished products into the plant’s daily production. 

  • The first project dealt with a newly adopted product line that was facing an issue of inefficient assembly. With a few barriers of inventory shortage and allocation of labor, the team members installed a visual control display board within the workspace for training and reference purposes to provide the department with a better and faster goal of assembly. Organization of the workspace, display of assembly elements, and the composition of standardized work instructions were evaluated to be the foundation of a successful implementation shown through the group’s creation of the company’s WISMO.
  • The group members were also given the task of improving the job scheduling system the plant utilizes for production.During the course of the 7 weeks, the group established interactive visuals using Excel to condense data imported from the company’s ERP system. The schedulers can now filter through the data based on the desired backlog, with the daily volume portrayed on a “limit graph” that depicts if there is overflow from any product on a certain day.


Eliason Corporation, founded in 1952, is the originator and only manufacturer of Easy Swing® double action impact traffic doors.  Eliason has been implementing lean techniques and 5s lean manufacturing techniques to make their workspace more efficient. One area they have had trouble with was understanding how many and what kind of templates for manufacturing they use.  Eliason tasked a WMU group with implementing a system to identify, organize, and allow for reduction and expansion of the template supply.

The WMU group, consisting of Marc Thompson, Brittany Neudeck, Lauren Booth, Kevin Zarate and Tumadhir Alzunaydi (Tami), worked closely with managers of the company to implement a template management system. The WMU group began by getting out on the shop floor to understand how the production facility worked, what would be considered a template and how many there would be throughout the building. After some months, the WMU team was able to track down all templates being used throughout the facility and built a system that would allow Eliason Management to add new templates as well as remove old, unused templates, all while keeping track of where these templates are used.  Also added to this system was a tool for quarterly audits and yearly assessments of the efficiency this system provides to the company.

Moving forward, the WMU team suggested the best way to keep this system implemented is to ensure all templates remain accounted for and to audit these templates four times a year. The team also suggested conveying this importance to the employees who use the templates, demonstrating value in the form of increased efficiency.


Mann-Hummel is a major global leader in filtration and supplier of automotive air and fluid management systems and components. With exponential growth of late, the company has accumulated an overflow of material, obsolete equipment and customer tooling at their Three Rivers, Michigan warehouse and their Midlink facility. To compensate for their growth, Mann-Hummel has recently acquired a new warehouse space that is located directly next to their Portage, Michigan building. This new warehouse will lead the company towards a lean manufacturing future in terms of warehouse flow, inventory management and strategic logistics. Our goal was to propose inventory management solutions to implement in their new facility. Our group looked at various ways to improve the way they manage and store their equipment and parts. We looked at simple, low-cost solutions in comparison to big, expensive solutions to show there are many different ways to handle this problem. Through our solutions of active racks, using Excel, effective signs, and warehouse layout, we proposed a solution to solve particular problems that can plague any warehouse. Our goal is to show that there needs to be more than one solution to solve the problem of using, obtaining and storing the parts they need on a daily basis or the parts that need to be stored because of a contractual obligation.


 A group of students from Western Michigan University’s Integrated Supply Management program recently worked on a process improvement project with Eliason Corporation, a leading manufacturer of double action swing doors in Portage, Michigan. Guided by Tim St. Onge, vice president of operations, the team was given the task of combining the company’s heavyweight door and lightweight door assembly stations and making a comprehensive database of the tools and fasteners used in the assembly process.

The goal of the project was to make a more ergonomically sound assembly station design, eliminate waste and reduce bottlenecks in the assembly process wherever possible. The group, which consisted of students Chun Kit Low, Vytenis Karaitis, Sim Yee Tan and Waleed Jari, also worked with members of Western Michigan University's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences to create process improvements and ergonomics surveys which will be used throughout the company. The group found several ways to save the company money from switching suppliers to reducing fixed costs and reusing available company resources to drive down implementation costs.


Mann-Hummel USA has experienced huge growth in the past years. Their Portage, Michigan plant had limited space for minimal work-in-process and material within the facility. To manage the recent growth at the company, a WMU team was tasked with the goal of reorganizing the storage and flow of work-in-process from the Midlink facility to the Portage plant.

ISM students Jeremy Messing, Dennis Mauwa, Frank Jiovani, Scott Dixon and Thomas Bauman, led by Dr. Sime Curkovic, collaborated with Mann-Hummel to resolve the space issue. Working with supplier inventory handler, Brad Roberts, and packaging specialist, Eric Boulter, the Bronco supply managers were tasked with reorganizing the storage and flow of work-in-process from the warehouse to the plant. The team was asked to improve space efficiency and create a distinct layout to increase the ease of finding and storing work-in-process. The team was also in charge of creating a strategy to clearly mark all cells of work-in-process so the Mann-Hummel team can easily identify and organize at maximum capacity.


Whirlpool Corporation has recently implemented Co-eXprise, an electronic cost management solution, to process requests for quotations, act as a repository for historical price information and provide powerful analytic capability to drive information-based decisions. The implementation has experienced problems relating to system adoption from internal users, buyers and engineers, and external users such as suppliers.

Integrated Supply Management students, Lance Washburn, Marc Sommerville, Michael Meeth, Michael Woodruff and Travis Olszewsi, led by Dr. Sime Curkovic, partnered with Whirlpool and Co-eXprise to analyze the current state of the system and provide recommendations to improve the adoption and reduce the complexity of the system. Students were trained in the system and processed sourcing events, learned Whirlpool’s innovation processes and conducted innovation sessions to generate ideas to improve the solution. The group’s recommendations were presented to several directors and senior managers within Whirlpool’s global strategic sourcing organization.


A group of Integrated Supply Management undergraduate students teamed with top officials from Eliason Corporation, a leading manufacturer of commercial double action traffic doors located in Portage, Michigan, to diagram and establish locations for all items in the warehouse and recommend storage solutions that maximize space usage.

The group recommended solutions for Eliason’s current kanban system, receiving process and warehouse layout. The kanban system is a scheduling system that helps determine what product to produce, when to produce the product and how much to produce. The kanban system solution would only be used on products that would benefit most from the system. The group also recommended that the manufacturer use inventory count sheets and that mid-month counts be implemented to confirm inventory.

The group made the biggest changes to the warehouse by recommending a reorganized layout throughout the warehouse and adding appropriate shelving. The group also recommended creating an overhead labeling system of each part. The solutions for the warehouse will free up eighty percent of the unused space and be user friendly for all employees, even when the warehouse manager is unavailable. The Eliason managers agreed that by implementing these solutions Eliason will save time, space and money.


Seniors Jim LaPash, Josh Mortensen, Virginia Bushnell, Greg Atkinson and John Duemling teamed up with ISM Professor Dr. Sime Curkovic and Mophie, a leader in mobile charging solutions, to compare transportation charges between two third-party logistics providers (3PL). Mophie has rapidly grown since opening in 2005, resulting in the need to pair up with a new 3PL in the Netherlands. Due to the growing amount of European orders, Mophie realized that its current 3PL in Hong Kong was unable to keep up with the orders. Mophie saw the opportunity to save money on transportation charges by using a new firm to fulfill European orders.

The WMU students were provided with stock out data from July, August and September 2012 from the new 3PL partner and a list of European customers. The students were asked to filter the raw data to show only the relevant data for the European customers and apply the transportation cost to each order with both 3PL costing methods. Students found that Mophie was able to save $3,842.56 during the three months by switching firms.

Thanks to Mophie, the WMU students were able to gain real-world work experience in the supply chain and gain a better understanding of what it takes to fulfill a career in supply chain management.