Department of Mathematics

Steelcase Inc.

Proposed Project for the MSU Industrial Math Students

Operational Analysis of a Product Line in the Office Furniture Industry

About Steelcase:

Steelcase turns 100 this year! We began in 1912 as The Metal Office Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We received our first patent in 1914 for a steel wastebasket -- a major innovation at a time when straw wastebaskets were a serious office fire hazard. That led to metal desks, and we've led the way with product and service innovations ever since. Today, our portfolio of solutions addresses the three core elements of an office environment: interior architecture, furniture and technology. We changed our name to Steelcase in 1954 and became a publicly held company in 1998.

Steelcase is a global, publicly traded company leading our industry with fiscal 2012 revenue of approximately $2.75 billion and nearly 10,000 employees around the world. The leadership team is based at the global headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Project:

One of the newer product lines that Steelcase produces is called c:scape. C:scape consists of multiple products: desking, storage products, tower, and a beam. This product line is one of the growth products for this plant and a large part of our future. In order to better align ourselves for the future, there are a number of quantitative analysis opportunities:

  1. Materials - trends by part # and material to better understand customer trends.
  2. Understand Part shortages - what parts are we consistently having shortages with so we can plan differently
  3. Discrete pick / backflush issues - review history of inventory accuracy issues across entire product line to focus supply chain to better understand where shortages are coming from (inventory accuracy, bill of materials, or supplier)

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