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Students take second place in regional business competition

March 27, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A team of students enrolled in Western Michigan University's Integrated Supply Management program won second place in the 14th annual APICS Case Competition, which included undergraduate and graduate teams from around the Great Lakes region.

The competition was in late February in Oak Brook, Ill. It was the largest competition staged by the organization so far, with 23 teams representing 26 universities involved.

APICS, the national Association for Operations Management, stages the competition, which may include a manufacturing, supply chain or operations case study. This year's case involved evaluating the future of lean manufacturing for Toyota. Lean manufacturing is a generic process management philosophy that focuses on the reduction of wastes to improve overall customer value and efficiency in manufacturing processes.

"It was a great experience, as it allows us to work together to solve a case related to material we have covered in class," says Lawrence Robling, a senior ISM student and president of the WMU student APICS chapter. "This opportunity also allowed our team to interact with fellow ISM students from different schools. This year's case was extremely challenging, and I am proud of all the work of our entire WMU team."

In addition to Robling, who is from West Bloomfiled, Mich., the successful WMU student team included Mark Antonuk of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Jeff Diegel of Trenton, Mich.; Ania Ferdyn of Swierkaniec, Poland; Heather Ferris of Portage, Mich.; Kevin Little and Ashley McKenzie, both of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Chelsey Meyer of Schoolcraft, Mich.; Ted Oberts of Novi Mich.; and Trisha Terns of Chelsea, Mich.

After receiving the case on Friday night, student teams submitted their analysis in a three-page paper, outlining their recommendations to solve the case, and PowerPoint slides to use in a five-minute presentation on Saturday. Papers were scored by one set of judges before the afternoon presentation, with teams earning cash prizes for their student chapter account.

"This team was entirely organized and led by students," says Dr. Bret Wagner. "They took the initiative, prepared their paper and presentation and earned their spot. Because the competition was not limited to undergraduate students, our students surpassed teams that included MBA students. Having our team place second says a lot about the quality of our program and our students. The entire faculty is incredibly proud of them."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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