Department of Mathematics

Steelcase Inc.

Proposed Project for the MSU Industrial Math Students

Predicting Product Mix and Volume In Order To Inventory the Correct Grades, Cuts, and Species of Veneer

One big challenge that we have is inventorying the correct species, cut, and grade of veneer for the incoming product mix and finish choices (veneer species and cut) that customers have made. A useful tool would be a predictive model that could suggest the what that product and finish (veneer species and cut) mixes are going to be needed and additionally suggest the correct inventory levels of veneer which should be keep on hand.

Background

Most commercial wood office furniture is not made from solid wood. In very simple terms, logs are harvested and cut into thin sheets, called veneer, which is then glued to MDF or particleboard. These boards are then stained and finished and assembled into the final product.

We have 4 standard veneers that we stock, 3 are available in two different cuts, while the other is only available in one cut. The veneer is graded with the highest grades (best veneer) going onto the most visible surfaces. Different product lines also have different specifications around what grade of veneer is used and where the different grades can be used on the product.

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